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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. 

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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