Home-grown musician Clement Chow, the original singer of Count On Me, Singapore, never expected "in a million years" that the song would take on a life of its own.
To Chow, the song, which was penned by Canadian copywriter Hugh Harrison in 1986, sounded more like a jingle."But it's not just a song now, it carries a national message. It's about how each of us can do our best and more, even if it sounds cheesy. It's about how we can do better with our families, and at work," said Chow, 54, who first performed the song in 1987.
At the NDP yesterday, people were up on their feet, singing ditties like Tamil folk song Munneru Valiba and stirring NDP tunes, such as this year's theme song, Our Singapore, by pop star JJ Lin.
Said Lin, 34: "It's not an easy song to sing as there are a lot of off beats. But the 'oh-oh-oh-oh' part is a point where everyone can sing along to. That's the most important part."
The parade's fifth chapter is also dedicated to Singaporean-ness, said NDP creative director Dick Lee. "It's about what makes us all Singaporean. We have Singlish, our unique language, tracks from TV themes and campaign songs... all these things that are idiosyncratic to us will make you smile," he said.
The parade's multimedia director, film-maker, Boo Junfeng, 31, said: "Whether in the way we speak or the way we've always grown up with public campaigns, I think it's great to be able to laugh at ourselves."
The Padang's performers were not the only stars of the hour.
About 600 performers from the People's Association PAssionArts Community Singing and Ukulele Network and the East Coast Choir belted out a medley of hits at the Floating Platform.
Local celebrities such as Ah Boys To Men actor Tosh Zhang, Mandopop singer Ferlyn Wong and hip-hop artist Shigga Shay also got the 25,000-strong crowd tapping along with their performances.
While they might not be part of the main Padang parade, they do not feel like they are a sideshow. Part-time customer service officer Siti Samiah Junid, 62, said with a smile: "At Padang, there are so many performances. But here, there's only us. That makes us a bit special. It's smaller here, so everybody looks at us."