NDP 2019: Raw, gripping rendition of Majulah Singapura

Through his visceral and raw rendition of the National Anthem at the National Day Parade yesterday, 66-year-old local rock icon Ramli Sarip was trying to tell his story of a nation in song.
Through his visceral and raw rendition of the National Anthem at the National Day Parade yesterday, 66-year-old local rock icon Ramli Sarip was trying to tell his story of a nation in song.

His visceral and raw rendition of the National Anthem gripped the hearts of many who heard him sing during yesterday's National Day Parade.

And well it should have, for local rock icon Ramli Sarip was trying to tell his story of a nation in song.

"When I first sang Majulah Singapura (in 1959), I was seven years old and it was without understanding so many things," said Mr Ramli, 66.

"But so much has changed since then for me and Singapore. Now when I sing, the whole journey I am going through is Singapore's past, present and future."

Mr Ramli is a bona fide member of the Merdeka Generation, who with members of his former band Sweet Charity were pioneers of the Malay rock scene in the 1970s and 1980s.

"I remember I saw this Sarawak dance by the Dayak people at the celebration parade when Singapore joined Malaysia in 1963. It stuck in my mind," said Mr Ramli.

A JOURNEY THROUGH TIME

When I first sang Majulah Singapura (in 1959), I was seven years old and it was without understanding so many things. But so much has changed since then for me and Singapore. Now when I sing, the whole journey I am going through is Singapore's past, present and future.

LOCAL ROCK ICON RAMLI SARIP

"We sang Majulah Singapura then too. And to have the opportunity to sing it at this year's parade, it's a golden moment."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2019, with the headline 'Raw, gripping rendition of Majulah Singapura'. Print Edition | Subscribe