4 facts about Singapore’s national songs you didn’t know

Posted on 22 February 2013

So now you know, what you going to do about it?

Fact #1 Count On Me Singapore was written by a Canadian

Last Saturday, at the Feb. 16 Hong Lim Park protest against the White Paper to open Singapore up to more foreigners, it was reported that the crowd at one point — in their patriotic fervour — sang Count On Me Singapore, which is one of Singapore’s most memorable national songs.

However, did you know that Count On Me Singapore, was actually written in the mid-80s by Hugh Harrison, a Canadian?

He was also commissioned to write other all-time beloved Singapore patriotic songs throughout the 1980s that include: Stand Up For Singapore and We Are Singapore.

Irony of ironies! The people at Hong Lim Park protesting against plans to open Singapore up to foreigners were singing a national song written by a foreigner!

Hugh Harrison with LKY

Hugh Harrison with LKY

Hugh Harrison with Jeremy Monteiro

Hugh Harrison with Jeremy Monteiro

Fact #2 Singapore Town was written by a Christian group in the 1960s

singapore-town

“You could take a little trip around Singapore town…”

Heard of this particular national song? Well, it is Singapore Town and it was written in the 1960s by a Christian group called Sidaislers (pronounced as Side-Aisle-Lers).

Plus, did you know that the 1960s original version had a different lyrics for the last verse compared to the contemporary version we know of?

singapore-town-02

1960s version: “Because in Singapore, Singapore, you’ll find the answer, for all mankind”

Contemporary version: “Because in Singapore, Singapore, you’ll find happiness, for everyone”

Fact #3 Lyrics to the national Anthem Majulah Singapura was shrunk

Original:

Original

Original

Slimmed down version:

Slimmed down version

Slimmed down version

Meaning of Majulah Singapura in English:
national-anthem-03

Fact #4 The first line of Home, sung by Kit Chan, was frowned upon

dick-lee

Dick Lee is the composer of Home, one of the most recognisable mega-hit of a national song released in 1998.

The committee that approved national songs actually hated the first line of Home:

According to Dick Lee: “There was actually a very strong reaction against the first line, ‘Whenever we are feeling low’. Half of the committee didn’t like that line. Why is it so negative?”

Eventually, the line went through, as the rationale was that Singapore was in a recession in 1998.

All facts stolen from this video.

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- who has written 2685 posts on New Nation.

Wang Pei can be considered a new citizen of Singapore. She has been here all her life, just that her environment's changed beyond recognition.

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