SINGAPORE: From Sep 9, seniors can tune in to a new dialect drama - titled Eat Already? - aimed at better communicating Government messages and information to seniors in a vernacular they are comfortable and familiar with.
This was announced at a Seniors' Wellness Day organised by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and Mediacorp on Thursday (Sep 1).
Directed by local film-maker Royston Tan, the weekly half-hour drama series spans 10 episodes. It will run on Channel 8 on Fridays, within the existing slot for dialect programmes (10.30am to 12.30pm). The amount of dialect content on free-to-air television remains unchanged as well, said MCI and Mediacorp in a news release.
Eat Already? is set in a coffee shop, and is centred around an elderly widow named Ah Niu Sao, who works as a cleaner as her sons still rely on her for their living expenses. Throughout the series, she manages to tide over various issues thanks to help from neighbours, friends and several support schemes available.
Shot primarily in Hokkien, MCI and Mediacorp said the script highlights specific issues relevant to Singapore's seniors, such as healthy eating, active ageing and lifelong learning. Starring veteran actors such as Marcus Chin and Aileen Tan, the series aims to impart information on Government schemes and subsidies such as Medishield Life, the Pioneer Generation Package, CHAS and Silver Support, specifically to seniors.
The show will also include practical tips such as how to manage diabetes and dementia, and where to learn new skills, the release said.
Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat said this approach to reach this particular audience was chosen after finding that seniors are not familiar with the details of support schemes available to them. According to Singstat, 56 per cent of Chinese seniors mainly communicate in dialects at home.
Mr Chee said Eat Already? builds on the success of earlier efforts, which used dialects to communicate the Pioneer Generation Package to seniors. "In 2015, awareness of the PGP among Pioneers reached 96 per cent," he said.
"Many seniors enjoy watching drama serials on TV. The storytelling format of dramas makes them more interesting, and can also help to enhance understanding and recall for the audience," he added.
“Our seniors form a large part of the audience for the time slot dedicated to dialect programming,” Mediacorp’s Head of Family Segment (Chinese) Irene Lim said on the collaborative effort to produce an info-educational drama series for seniors. “We are delighted to be a part of this collaboration to engage with our silver audience in a way that is informative, entertaining and culturally in tune with them.”
Eat Already? premieres on Channel 8 on Sep 9 at noon. Each half-hour episode will be aired on Fridays.