SINGAPORE - A new drama aimed at communicating government messages to seniors in a vernacular that they are familiar with is coming to television screens next week.
In the 10-part Hokkien series, Eat Already?, veteran actress Li Yinzhu plays a down-and-out cleaner, Ah Niu Sao, who overcomes her problems with help from her neighbours and government support schemes.
The title of the show is a colloquial dialect greeting used by Singaporeans to break the ice in conversations.
The series is directed by award-winning director Royston Tan of box office getai hit 881 fame. The other cast members include well-known getai and Channel 8 stars such as Wang Lei, Marcus Chin and Aileen Tan. Top Mediacorp stars such as Zoe Tay and Kym Ng will make cameo appearances.
A collaboration between the Ministry of Communications and Information and broadcasting company Mediacorp, the show discusses themes such as active ageing, explains government policies such as Medishield Life, and dispenses tips such as how to manage dementia.
At a seniors’ wellness event at Toa Payoh West Community Club, where the show was launched on Thursday (Sept 1), Minister of State for Health, Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat said the drama builds on the success of earlier efforts to explain the $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package (PGP). The package consists of subsidies, cash payouts and Medisave top-ups to help senior citizens with their healthcare costs for life.
He was referring to several videos his ministry had produced over the last two years, including popular getai-themed music videos in Cantonese, Teochew and Hokkien, which Mr Tan also directed.
Noting that many seniors enjoy watching drama serials on TV, Mr Chee said the story-telling format of dramas makes them more interesting, and can also help to enhance understanding and recall.
The series will be aired within the existing slot for dialect programmes on Channel 8, which is on Fridays from 10.30am to 12.30pm, and the amount of dialect content on free-to-air television remains unchanged. Each episode is half an hour long.
Eat Already? premieres on Sept 9, at 12pm on Channel 8.