Saturday, 3 September 2016

New dialect TV series to help explain Govt schemes to seniors:《吃饱没?》Eat Already?

By Siau Ming En, TODAY, 1 Sep 2016

A new dialect drama series aimed at communicating government information and messages to seniors who are more familiar with the vernacular will air on Channel 8 starting next week.

This series will be shown weekly in the afternoon within the existing time belt for dialect programmes — Fridays, from 10.30am to 12.30pm — and “the amount of dialect content on free-to-air TV remains unchanged”, broadcaster Mediacorp said on Thursday (Sept 1) in a joint statement with the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

The 10-episode Hokkien series titled Eat Already? is a collaboration between the MCI and the broadcaster, and will touch on issues such as active ageing and lifelong learning.

It will also provide information on government schemes and subsidies, including MediShield Life, the Community Health Assist Scheme and the Silver Support Scheme.

This information will be woven into a story centred on an elderly widow and the problems she faces in her job and as a mother, and the support she receives to overcome them.

Veteran actors Li Yinzhu, Wang Lei, Marcus Chin and Aileen Tan star in the series, which is directed by filmmaker Royston Tan.

Mr Tan’s recent telemovie on Channel 8, The Provision Shop, was also commissioned by the MCI.

The ministry and Mediacorp said on Thursday that this new drama series, which will air from Sept 9, from noon to 12.30pm, builds on the use of dialects in explaining the Pioneer Generation Package (PGP) to seniors.

In his address on Seniors’ Wellness Day on Thursday, Minister of State for Health, Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat said statistics have shown that among the Chinese pioneer generation, more than half of them still use dialects at home.

Following efforts to release videos on the PGP in vernacular languages and having volunteers explain in dialects how the package works, it was found that 96 per cent of the pioneer generation said they were aware of the package, Mr Chee added.

Asked about suggestions that more dialect programmes should be aired here, Mr Chee said the intent was to have a show in a language familiar to the target audience.

“So I think the focus that we want is to ... more effectively communicate government policies (to) our seniors,” he said.

There are restrictions on the use of dialect on free-to-air broadcast channels and television programming here because the Government wants to encourage people to speak Mandarin.

In 1979, Singapore launched the Speak Mandarin Campaign to get the Chinese community to use the Chinese language, instead of dialects, for economic and social purposes.

Madam Kwan Tuck Lan, 77, said she is looking forward to watching the new drama series because there are hardly any dialect television programmes these days.

Madam Neo Am Seow, 71, said many from the older generation are unable to understand English, while people in the younger generation are not always able to converse in Mandarin. She hopes that more Singaporeans will pick up dialects to better communicate with seniors such as herself.

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