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Posts Tagged ‘national day

It is Singapore’s 56th birthday today. Other than singing our national anthem, we also sing theme songs.

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The video above is our official theme song for 2021. But we have unsanctioned efforts elsewhere.

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Last year, a 900-person online choir sang the evergreen Home. It was particularly relevant when we were in full pandemic lockdown. It is still relevant in the age of Zoom.

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But my favourite offering is this 2018 synthesis by local a cappella group, MICapella. It is a joyful piece that time-travelled from our independence to today.

I prefer the unofficial efforts because they are authentic. They are works of passion and collaboration from folks on the ground. 

Today’s marks Singapore’s 53rd National Day.

Over the years I might have shared unofficial ND videos that I thought did a better job of capturing the essence of who we are than officially-sanctioned ones.

Today one tongue firmly in cheek comes by way of Twitter.

We are 53-years-old. Can we laugh at ourselves? Or did middle age break our collective funny bone?

It is Singapore’s National Day today. We are a youthful 51-years-old!

Every few years there are official attempts to come up with new national songs. However, we cannot seem to recreate the conditions of the 80s that led to the boom in catchy national ditties.

That, or we are collectively becoming old farts who only appreciate the old sounds and smells from “back in our day”.

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But all is not lost. There are lots of creative people here. While the official agencies go for flops, the private sector, like StarHub, and independent agencies create videos like the ones above and below.

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StarHub’s home run this year was its second in a row. Last year it inspired with Home by Homes.

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I had the good fortune of meeting the agency behind both Majulah Moms and Home by Homes. I found out that their latest was their fourth partnered effort with StarHub. I might reflect on what I learnt at that meeting another time.

So back to the point of this reflection on National Day…

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The agency also shared a “making of” video that, unfortunately, does not have as many views as the main video. As I type this, the main video has 556K views while the other has 11K views. Might this indicate that we are still more interested in the finished product than in insights on the process?

Efforts like Majulah Moms are from outsourced creatives. Most behemoth organisations do not recognise their own creative elements or do not operate that way. They partner with smaller ones that can do what they cannot or will not.

Schools here do much of the same with vendors. While the vendor scene is not quite at the level of the national day videos — you need only look at the resources kids bring home — I wonder how much schools learn from their partners. Do they learn from what their partners do better than them? Do they avoid the mistakes their partners make?

We are 51-years-old. That is still young for a country. Are we humble enough to learn or are we already old farts?

You miss home the most when you are far away from it. You take it for granted (and probably complain a lot about it) when you are right here.

Those are my takeaways from having lived overseas for an extended period and coming back.

When I was studying and working in the USA, nothing tugged at my heartstrings as much as the rendition of Kit Chan’s Home by kids.

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This is the only copy I could find. The original seems to have been flagged.

The kids must be gangly teenagers or young adults now. I wonder if they know how important their rendition was to the Singapore “diaspora” and Singaporeans overseas.

Now I have a new favourite Home video and this one is an #SG50 effort by StarHub.

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It is particularly meaningful because it was performed by people who are typically at the periphery of our society. There were kids and adults from welfare homes, homes for the disabled, halfway houses, homes for the elderly, the association for the deaf, and the association for the visually handicapped.

Instead of the usual nostalgic look back, this video paints us as we are now. But it also hints at the hope that we can be more inclusive and accepting of those that do not fit the norm. After all, what is normal when you realize how special everyone is?

So I reiterate the message poignantly stated at the end with People’s Park as the background. Here’s to the most special place in the world. Home.

Bonus video: If we are going to look beyond the now and into how to build the next 50 years, we should get inputs from our future, our kids.

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Bonus paragraph: These videos move people and fulfill a national agenda, all without a central committee. Decentralization works if you learn to trust smart, passionate people.

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