Citizen-led new music video for National Anthem

A new music video for Majulah Singapura has been produced to mark the anthem's 60th anniversary.

Based on the rendition by veteran singer-songwriter Ramli Sarip at this year's National Day Parade (NDP), the video features Mr Ramli performing alongside a diverse group of 24 Singaporeans.

They include the country's first female Olympian Tang Pui Wah, comic writer-artist Sonny Liew, Paralympian Theresa Goh, former Nominated Member of Parliament Kuik Shiao-Yin, and rapper and music producer Danial Bawthan, better known as Wheelsmith, who is a wheelchair user.

Composed in 1958 by Mr Zubir Said, Majulah Singapura officially became Singapore's National Anthem on Dec 3, 1959.

The music video is a ground-up initiative separate from the new recording of the anthem by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra that was broadcast on all radio stations at 11.20am yesterday as part of a commemoration ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the anthem, the national flag and the state crest.

The video project took two months and was mostly funded by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth's Our Singapore Fund, which supports citizen-led, ground-up projects.

Mr Ramli's rendition of Majulah Singapura had drawn both praise and criticism when videos of him at this year's NDP rehearsals became public. While some took issue with the sombre tone, many praised the singer for putting a unique and soulful spin on the anthem.

The team behind the new video includes creative producer Benjamin Tan, 30, who was the show producer for NDP this year and last year.

Mr Tan, who will also be the creative producer for next year's NDP, said: "While working on the NDP, I became more aware of how powerful the lyrics were and how the song is timeless and resonant. I felt that it was a pity if we didn't do a proper music video for this version of Majulah Singapura."

Film director Alvin Lee, 28, said the video is in black and white as an elegant nod to the past.

Mr Tan added: "Everyone in the video is looking up but at different directions. This symbolises how we all have different ideals and different notions of progress, but at the end of the day, we are all Singaporeans."

He said the cast that appears with Mr Ramli in the video includes "everyday people doing wonderful and extraordinary work". Among them are Aids activists Iris Verghese Sim and Calvin Tan, criminal lawyer Josephus Tan, father-and-son busking duo Mashruddin Saharuddin and Nizaruddin, pre-teen environmental activist Oliver Chua and Interfaith Youth Circle co-founder Dhaniah Suhana.

Many of the talents behind the scenes were involved in past NDPs. The video's creative director is award-winning film-maker Royston Tan (film and multimedia director for this year's NDP), while the video's creative consultant is playwright Jean Tay (scriptwriter for NDP 2015, last year and this year).

The music is directed by this year's NDP music director Sydney Tan, and includes traditional instruments such as an erhu played by musician Darrel Xin and the tabla played by musician Mohamed Noor.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2019, with the headline 'Citizen-led new music video for National Anthem'. Print Edition | Subscribe