Patriotic music videos celebrating heroes a hit

Singtel's music video, showing national para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong and two others, is sung by Sam Willows' Benjamin and Narelle Kheng. StarHub's National Day video features primary school pupils and honours war heroine Elizabeth Choy (banner) and two
StarHub’s National Day video features primary school pupils and honours war heroine Elizabeth Choy (banner) and two other women. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB/YOUTUBE
Singtel's music video, showing national para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong and two others, is sung by Sam Willows' Benjamin and Narelle Kheng. StarHub's National Day video features primary school pupils and honours war heroine Elizabeth Choy (banner) and two
Singtel’s music video, showing national para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong and two others, is sung by Sam Willows’ Benjamin and Narelle Kheng. PHOTO: SINGTEL
The National Day video produced by ITE College West students involved 101 staff, students and alumni singing River Song. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ FABRIC OF LIFE
The National Day video produced by ITE College West students involved 101 staff, students and alumni singing River Song. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ FABRIC OF LIFE

Singtel's National Day video chalks up over 6.5m views; StarHub's pulls in over 500,000

Music videos championing some of Singapore's lesser-known heroes - from wartime heroine Elizabeth Choy to modern-day para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong - have proved to be a huge hit online, pulling in millions of views.

Telcos StarHub and Singtel have both produced patriotic videos to mark National Day today, working with local schools and community organisations.

StarHub's video features more than 400 pupils and teachers from Radin Mas, Tanjong Katong and Xingnan primary schools singing 2002 National Day Parade theme song We Will Get There as they unveil a mural, banner and statue to honour three women pioneers from Singapore's early history.

The three women are Hajjah Fatimah, a 19th-century philanthropist and businesswoman; Checha Davies, a social worker and women's rights activist; and Elizabeth Choy, who helped to supply money, medicine and messages to prisoners-of-war in Changi Prison in Japanese-occupied Singapore during World War II.

Ms Mei Cheong, vice-president of brand and marketing communications at StarHub, said: "We realised that in the nation's historical narrative, the spotlight has often been on our Founding Fathers.

"So for this bicentennial year, we thought it would be good for a change to celebrate our Founding Mums too."

The video has pulled in more than 500,000 views on YouTube along with more than 1,100 shares on Facebook.

Meanwhile, a video launched last month by Singtel, which features the song In Return, sung by Benjamin Kheng and Narelle Kheng of local band The Sam Willows, has been watched more than 6.5 million times on YouTube.

The video features para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong, theatre arts practitioner Shaza Ishak and ortho-paedic surgeon and medical volunteer Kumaran Rasappan.

Singtel said its video pays tribute to Singaporeans who exemplify the spirit of giving back, whether it is by speaking up for the differently-abled and ethnic minorities or helping the less fortunate.

Ms Lian Pek, its vice-president for group strategic communications and brand, said: "We're vested in our customers, our employees, our partners and our larger community and this film is an expression of that long-term commitment."

Assistant Professor of Marketing Mansur Khamitov, of Nanyang Business School at Nanyang Technological University, who specialises in branding, said the telcos' videos aim to build a greater connection with local consumers who pride themselves on being Singaporean.

"The probability of such efforts backfiring tends to be quite low and hence can be considered a rather safe brand tactic," he said. "However, in part because of its increasing prevalence and popularity, such a tactic may be unable to break through the increasing amount of commercial clutter out there."

Meanwhile, eight ITE College West students released their own National Day-related video on Monday, featuring 101 staff, students and alumni singing River Song by local band Plainsunset.

The video was supported by the school and posted on its official Instagram account (@itecollege west) and the Fabric of Life account (@fabricoflifestory).

Ms Nur Syahfiqah Roszani, 19, who was in the team, said: "We chose the song by Plainsunset because the songwriter (lead singer Jonathan Chan) was inspired by the Singapore River and its skyline. We also wanted a song that is easy to listen to and sing along with."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2019, with the headline 'Patriotic music videos celebrating heroes a hit'. Print Edition | Subscribe