Connecting Across Borders With
Their Loved Ones Through Video Calls
Student volunteer from NTU's Welfare Services Club teaching Aunty Su how to use WhatsApp video call.
This Lunar New Year celebration will be different for Aunty Su and her family. Due to the pandemic this year, she will not be able to reunite with her daughter and granddaughters who are currently residing in the United States of America (USA). Aunty Su has plans to celebrate the Lunar New Year with them over video calls.
She recalled that when they first moved to the USA, she diligently took notes of the time difference so as to stay connected with them. She was using a Nokia 2G phone before she decided to get her first smartphone to leverage video calling applications to communicate with her loved ones living abroad.
Aunty Su’s granddaughter, her fiance, and daughter at the Grand Canyon National Park.
Foreign to the world of technology, she had to muster up the courage to approach her friends for help. When she picked up the use of WhatsApp, the first video call was made to her granddaughter. Ever since, they have been relying on video calls to stay updated on their lives.
Despite video calling her daughters and granddaughters regularly, she is not confident in using communication tools such as WhatsApp and Zoom. So when she heard about #CanOneLah!’s digital workshops at Xin Yuan Community Center, a seniors activity centre located near her place, she enthusiastically signed up for the workshop, in hopes of increasing her confidence in using digital tools.
Aunty Su and Aunty Lee encouraged each other to learn the smartphone together.
She met one of her neighbours, Aunty Lee, who coincidentally signed up for the workshop to connect with her granddaughter who is currently studying in the USA too. They became friends and helped each other in their journey to digitalisation. Aunty Lee showed Aunty Su her granddaughter’s Instagram account, which features the hipster cafes she visits with her friends and her student life in the USA. Aunty Su is motivated to learn Instagram as well to keep up with her loved ones’ lives abroad.
Aunty Su believes that seniors have to overcome their fear of technology to learn digital skills, in order to stay relevant in today’s digital age. She also encourages her friends who have similar fears to join her in the #CanOneLah! digital workshop by sharing her personal story of how technology has bridged the distance between her, and her loved ones who are miles away.
“I have no choice but to pick up these skills so I can still talk to them. Before that, I was just as reluctant and scared to learn. I didn’t grow up in the digital age, so these technologies are very foreign to me,”
“I also have bad eyesight and poor memory, so I struggle to remember the steps, but I try my best,” said Aunty Su.
She has also signed up for another workshop in March that aims to help seniors learn the use of computers.