Grandma called up yesterday and asked in an excited voice, did you read about Jack Neo?
Do you know him? How? I asked her.
Of couse I know, from the advertisement and also he was that Liang Po Po, she replied, a little indignant that I thought her so suaku.
But you know, I didn’t know Liang Zi Qiang was Jack Neo. They were discussing the topic over Reddiffusion when i finally realise they’re the same person, Jack Neo, from the news recently in the newspapers. The callers were so interesting, how they criticized Jack Neo. So many people called up, some spoke in dialects and some in Mandarin. One even related her own experience on being the third wife of five of a rich man. She said, when you are part (of a herem), you must milk him dry. After listening to the program, I quickly asked Wati (her maid) to dig out the past few days’ papers to read.
I wanted to ask if she called in to give her views, but she went on and on and I forgot all about it when I put down. But I guessed she had not as her parting shot was that Jack Neo’s representative was supposed to come in at 11am to give his view, but disappointedly, he failed to turn up.
Grandma’s favourite companion in the day is Reddiffusion. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a wired radio box (as compared to our wireless). The programs are mainly targeted at the elderly now, although when I was young, they were the first to air America’s Top 40s by Casey Kasem, a program my aunts followed religiously in the 70s. Now, it’s mostly dramas and songs in dialects.
Whenever I visit Gran’s house, her Reddiffusion is turned up so loud I can hear it from the ground floor, six levels down.
Once I spent two whole days painting her house and got the opportunity to listen in to a drama. It was very long winded, where it goes like this:
This actually went on for ten minutes and Mike and I burst out laughing, even though it was meant to be a sad scene.
Recently, Gran told me about the new medical program where listeners can call in to consult the physician on air.
So I called in and they told me I should take Chinese medicine for my problems, she added.
I almost jump up in surprise.
You called in? What language did you use? Gran can’t speak mandarin.
Teochew. That doctor is very smart. He can speak all sorts of dialects, and Mandarin as well.
So you heard yourself on air? I asked, incredulous at my Granny.
Gran has in fact called in more than once and she was full of praise for the program.
I wonder how long Reddiffusion will continue in Singapore. By the way, it is not free. You need to pay for the subsription and the radio box. An old man goes house to house to collect a quarterly subscription fee.
I feel some of our TV and radio liscence fee should go to Reddiffusion, if they are not already done, for they provide true entertainment for the forgotten group in our society.