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Getai shows set to get seniors talking about end-of-life issues

SINGAPORE — The traditional getai song and dance show is being given a new twist as part of the Die Die Must Say campaign, initiated by the Lien Foundation and Ang Chin Moh (ACM) Foundation to get older Singaporeans to talk about death and dying.

A crowd at Ngee Ann City watching a getai show. TODAY file photo

A crowd at Ngee Ann City watching a getai show. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — The traditional getai song and dance show is being given a new twist as part of the Die Die Must Say campaign, initiated by the Lien Foundation and Ang Chin Moh (ACM) Foundation to get older Singaporeans to talk about death and dying.

Like other getai shows, they will feature performances by well-known getai veterans, but with the interjection of end-of-life topics such as how to make funeral arrangements and the drawing up of wills.

The recent Death Attitudes Survey commissioned by the Lien Foundation found that only one in three Chinese Singaporeans aged 50 and above had knowledge of hospice and palliative care. But 86 per cent of them said they would be interested in having national conversations on death and dying, and 88 per cent felt there was a need for the public to know more about hospice and palliative care.

On why the getai is being used to reach out to older Singaporeans, Mr Lee Poh Wah, chief executive officer of the Lien Foundation, said: “We chose getai because entertainment creates positive emotional memory markers and helps retain information. I think it is a powerful tool in terms of the lively conversations and black humour, which can brighten up a serious and sombre topic like death and dying.”

Mr Ang Ziqian, founder of the ACM Foundation, said talking about death and dying is very important as “it enriches understanding and family relationships, reducing chances of regret or misunderstanding when a loved one passes on”.

From this Sunday, five getai shows will be held in heartland areas such as Chinatown, Tampines and Woodlands. Hosted by Mr Wang Lei and Ms Lin Ruping, Die Die Must Say will touch on four aspects, namely pre-death planning, end-of-life care, finding peace and living well. The shows will feature popular artistes such as Ms Liu Ling Ling of 881, Mr Marcus Chin and Ms Li Peifen.

A Chinese guidebook will be distributed at the shows to provide the elderly with pointers on important end-of-life issues they can reflect and act on. Weekly talk shows, including interviews with palliative care experts, will also be conducted on Capital 95.8FM as part of the campaign, alongside advertorials, stories and reader contests on Chinese print media.

Members of the public with questions and concerns about death, dying and hospice palliative care can also call a Mandarin hotline at 1800 3535 800 to speak to trained volunteers on those issues. Set up in collaboration with voluntary welfare organisation Care Corner, the hotline will continue to operate after the campaign.

In the second half of the campaign, Mr Lee said the Lien Foundation will be using further initiatives to reach out to older Singaporeans of other races.

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