National Day song Home celebrates 20th anniversary: Which rendition is your favourite?

Kit Chan sings the now classic National Day song, Home at the 2010 National Day Parade. This year marks the 20th year since the song, composed by Dick Lee, was first performed by Chan at the 1998 NDP. SCREENSHOT: YOUTUBE/PERFECTGROUP
Ms Novabelle Ng's Cantonese rendition of Home had over 277,000 views and 5,500 shares as of 5pm on Tuesday. SCREENSHOT: FACEBOOK/NOVABELLE

SINGAPORE - Two decades after its release, many Singaporeans will still remember the initial words of the song's chorus: "This is home, truly, where I know I must be".

This year marks the 20th year since the National Day Parade (NDP) song Home, composed by Dick Lee, was first performed by Kit Chan at the 1998 NDP. The song also has a version sung in Mandarin by Chan.

Over the years and in recent months, the now well-loved classic has been performed countless times and with different spins, including medleys, parodies, and most recently, even a Cantonese version.

Here are some of the different renditions over the years:


Ms Novabelle Ng, 27, did not expect her video to go viral. "It's blowing my mind!", she said.

Her Cantonese rendition of Home certainly has mind-blowing figures. Over 277,000 views and 5,500 shares as of 5pm on Tuesday.

The marketing professional told The Straits Times that while a lot of people her age are not into dialects, she had grown up listening to Cantonese songs due to her father.

"My dad was a big inspiration. He listened to Cantonese songs a lot, and so naturally I did as well. My idols were Hong Kong singers," she recalled fondly.

Her father, Mr Lawrence Ng, 57, helped to write the Cantonese lyrics for the song. The businessman is a self-described Cantopop freak.

"So when my daughter asked me to help her with this, I had to do my best," he said.

Their efforts have been widely recognised, with film studio MM2 Entertainment Hong Kong and even the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta sharing the video on their Facebook pages.

"In today's local music scene, many musicians are moving away from singing in dialect. It is truly heart-warming to see people being so receptive," Ms Ng added.

A fun fact: Home's original singer Kit Chan was the third of four daughters of a Cantonese family.


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These health professionals show that they can strum a guitar as adeptly as they take care of patients.

The video by the Ministry of Health's Care To Go Beyond campaign has over 78,800 views on YouTube since it was first posted in July, and was later shared by several medical institutions including Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the Singapore Cancer Society on their Facebook pages.

It features 17 nurses from the public and private healthcare sectors, including community care and students from the nursing schools.

Different National Day songs have been arranged together, including favourites such as One People, One Nation, One Singapore and We Will Get There - another Dick Lee creation first sung by Stefanie Sun for NDP 2002.

Since Nurses' Day is also celebrated in the same month as the nation's birthday, the Nurses' Anthem With You is also weaved into the medley.

The highlight of the video is of course, Home. The chorus to the song can be heard about 48 seconds into the video.


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This star-studded remake of the classic involved 39 local artistes, including Taufik Batisah, JJ Lin, Stefanie Sun and Tanya Chua.

In the video, Home's composer Lee starts with the opening verses of the song, followed by Chan, while accompanied by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

The special music video was commissioned by the Ministry of Defence in 2011.

The Straits Times reported in February that year that Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean unveiled the piece, at a Total Defence Day event at the National Library Building.

Mr Teo, who was also defence minister at the time, also launched a Click for Charity campaign in which a dollar was donated to the Community Chest's beneficiaries for every download of the new music video at its website.


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Who said Singaporeans don't have a sense of humour?

This unofficial but hilarious parody of the hit single was first posted on video-sharing site YouTube in 2012, and has over 150,000 views and 1,200 likes.

The video is clearly the work of an amateur, created by splicing together graphics including Web screenshots and photos taken from citizen journalism site Stomp.

Its tune is unmistakably familiar, but the modified lyrics perhaps even more so - albeit in another way.

The song's tongue-in-cheek words poke fun at well-known Singaporean woes, including population growth, national service, and immigration.

In the end, the song's central message is echoed by its change to Lee's original lyrics: "Is this home?"


Since her 1998 debut, Kit Chan has returned to the NDP stage a few times to perform Home.

On Aug 9, 2010, to the crowd's cheers, the spotlight shone on Chan at the Padang.

She was dressed in a patriotic red-and-white dress, perched on top of an elevated stage shaped in the likeness of the crescent moon and five stars.

As her voice carried the chorus of the song, performers dressed in the two colours start to stream in, gathering around the stage.

Eventually the whole stadium lights up: revealing a formation of the completed Singapore flag to thunderous applause.

It would be five years later before Chan, now 45, would reprise the song synonymous with her name - for Singapore's golden jubilee parade.

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Chan noted at the time that it would probably be her last NDP performance.

"I've thought about it. I've done it from 1998 till now and there's no better ending than on the golden jubilee," she said.


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You can have a thousand and one covers, remixes, and versions, but nothing beats the original, as they say.

In an interview with ST recently, the choirmaster for the combined school choir at the 1998 NDP recalled her unforgettable reaction when the choir joined Chan to perform Home at the National Stadium.

"I'd conducted other choirs at NDP before, but this was when I got goosebumps. I was so touched," said Mrs Jessie Ho-Tan.

Chan said in 2015, the year when Singapore celebrated 50 years of independence, that she has never tired of the song.

"I do get emotional while singing it. It evokes a slightly different feel from my other songs. Home is just a song that I feel is shared with everyone," she said.

At the time it was launched however, the government's feedback was less than warm.

The song's composer recalled that Singapore was in a recession at the time, The Business Times reported in June.

"There was actually a very strong reaction against the first line 'Whenever I am feeling low'. Half the committee didn't like that line; they said: 'Why is it so negative?' But it actually finally went through because it was a fact!," Lee said.

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Home also has a Chinese version, also sung by Chan. Another fun fact: Her parents used to own a provision shop in Chinatown, which was featured in the original music video for Home.

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