SINGAPORE - Meet the new "ambassadors" in the efforts to spread the word about the benefits of the Merdeka Generation Package.
From Saturday (Oct 26), the famous character Old Master Q, also known as Lao Fu Zi, and his three friends Mervis, Devi and Kassim will be joining the outreach efforts of about 3,000 Silver Generation Ambassadors and the roadshows already in full swing for the past five months.
The quartet are characters in a new comic book called The Mer.De.Ka Adventures, which aims to educate readers on the benefits of the Merdeka Generation Package through the escapades of its characters.
For instance, a humorous trip to the doctor is used to highlight the $200 annual Medisave top-ups that the Merdeka Generation is eligible for.
Other benefits highlighted include a $100 PAssion Silver Card top-up, additional dental subsidies and increased MediShield Life subsidies.
The book, published in the four main languages, also contains interactive activities such as a Merdeka Generation-themed crossword puzzle and word search.
The comic was launched by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at the Merdeka Generation Roadshow in Teck Whye on Saturday.
He said: "Our Merdeka Generation has worked very hard to build on the foundation built by our Pioneer Generation and shaped the country's development, giving us what we have today."
He was joined at the event by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Environment and Water Resources, and Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Culture, Community and Youth.
Old Master Q is the main character of a comic series in Chinese of the same name - created in 1962 in Hong Kong and still in publication today - by comic artist Alfonso Wong, who died in 2017.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Communications and Information said that in order to create The Mer.De.Ka Adventures, the ministry got in touch with the current copyright owner of the Old Master Q comic series and worked with a Singaporean illustrator approved by the owner.
He added that 200,000 copies of The Mer.De.Ka Adventures comic books will be distributed to all Community Health Assist Scheme clinics, polyclinics, hospitals, community centres and Merdeka Generation Roadshows from the end of next month.
A series of informational posters based on the comic book will also be rolled out online, as well as in print across the island.
Ms Sim said: "Our outreach to Merdeka Generation seniors has entered a new phase... many of them are working, but there also those who are retired... we need to use a variety of ways to reach out to them."
She added that focus group discussions with those from the Merdeka Generation found that Old Master Q was a comic book figure they were "very fond of", and was popular among seniors of all races.
"We thought that bringing it back would add an element of nostalgia as well as familiarity," she said.
One of the first members of the Merdeka Generation to get a copy of The Mer.De.Ka Adventures was retiree Wendy Tan, 62, who said Old Master Q was a familiar character to her, as she had seen the comic series when she was younger.
She said: "The comic book is a friendly way to explain the Merdeka Generation Package."