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.
My favourite NDP song 2012 is prob not "Love at First Light" (how do we even sing along to that?) but this Tamil song: bit.ly/MSl3kC— Joel Goh (@joeljoshuagoh) August 2, 2012
Why NDP song no malay, i thought multi racial. Racist ?—▲△ (@NrlAlis) July 29, 2012
This year ndp song not as shiok as the last three to four years. Hais. Singapore is changing.— Mia Abraham (@MiaMyraS) July 29, 2012
Despite the vitriol, there are still fans of the song who speak up for it.
Why give negative comments about the new NDP song? If you think it can be way better why don't you write/ sing it? Appreciate what we have.— Breena (@Pinchmycheeks) August 2, 2012
I somehow like the ndp song after many times listen to it. It features hope & simplicity of living in this city <3—♥ 5 جزيرة الكنوز♥ (@FaeDarkFairy) August 2, 2012
Heard NDP 2012 song for the first time a few days back & glad Olivia Ong took on this year's song. Brilliant voice! ow.ly/cxnWr— Beatrice Tan (@beatricesays) July 27, 2012
Asia Blog has compiled a list of all the National Day songs that have been released since 1984. Which one's your favorite?