Reconnecting with our seniors with vernacular radios
during the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore
What did You Say Teahouse / 大声D茶室 / Warung Cakap Apa is a community arts project created in the initial stage of the COVID-19 lock-down in a bid to connect with seniors living in isolation, and in languages that are familiar to the elderly but are uncommonly heard in the mass media today.
The project is part of an intersectoral community project that creates new artistic content in the vernacular languages (Chinese dialects, Malay and Tamil) for seniors who found themselves physically and emotionally isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the
(1) closing of senior activity centres,
(2) cessation of social activities and home visits and
(3) social distancing measures that actively discourage seniors from venturing out of their home since the virus is known to have more serious impacts on the elderly.
Working collaboratively with various social services agencies and with volunteers, the project aims to provide both information and comfort during this confounding period, and beyond. (read more)
Season 1 (May - August 2020)
84 episodes in Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil
Aishwariyah Shanmuganathan, Doreen Toh, Farez Najid, Jalyn Han, Li Xie, Liu Xiaoyi, Moli Mohter, Oliver Chong, Zelda Ng
Music composer and sound designer
Programme theme song, Singapore Old Stories, Journey to the West: Phang Kok Jun
Do you Remember: Jay Lim
Sure or Not? Ah Kee Dare Dare Say: Li Xie
Leliofusion, Super Fan Club, Singapore, Old Stories, Journey to the West: Eric Lim You Wey
Burung Kakak Tua: Yusri Shaggy Sapari
Do you Remember: Horseman
Baabuu Time, Sure or Not, Ah Kee Dare Dare Say: Ang Cheng Yan
Transcriber and Translator
Max Yam, Jodi Chan, Aqmal Noor, Savithaa Markandu
Programme key visual: Shian
Show posters: Ric Liu
Burung Kakak Tua poster: Hashima Hassim
Production, technical, marketing & administrative support
Ang Cheng Yan, Cheryl Gan, Farez Najid
Special thanks to community partners in programme outreach:
All Saints Home (Yishun), Sing-health, Outram Community Hospital, NTUC health,
Methodist Welfare Services Home Care & Home Hospice, St. Luke Eldercare, Project Audible Cheer, Project Kind Heart Asia, Jurong Spring V2, Touch Community Services. Tsao Foundation, Monfort Care, Learn Dialect, Teck Ghee CC, Cassia Resettlement Team
Let's connect the circuit -
Interview with creators of 大声D茶室 / Warung Cakap Apa
As an artist or a creator, what went through your mind when the pandemic just started? How did you feel then? How do you feel now? What did you discover during this period or in the preparation process of 大声D茶室 / Warung Cakap Apa?
Jalyn: In the beginning, it started off as a service to translate the news in dialects for those who have difficulty understanding English and Mandarin. "Aunty Jalyn" is my online persona to deliver these messages in a positive manner, with hope that people would stay calm during turbulent times. At that time, I felt that we should do what we can, and be courageous to try things out.
Shiyun: She was staying up till 3am trying to figure out how to do Zoom and Facebook Live. Putting yourself out there in the public domain and being vulnerable to a very snarky online community is a very scary thing. But she did it anyway, because she was intrinsically motivated to reach out to the seniors and wanted others to be seen and have a voice in her programme.