Merdeka Generation: Drum major's big part in helping shape Singapore's arts and education movement

Mr Syed (front row, fourth from right) as a drummer in Hua Yi Primary School during the 1960s.
Veteran percussionist Syed Ibrahim Haja Mohideen among some of his musical instruments. Nowadays, the community arts educator uses music to empower marginalised communities such as at-risk youth, refugees and disaster victims. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Veteran percussionist Syed Ibrahim Haja Mohideen among some of his musical instruments. Nowadays, the community arts educator uses music to empower marginalised communities such as at-risk youth, refugees and disaster victims.
Mr Syed (front row, fourth from right) as a drummer in Hua Yi Primary School during the 1960s. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SYED IBRAHIM HAJA MOHIDEEN

While the pioneer leaders were the architects of Singapore, everyday heroes helped build society here. This is another story of our Merdeka Generation, those born in the 1950s who lived and persevered through a tumultuous period.

As a child, Syed Ibrahim Haja Mohideen had a habit of hitting pots, pans and tables at home, to the thumping tunes of Tamil songs playing on the radio in the background.

His enthusiasm, however, did not mean that he never missed a beat. But for young Syed, it sowed the seeds of a lifelong career in the arts and music.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2019, with the headline 'Drum major'. Print Edition | Subscribe