Putting the NS experience into song

Members of the Singapore Pocket Opera Theatre (from left) Jeremy Koh, Charmaine Tan and Evelyn Ang performing NS50 tribute song Did You Ever Wonder Why yesterday. It was composed by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra's composer-in-residence Eric Watson
Members of the Singapore Pocket Opera Theatre (from left) Jeremy Koh, Charmaine Tan and Evelyn Ang performing NS50 tribute song Did You Ever Wonder Why yesterday. It was composed by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra's composer-in-residence Eric Watson (far right).ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

"From my father's time till now / for generations still to come / Forevermore, we'll be a part / a part of Singapore".

These lyrics, from the National Service 50 (NS50) tribute song, resonate with the president of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF), Mr Douglas Foo, 48, as the eldest of his four sons prepares to enlist for national service next year.

The chairman of local sushi chain Sakae Holdings, who holds the NS rank of captain in G3 Army, said he believes his eldest child will aspire to become an officer too.

"He used to be the chairman of the robotics club in school, so I think he will do well if given the chance to take on leadership positions in the military," Mr Foo told The Straits Times.

The three-minute song, Did You Ever Wonder Why, was performed yesterday at the Singapore Armed Forces Combined Rededication Ceremony for the East Zone.

The song was commissioned by the SMF and composed by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra's composer-in-residence Eric Watson.

Mr Watson, who wrote the lyrics as well, said: "The song is a distillation of all the experiences I have heard from national servicemen and their families over the years."

He wanted to get across the sense of pride in serving that he found among operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen).

For NSman Harman Salime, 35,the lyrics that mentioned Pulau Tekong brought back memories.

"Recruit days were the best. Basic Military Training (BMT) is something that everyone will go through, and the bonds with my BMT mates were the strongest," said Mr Harman.

ST VIDEO

Watch a performance of the NS50 tribute song. str.sg/4aiQ

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Putting the NS experience into song'. Print Edition | Subscribe