MediShield Life video in Hokkien proves a hit

The crew of the Hokkien video, with director Royston Tan (third from right) and Mr Jeff Cheong (right), president of digital agency Tribal Worldwide. It has received more than 300,000 views on YouTube alone.
PHOTO: Tribal Worldwide

A video about the new health insurance scheme MediShield Life targeted at the pioneer generation has hit just the right notes.

Uploaded on YouTube and Facebook by last Monday, it features local getai artists Wang Lei and Liu Ling Ling playing the characters of Monkey King and Spider Spirit, respectively, from the classic 16th-century Chinese novel Journey To The West.

The video is in the Hokkien dialect. There are also Chinese subtitles and an English translation in the YouTube description of the video, which has received more than 300,000 views so far.

Mr Jeff Cheong, president of digital agency Tribal Worldwide, said the total number of views, including those on Facebook, has exceeded 750,000.

The idea of using Journey To The West came about when brainstorming for a concept that would connect with the pioneer generation. It will also coincide with the upcoming getai show season.

The lyrics in the Government- commissioned video goes: "I'm not afraid of hospitalisation; With MediShield Life helping me. Because I pay insurance premiums; Staying in hospital is cheaper."

Premium subsidies for MediShield Life are part of the Pioneer Generation Package, introduced by the Government to honour and thank those who have put in effort to build Singapore. The package also includes Medisave top-ups and subsidies at various clinics.

Singaporean film director Royston Tan, who was behind the video, urged the actors to use their imagination as they performed in front of a green screen - which was later superimposed with images of them in the sky.

"I was telling them: Right now, you're flying past a mountain, there's thunder, and there are soldiers coming," he said.

A Ministry of Communications and Information spokesman said: "This is the first time we are using a folk tale to explain a government policy, as many pioneers would be familiar with Journey To The West."

This article was first published on August 2, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.