Multimedia: Lukewarm Reactions for Singapore's Latest National Theme Song

On August 9, Singapore will celebrate its 47th year of independence from its merger with Malaysia. The event is usually celebrated with much pomp and circumstance, replete with fireworks, parades and much flag-waving.

Traditionally, each year's National Day parade is accompanied by a patriotic new theme song intended to foster national spirit. The practice of celebrating the country through song harks back to 1984, when the song "Stand Up For Singapore" was created to celebrate Singapore's 25 years of self-government. However, the idea of creating a new song every year for the National Day parade only caught on in 1998, with singer Kit Chan singing "Home." These songs are broadcast frequently on national television and radio in the month leading up to the actual day and are commonly sung in schools to celebrate the national spirit.

While Singaporeans have generally welcomed each year's song, this year's tune, "Love At First Light," sung by local singer Olivia Ong and seven-year-old Natanya Tan, has left many unimpressed and many more not even aware of its existence. Alfian bin Sa'at, the acclaimed Singaporean writer, poet and playwright best known for provocative works like the 2009 play Nadirah, recently posted his analysis of this year's song on his Facebook profile. "There's genteel lens flares, hazy light through white curtains and panoramic shots of the kinds of views that 1% of Singaporeans enjoy," writes Sa'at, in a comment which has been circulating online. On Twitter, an overwhelming majority expressed a preference for previous years' songs and lamented a supposed "decline" in the quality of National Day songs.

Despite the vitriol, there are still fans of the song who speak up for it.

Asia Blog has compiled a list of all the National Day songs that have been released since 1984. Which one's your favorite?

About the Author

Profile picture for user Shuan Sim
Shuan Sim is a contributor to Asia Blog. Originally from Singapore, he's currently studying Journalism at New York University — and is an avid unicyclist.