People’s lived experience and opinions may be unalike with their different backgrounds, but each bring a unique perspective to discourse in Singapore. In this series, Ignite Media’s youth writers pen down their raw thoughts in hopes of sparking conversation on different topics ranging from trivial debate to serious social issues.
The time to belt out tunes in an endless loop to affirm our patriotism is back again! These songs that we recognise in a heartbeat make us feel like we’re home, rallies us to stand up for Singapore, and brings us together as one united people.
These songs for Singapore are blasting everywhere in the month leading up to Aug 9, be it on the radio, television, and even while buying groceries at NTUC. There is no escaping them on social media either, which is flooded with covers and people dancing to these tunes.
But of the 33 National Day theme songs — of which two are remakes — our Singapore has produced since 1984, we all have a highly coveted favourite. Ignite’s writers chime in — what do they see in their favourite National Day theme song?
In a group of 10 Singaporeans, at least nine of them can sing the chorus to Kit Chan’s “Home”. The remaining person will probably sing Mr Brown’s “Mosquito” in lieu, which carries the same tune to “Home”. Like most Singaporeans, “Home” is my favourite National Day theme song.
Cliché, I know. Expected, I know. Unoriginal, I know.
When we have so many upbeat and sentimental songs like “Count On Me Singapore” and “Reach Out For The Skies”, it is truly a wonder why many Singaporeans would choose “Home” as their favourite National Day theme song. To a portion of us, “Home” is perhaps the most relatable song. Singapore is such a unique country, it stands out in so many ways. Wherever I may roam about in this world, I know that Singapore will welcome me back with open arms and char kway teow. There is no place like home, like my Singapore.
Darcel Anastasia Al Anthony, 21
Home is still a favourite of mine due to the nostalgia factor of it. I don’t even remember actively searching for the song but somehow it worms its way to you — shopping mall jingles, secondary school singalongs, car rides in the morning. Essentially it was a mantra, a church hymn, the encore song that would call the celebration to a close. The song has xinyao undertones (which makes sense seeing that it’s composed by Dick Lee) making it a very heartfelt and innocently optimistic piece that hails from the late 90s. I guess in shaky times like these, I like a little bit of nostalgic optimism.
Jill Chang, 21
WE ARE SINGAPORE (2018)
Charlie Lim’s 2018 rework of “We Are Singapore” is a perfect illustration of the old adage — don’t fix what isn’t broken. It’s my opinion that a National Day theme song needs to be two things above all: easy to sing and accessible. What better choice than the simple, yet heartfelt choruses of the 1987 classic, given new life through slick, modern production? To top it off, the new introductory verse later became a separate song in its own right — titled “Room At The Table” — which serves as a poignant reminder that in the divisive times we live in, there is always space for people different from us. (And yes, I’m a Charlie Lim stan. No, this post wasn’t sponsored.)
Joel Tan, 24
IN A HEARTBEAT (2011)
Whether it is the transitions between a sepia-toned kampung village and the brightly-coloured skyscrapers, or the dissolving scenes showcasing our Singaporean lifestyle, something about “In a heartbeat”’s music video stays rather amusingly etched in my mind, even after all these years.
Embedded with themes like the Singapore spirit and our familial love, the lyrics are also particularly memorable to me as they take me back to sitting cross-legged in a multi-purpose hall, donned in red and white, singing along to this song with my friends. Much like reminiscing old memories of celebrating National Day in school (and the exciting half-days I used to look forward to), the song feels bittersweet and leaves me feeling that time is passing (and has passed us by).
Shannon Ling, 20
SONG FOR SINGAPORE (2010)
It was the NDP song of 2010, when I went to watch the National Education Show as a Primary Five student. As a young impressionable kid, I liked the melody and how it was quite peaceful and soothing. Something about the song stuck with me since — I was still thinking about it even a decade later as I marched in 2018’s National Day Parade (NDP) while serving my National Service.
Yong Jia Yu, 22
REACH OUT FOR THE SKIES (2005)
This pop masterpiece will forever hold a special place in my heart due to the two artists that sang the song, Rui En and Taufik Batisah. When 2005 came about and I saw two of my favourite childhood icons collaborating on a new NDP song I was stoked.
The tune is catchy (not to mention those sick dance moves) and the lyrics are easy to digest with one simple takeaway, don’t be afraid to “reach out for the skies”. It embodies the Singaporean spirit that even though we are just one little red dot, when we put our minds into it, we can soar and achieve our dreams no matter how big it is. This is a message that I still hold dearly to this day.
Lim Fang Wei, 24
STAND UP FOR SINGAPORE (1984)
When I hear the familiar tune at the start, followed by trumpets blasting and the voices of people singing with searing vocal intensity, I know it’s “Stand Up For Singapore”. The OG National Day theme song ignites a spark of patriotism, and makes me literally stand up for our country.
As a child, my parents would always chide my sister and I for attempting to stand up in the car when the song’s lyrics belt out from the radio. In primary and secondary school, while seated on the hard ground of the assembly hall, everyone jumps up when the lyrics call for us to “stand up” — something that I still feel compelled to do today when I hear this song with friends and family.
And as the song ends with the victorious sound of the trumpets, it reminds us that generations before us have done so much to build this country to where it is today, and calls for us to continue persevering for our country.
Loraine Lee, 22