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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

National Day songs

National Day 2006 logo
I have this year's National Day theme song stuck in my head. It's "My Island Home", sung by Kaira Gong.

Aside: I had never heard of Kaira Gong until August 2006. Turns out that she's a Chinese singer, and it all made sense. (I rarely listen to Chinese songs.)

As usual, the song is laced with propaganda message. But aside from a few cheesy lines, I find the song acceptable. It's not overly cringey like last year's song, "Reach Out For The Skies", which also had coordinated dance movements!

I had the chance to listen to several National Day songs, since they're freely downloadable from the website. Haha, what a trip!

In terms of "rah rah"-ness, nothing beats "Stand Up For Singapore". I was chuckling to myself as I heard that song and two others, "Count On Me, Singapore" and "We Are Singapore". I can't believe I sang them in primary school -- almost 20 years ago! And I stil remember the lyrics! They're cheesy, but they're so cheesy that -- dare I say it -- they're classics! The oldies are goldies!

Since then, though, the songs have become laced with too much propaganda. "One People, One Nation, One Singapore" ("OPONOS")? Even the title is loaded. "One United People"'s chorus ends with the ultimate cheesy and propaganda-ish line, "Together we feel/The Singapore heartbeat". Aaaa! I don't remember the other songs, mostly because I wasn't in the country during those years. And the fact that I haven't heard much of them tells me that they haven't become as rooted in local culture as "Stand Up For Singapore", which means they're probably forgettable.

But 2004's "Home", sung by Kit Chan, is the only standout. I've also heard that it's the best National Day song so far. It's not overly propaganda-ish and cringey. And Kit Chan has a beautiful voice.

Talking about singers, I noticed that almost every National Day song (aside from the classic three and "OPONOS") has been sung by a female singer. Either Singapore lacks male singing talent or the organisers like female singers. (Incidentally, the organisers are the testosterone-loaded military units.)

Someone once asked Corrinne May when she would write and perform a National Day song. She joked that she's never been asked, but would be honoured to do so. Personally, I hope she's never requested to perform this "national duty". I can't see her singing cheesy propaganda. Besides, she'd be villified by the locals because she's based in the U.S. of A. Apparently, the locals weren't too pleased with Taiwan-based Kaira Gong. The idea that a talent has to make it big outside of Singapore doesn't sit too well with the layman. So for the sake of Corrinne May's reputation, I hope she sits this one out.

Happy 41st National Day, Singapore!


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dotdot said...

Is Corrinne May that big in Singapore? I've heard Corrinne sang a couple of times in small places and I'm so satisfied and smiling after listening to her voice.

Yuhui said...

She has a loyal following here in Singapore. A fan did ask her once if she would want to write a national song, and she said she would if asked.

Yeah, she has a great voice, and her songs are quite beautiful too.

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