Former Workers' Party secretary-general and Teochew-speaking maestro Low Thia Khiang will be addressing the elderly in Singapore in Teochew and Mandarin in a bid to encourage the senior folks to get their Covid-19 vaccine jabs amidst widespread hesitancy among that demographic group.
Pritam enlists Low's help
Low, 64, was approached by current WP chief Pritam Singh, who broached the idea of doing something for the community to encourage more elderly people to get jabbed, to up vaccination rates.Pritam revealed in his post that Low received his two doses of the Pfizer vaccine in April this year, making the former chief the minority among the more senior people in Singapore who are vaccinated.
About 180,000 unvaccinated seniors
Currently, there are slightly fewer than 180,000 elderly people who are still unvaccinated in Singapore.
This figure has dipped slightly from 200,000, following mobile vaccination drives and concerted efforts to convince the elderly of the benefits of having two doses of the vaccine.
The urgency in getting the elderly on board the vaccination programme is in preparation for Singapore's eventual reopening of economic activities, that include travel and restoring mass events.
This development can potentially put the health of the elderly at risk as Covid-19 remains nascent and continues to spread, but impacting those who are unvaccinated and older more severely.
Low's Teochew and Mandarin-speaking prowess
The Chinese-educated Low is known to speak formidable Teochew and Mandarin.
His rally speeches and public addresses in Teochew have long been the main draw for Singaporeans who do and do not understand the language.
Besides making a direct connection with the elderly, Low's Teochew-speaking prowess has been spell-binding as he can express political concepts such as voting, representation, leadership renewal, and policy-making in dialect with relative ease.
Low has mostly kept out of the limelight following his retirement from partisan politics.
He sat out of the most recent 2020 general election, passing the baton and leadership of the opposition party to Singh, who subsequently received the official Leader of the Opposition designation.
Low's video is not out yet, but Singh said it will be published soon.
Vaccination hesitancy among the elderly stems from a mix of factors.
Chief among which is the worry that getting vaccinated might do more harm than good, as it is feared that it might exacerbate underlying pre-existing health conditions.
However, such fears are largely unfounded, unless specifically advised by a doctor.
Top photo via Pritam Singh