New Hokkien drama to explain policies to seniors

New Hokkien drama Eat Already? is aimed at communicating government messages to seniors in a vernacular they are familiar with.
New Hokkien drama Eat Already? is aimed at communicating government messages to seniors in a vernacular they are familiar with. New PHOTO: ROYSTON TAN

A new Hokkien drama aimed at communicating government messages to seniors in a vernacular they are familiar with is coming to TV screens next week.

The 10-part series, Eat Already?, revolves around the life of a down-and-out cleaner who overcomes her problems with help from her neighbours and government support schemes.

The show, by award-winning director Royston Tan, is a collaboration between the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and broadcasting company Mediacorp.

It discusses themes such as active ageing, explains policies such as MediShield Life and dispenses tips on issues such as managing dementia.

At a seniors' wellness event at Toa Payoh West Community Club yesterday, Minister of State for Health and Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat said the drama builds on the success of earlier efforts to explain the $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package.

The MCI had producedgetai-themed music videos in Cantonese, Teochew and Hokkien, among other things, to reach out to the pioneers.

On the new show, Mr Chee said: "Many seniors enjoy watching drama serials on TV. The story-telling format of dramas makes them more interesting and can also help to enhance understanding and recall."

He added that close to 60 per cent of Chinese seniors in the pioneer generation speak mainly dialect at home.

Asked if there would be more such shows in future, Mr Chee said: "Our focus is to more effectively communicate policies to our seniors."

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. The amount of dialect content on television remains unchanged.

Retired factory worker Neo An Heow, 71, said she looked forward to the show. "It's always more convenient to listen to things in my dialect," she said.

Eat Already? premieres on Sept 9, at noon on Channel 8.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2016, with the headline 'New Hokkien drama to explain policies to seniors'. Print Edition | Subscribe