Coronavirus Pandemic

Violinist's rendition of Home strikes a chord

The student serving stay-home notice says song is a tribute to workers fighting Covid-19

Ms Jaz Loh, who returned to Singapore from England last week, is serving her mandatory 14-day stay-home notice at the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa. PHOTO: COURTESY OF JAZ LOH
MS JAZ LOH, a dentistry student and violinist. She played Home at the balcony of her room at the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa on Monday PHOTO: MADHURA RAO

As people applauded the efforts of those on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus at 8pm on Monday from doors and windows across Singapore, a lone violinist on the balcony of the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa played the sweet strains of unofficial national anthem Home.

The two-minute long video of the violinist - posted on the hotel's Facebook page - has since made the rounds on social media, garnering more than 43,000 views, and has been shared by the likes of former foreign minister George Yeo.

Student Jaz Loh, 22, is behind the heart-warming gesture.

She is serving out her mandatory 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) at the hotel, along with other returning Singaporeans.

The third-year dentistry student at Newcastle University in England returned on Thursday last week with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Singapore Airlines.

"I feel it's a song with a lot of meaning, and one that everyone would recognise and relate to," says Ms Loh, who has been playing the violin since she was five years old.

"For Singaporeans abroad, the song brings us a sense of comfort and familiarity while being in a foreign country."

The reaction from the public has been unexpected and overwhelming.

Netizen Tien Goh was among those who commented, saying: "Personally, I really like this song very much."

She says she feels emotional every time she hears the song. "Together, we will get through this. #SGUnited"

Ms Loh says: "I took out my violin to play as a tribute to the workers and to entertain my fellow SHN friends, and also because I've been cooped up here for a few days, but I really did not expect it to blow up like that."

It was also to send the message to Singaporeans "that the least they can do is stay home".

She adds: "As a young person, I had the perception that we're not susceptible to this virus - but this virus doesn't care about your race, your age or your gender.

"We are asked to do our part and stay home to stop this virus from spreading. It's nothing compared with what the front-line workers are doing for us, selflessly putting themselves at risk every day."

Ms Loh is no stranger to music. Her older sibling plays the violin professionally, while two other siblings play the piano and cello recreationally.

Ms Loh had performed at the ChildAid concert in 2012. The concert raises funds for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, both of which aid students from low-income families.

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Her rendition of Home was inspired by a man serving SHN at the hotel, who has been playing the Chinese flute from his balcony.

"He does it every evening at around 6pm, and everyone comes out to watch him play and claps for him. We may not be at home, but it brings out the kampung spirit," she says.

With several days left to go of their isolation, a collaboration might be in the works. Says Ms Loh: "I posted a video of the uncle on my Instagram and a lot of people have asked me to do a duet with him. Who knows what might come out of it these next few days?"

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2020, with the headline Violinist's rendition of Home strikes a chord. Subscribe