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Singapore
 
PIONEER GENERATION PACKAGE

MPs size up communication challenge, including language barrier and explaining schemes

Published on Apr 23, 2014 7:45 AM
 
Singapore is undertaking the biggest public communications blitz in recent memory as the Government sets out to explain the details of the Pioneer Generation Package to seniors. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Singapore is undertaking the biggest public communications blitz in recent memory as the Government sets out to explain the details of the Pioneer Generation Package to seniors.

The drive to explain its health-care benefits will involve grassroots volunteers and health-care workers in the thousands.

But while the Government has tackled far more difficult subjects in the past, such as the introduction of GST in 1994 and various rounds of CPF cuts during the recession years, the current effort is daunting for two reasons, said a dozen MPs and experts interviewed yesterday.

These are the complexity of the health-care schemes in the package with their many concepts and the difficulty of effectively reaching out to the seniors, often requiring face-to-face explanations.

 
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Background story

ASSURING AND RE–ASSURING THE PIONEERS

There are two groups of seniors that I've seen. One group doesn't really want the details, they just want to be reassured that they will be taken care of. So... we say: Don't worry, just go to a clinic. And if all else fails, come to the MP. The more savvy group wants to know the details. What happens when MediShield Life kicks in? How about co-payments? So we need to find out what they really want.

- Marine Parade GRC MP Tin Pei Ling

We have to assure them that there will always be help for them in the future. So you have to win their trust and confidence.

- Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah

Assurance is a first step in building up the trust that the Government is taking care of them. Many are worried about the costs incurred should they seek medical help. This is precisely where the package comes in and is aimed at.

- Dr Tracy Loh, visiting fellow at the National University of Singapore communications and new media department

The publicity campaign seems to target mainly the pioneer generation. As a result, the younger generation may think this is none of their concern. In fact, they have also benefited from the policy, although indirectly.

- Associate Professor Foo Tee Tuan, deputy director of UniSIM Centre for Chinese Studies, SIM University

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