List of Singaporean patriotic songs

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This article contains a list of Singaporean patriotic songs. A patriotic song is one which inspires feelings of pride in one's country. The list has both traditional folk songs that have special meaning to Singaporeans, as well as modern songs composed specifically for national celebrations, particularly the National Day Parade held on 9 August each year, Singapore's National Day.

Generally speaking, there may be said to be two types of Singaporean patriotic songs. The first type are traditional folk songs that have, over time, come to have special meaning to Singaporeans. Many of these are in vernacular languages – Malay, Mandarin and Tamil, for instance. Examples of such songs include Malay song "Di Tanjung Katong" and Tamil song "Munnaeru Vaalibaa".

The second type are the comparatively modern songs, mostly in English, that were composed specifically for national events – particularly the National Day Parade held annually on 9 August – and for use in schools. Each year since 1985, the National Day Parade Executive Committee has designated one such song as a National Day Parade theme song. The song is usually broadcast on radio and television starting from a month before National Day, and is given prominence during the Parade itself. Examples of such songs include "Stand Up for Singapore" (1985), "Count On Me, Singapore" (1986) and "One People, One Nation, One Singapore" (1990). In 1998, there were 2 National Day Parade theme songs, "Home" and "City For The World" and one of them was reused for National Day Parade in 2004. Then in 2007 they used two National Day Parade theme songs, "There's No Place I'd Rather Be" and "Will You?".[1] As for the National Day Ceremony song, My People My Home, it was conducted by Dr Lee Tzu Pheng, it came out in the late 1990s and was reused for National Day Parade 2012, together with Love at First Light which is sung by 27-year-old singer, Olivia Ong.

In 1984, the National Arts Council inaugurated the Sing Singapore Festival, the aim of which was to discover and promote home-grown music and artistes. According to the Council, it also hoped to nurture a love for music and singing and cultivate a greater sense of togetherness amongst Singaporeans. The programme led to the creation of a number of new songs by Singaporean composers, some of which were selected for National Day celebrations. These included "Home" (1998) by Dick Lee, "Where I Belong" (2001) by Tanya Chua, and "A Place in My Heart" (2003) by Kevin Quah. Local singers such as Taufik Batisah, Kit Chan and Stefanie Sun have performed songs in the Sing Singapore collection.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

While some of these modern made-to-order patriotic songs have become popular in the country, they have not received universal acclaim. They have been criticized as artificial and propagandistic, "National songs foisted on you from above" as opposed to "Singapore Songs arising from grassroots".[3] A minor controversy also erupted over "There's No Place I'd Rather Be" (2007). Some people queried why the song does not mention Singapore by name,[4] while others commented that the song was "touching" and that they related to it immediately, and that "[t]he spirit of patriotism is woven so well in the song".[5] One correspondent to the Straits Times asked: "How did such a dreadful song become the National Day song?", lambasting the melody as "uninspiring" and the lyrics as "insipid" – "it is quite obvious what the brief to [the composer] was: Write a song to persuade Singaporeans who have sought greener pastures to come home."[5] The song's composer Jimmy Ye defended it, saying, "There's no need for it to be so in-your-face just because it's a National Day song". He noted that he had submitted the first draft of the song to the National Day Parade song committee, which had returned it with several changes. There was no mention of why "Singapore" got left out: "I guess the committee wanted to have a soft-sell approach too".[4]

The National Anthem[edit]

Title Date Author(s) Copyright owner(s) Lyrics
Majulah Singapura

(Onward Singapore)

1958 Lyrics and music:
Zubir Said
Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts[6] Official Malay lyrics:

Mari kita rakyat Singapura
Sama-sama menuju bahagia
Cita-cita kita yang mulia
Berjaya Singapura
Marilah kita bersatu
Dengan semangat yang baru
Semua kita berseru
Majulah Singapura
Majulah Singapura
Marilah kita bersatu
Dengan semangat yang baru
Semua kita berseru
Majulah Singapura
Majulah Singapura

English translation:
Come, fellow Singaporeans
Let us progress towards happiness together
May our noble aspiration bring
Singapore success
Come, let us unite
In a new spirit
Let our voices soar as one
Onward Singapore
Onward Singapore
Come, let us unite
In a new spirit
Let our voices soar as one
Onward Singapore
Onward Singapore

Chinese translation:
来吧,新加坡人民
让我们共同向幸福迈进
我们崇高的理想
要使新加坡成功
来吧,让我们以新的精神
团结在一起
我们齐声欢呼
前进吧,新加坡
前进吧,新加坡
来吧,让我们以新的精神
团结在一起
我们齐声欢呼
前进吧,新加坡
前进吧,新加坡

Tamil translation:
சிங்கப்பூர் மக்கள் நாம்
செல்வோம் மகிழ்வை நோக்கியே
சிங்கப்பூரின் வெற்றிதான்
சிறந்த நம் நாட்டமே
ஒன்றிணைவோம் அனைவரும்
ஓங்கிடும் புத்துணர்வுடன்
முழங்குவோம் ஒன்றித்தே
முன்னேறட்டும் சிங்கப்பூர்
முன்னேறட்டும் சிங்கப்பூர்
ஒன்றிணைவோம் அனைவரும்
ஓங்கிடும் புத்துணர்வுடன்
முழங்குவோம் ஒன்றித்தே
முன்னேறட்டும் சிங்கப்பூர்
முன்னேறட்டும் சிங்கப்பூர்


National Day Theme Songs (by year)[edit]

Songs with English lyrics[edit]

Title Date Author(s) Copyright owner(s) First verse and/or chorus
Count On Me, Singapore 1986 Lyrics and music:
Hugh Harrison

Commissioned by the Cultural Affairs Division, Ministry of Community Development

Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and the National Arts Council

We have a vision for tomorrow, just believe, just believe
We have a goal for Singapore, we can achieve, we can achieve
You and me, we'll do our part, stand together, heart to heart
We're going to show the world what Singapore can be
We can achieve, we can achieve

There is something down the road that we can strive for
We are told no dream's too bold that we can't try for
There's a spirit in the air, it's a feeling we all share
We're going to build a better life, for you and me
We can achieve, we can achieve

Count on me Singapore, count on me to give my best and more
You and me, we'll do our part, stand together, heart to heart
We're going to show the world what Singapore can be
We can achieve, we can achieve

Chorus:
Count on me Singapore, Count on me Singapore
Count on me to give my best and more, count on me Singapore

(Repeat Chorus)

Together Singapore, Singapore! (x2)

Five Stars Arising 1969 Lyrics and music:
Lim Su Chong
Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and the National Arts Council[6] First verse:[8]

There's a new moon arising,

out of the stormy sea

Youthful and bright and bearing hope,

and tranquil as can be

Reach out for the moon above,

savour freedom, truth and love

There's a new moon arising,

out of the stormy sea
It's the Little Things 1992 Lyrics: Patrick Seet

Music: Ivan Chua

Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and the National Arts Council[6] Chorus:[9]

It's the little things that we share,

the love and joy that's in the air

The children's laughter everywhere,

and all our favourite things

Over the years, I've grown

accustomed to your ways

And no matter where I'll be,

it warms my heart to know that

You're always here for me

Moments of Magic 1999 Lyrics and music:
Ken Lim
Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and the National Arts Council[6] Chorus:[10]

Let us celebrate this moment,

A brand new day awaits

Let us reach out for our dreams out there
Moments of magic we will share
Let us celebrate this moment,

A brand new day awaits

We will always be a city of friends
Time will bring for us to share
Moments of magic

One People, One Nation, One Singapore 1990 Lyrics: Jim Aitchison

Music: Jeremy Monteiro

Commissioned by the Ministry of Information and the Arts

Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and the National Arts Council[6] "First verse":[11]

We've built a nation with our hands
The toil of people from a dozen lands.
Strangers when we first begun, now we are Singaporeans
Let's reach out for Singapore. Join our hands forevermore
Chorus:[11]
One people, one nation, one Singapore
That's the way that we will be forevermore
Every creed and every race,
has its role and has its place
One people, one nation, one Singapore

Singapore Town 1967 Lyrics and music:
The Sidaislers
First verse:[12]

You could take a little trip around

Singapore town

In a Singapore city bus
To see Collyer Quay and Raffles Place
The Esplanade and all of us

Chorus:
Because in Singapore, Singapore
Their hearts are big and wide you'll find
Because in Singapore, Singapore
You'll find happiness for everyone

Singapura, Sunny Island 1962 Translated from Indonesian version MediaCorp Pte. Ltd.[6] First verse:

Singapura, O Singapura
Sunny island set in the sea
Singapura, O Singapura
Pretty flowers bloom for you and me

Song for Singapore 2010 Lyrics and music:
Corrinne May[13]
Chorus:[14]

I want to sing
Sing a song for Singapore
With every generation there's more to be grateful for
So come and sing
Sing a song for Singapore
You're my brother you're my sister
I'm thankful for my Singapore
My Singapore
Singapore

Stand Up for Singapore 1984 Lyrics and music:
Hugh Harrison

Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture

Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and the National Arts Council[6] First verse:[15]

Stand up for Singapore, do the best you can
Reach out for your fellow man
You've got to make a stand
Recognise you can play your part
Let it come right from your heart
Be prepared to give a little more
Stand up, stand up for Singapore

There's No Place I'd Rather Be 2007 Lyrics and music:
Jimmy Ye
Chorus:[16]

There's no place I'd rather be
You'll always be a part of me
And even though I've roamed the world
It's still my home I long to see.

These Are The Days 2015 Lyrics and music:
Lee Chin Sin
Chorus:

These are the days
To breathe and feel
To touch the skies
To name our dreams and make them real
And never close our eyes
We've fought the fears
We've braved the years
When all we could believe was all we had to give
Now what we only dreamed is what we live

We Are Singapore 1987 Lyrics and music:
Hugh Harrison

Orchestration:
Jeremy Monteiro

Commissioned by the Cultural Affairs Division, Ministry of Community Development

Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and the National Arts Council[6] First verse:[17]

There was a time when people said
That Singapore won't make it
But we did
There was a time when troubles
Seemed too much for us to take
But we did
We built a nation
Strong and free
Reaching out together
For peace and harmony

Chorus 1:
This is my country, this is my flag
This is my future, this is my life
This is my family, these are my friends
We are Singapore, Singaporeans

What Do You See? 2009 Lyrics and music:
Electrico
Chorus:[18]

See the moon and the stars,

look how far we have come

Look around at our faces,

they shine brightly in the sun

With our hopes and dreams,

imagine what tomorrow it may bring

What do you see? What do you see?

Will you 2007 Lyrics and music:
Jimmy Ye
First verse:[19]

Will you make this island
Amazing in all ways?
Surprises every corner,
Delightful nights and days.

Notes

  • The song highlighted in blue was designated as the "millennium song" by the National Arts Council.
  • The four songs highlighted in pink were designated as "national songs" by the National Arts Council.
  • Songs highlighted in red are National Day Parade theme songs.
  • Songs highlighted in yellow were designated as "community songs" by the National Arts Council.
  • The song highlighted in green is the winner of SG50: The Gift of Song.

Songs with Malay lyrics[edit]

Title Date Author(s) Copyright owner(s) First verse and/or chorus
Chan Mali Chan 2010 Indonesian Folk Song - from Nusa Tenggara - video with original indonesian lyrics Not copyrighted First verse:[20]

Di mana dia anak kambing saya?
Anak kambing saya yang makan daun talas
Di mana dia buah hati saya?
Buah hati saya bagai telur dikupas

Chorus:
Chan mali chan, chan mali chan,
Chan mali chan, ketipung payung (twice)

Di Tanjung Katong Composer Ahmad Patek, musician in 1930s. Reference found in MUSIKA: Arena Muzik Silam di Malaya. NLB. Copyright controlled. First verse:[21]

Di Tanjung Katong, airnya biru
Disitu tempatnya, dara jelita
Duduk sekampung, lagikan rindu
Kononlah pula nun jauh di mata

Semoga Bahagia

(May You Achieve Happiness)

Lyrics and music:
Zubir Said
First verse:

Sama-sama maju ke hadapan
Pandai cari pelajaran
Jaga diri dalam kesihatan
Serta sopan-santun dengan kawan-kawan

English translation:
Together we progress
Clever at seeking knowledge
Take care of your health
And be courteous to your friends

Notes

  • Songs highlighted in yellow were designated as "community songs" by the National Arts Council.
  • Semoga Bahagia was designated as the official Children's Day song.

Songs with Mandarin lyrics[edit]

Title Date Author(s) Copyright owner(s) First verse and/or chorus
小人物的心声 (Xiao Ren Wu De Xin Sheng)

(Voices from the Heart)

1986 Lyrics: Bok Sek Yieng

Music: Tan Kian Chin

Touch Music Publishing Pte. Ltd. First verse:[22]

也许我一个人,不能成就一番大事业
但我尽力贡献一份微薄的力量 [Perhaps I, as only one person, can't take on a large task
But I can work hard and contribute a decent effort.]

Songs with Tamil lyrics[edit]

Title Date Author(s) Copyright owner(s) First verse and/or chorus
Munnaeru Vaalibaa 1966 S. Jesudassan Not copyrighted Lyrics:[23]

Munnaeru vaalibaa munaeri endrum
Thoduvaan noakkuvaai
Kann theriyaatha Kaari rulil
Olirum vinmeenae
Thanimaiyaalae payantha naadugal
Irulil oli pera unnai naadum
Mael noakku vaaliba endrum munnaeri
Thoduvaan noakkuvaai thoduvaan noakkuvai

The lyrics in English are:
Forward o'youth forever advancing
Look to horizons far
Eyes do not grope in the depths of the night
That look on a shining star
Nations fearful in apartness
Need your sight to light their darkness
Look up o'youth forever advancing
Look to horizons far...

Engkal Singapore Lyrics: Peri Nela Palanivelan
Music: L Krishna Samy
Not copyrighted Lyrics:
Engkal Singapore - ithu

Engkal Singapore - inbam
Engkum pongkum
Engkal Singapore

Oru nilaiyaana aatchi ulakil
Uyarnthu oangkum naadu - engkal
Orumaippaattinai vilakkum - ina
Otrumai kanda naadu

Notes

  • Songs highlighted in yellow were designated as "community songs" by the National Arts Council.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Official website of the National Day Parade, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  2. ^ Sing Singapore: Background, National Arts Council, 2005, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  3. ^ Tan, Shzr Ee (c. 2000), "'Authentic Fakesong': The Sing Singapore Campaign", IIAS Newsletter Online, International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) (26), retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  4. ^ a b Frankie Chee (12 August 2007), "Why no Singapore?", The Sunday Times (LifeStyle), p. L2 .
  5. ^ a b "National Day song gets mixed response", The Straits Times (Life!), p. 4, 18 August 2007 .
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Sing Singapore: Useful Information: Copyrights of the Songs in the Sing Singapore Collection, National Arts Council, 2005, retrieved 24 June 2007 .
  7. ^ http://www.ndp.org.sg/the-six-chapters/
  8. ^ Five Stars Arising, Sing Singapore, National Arts Council, archived from the original on 27 September 2007, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  9. ^ It's the Little Things, Sing Singapore, National Arts Council, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  10. ^ Moments of Magic, Sing Singapore, National Arts Council, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  11. ^ a b One People, One Nation, One Singapore, Sing Singapore National Arts Council, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  12. ^ Singapore Town, Sing Singapore, National Arts Council, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  13. ^ Jermyn Chow (8 July 2010), "Corrinne May's ode to Singapore: US-based Singaporean to perform National Day theme song at Padang", The Straits Times .
  14. ^ NDP 2010 Theme Song – "Song for Singapore" by Corrinne May! on YouTube.
  15. ^ Stand Up for Singapore, Sing Singapore, National Arts Council, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  16. ^ There's No Place I'd Rather Be, National Day Parade Executive Committee, 2007, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  17. ^ We Are Singapore, Sing Singapore, National Arts Council, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  18. ^ NDP09 theme song – What do you see?, National Day Parade Executive Committee, 2009, retrieved 14 July 2009 .
  19. ^ Will You?, National Day Parade Executive Committee, 2007, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  20. ^ Chan Mali Chan, Sing Singapore, National Arts Council, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  21. ^ Di Tanjung Katong, Sing Singapore, National Arts Council, retrieved 23 June 2007 .
  22. ^ List of works/arrangements for Choir, Phoon Yew Tien, retrieved 14 July 2009 .
  23. ^ Munnaeru Vaalibaa, Sing Singapore, National Arts Council, retrieved 23 June 2007 .

Further reading[edit]

  • Aisha Akbar, comp. (1966), Thirty-Six Best Loved Songs of Malaysia and Singapore, Singapore: Eastern University Press .
  • Cheng, Shao Chang; Leong, Yoon Pin, chief eds. (1973), Our Songs, Singapore: Educational Publications Bureau , 3 vols.
  • Sing Singapore: A Celebration in Song, National Day 1988, Singapore: F & N Sarsi in conjunction with Psychological Defence Division, Ministry of Communications and Information, 1988 .
  • Teo, Lay Na, comp. (1980), Sing a Song of Singapore, Singapore: Educational Publications Bureau .
  • Zubir Said (1990), Zubir Said: His Songs, Singapore: Times Books International for Singapore Cultural Foundation .

External links[edit]