Better together

Singing their way down memory lane

Mr Hong Shao Xuan and Ms Pan Ying
Mr Hong Shao Xuan and Ms Pan YingST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Home-grown singers Pan Ying and Hong Shao Xuan, both 55, usually perform at events with fellow pioneers of Singapore's Mandarin indie folk music movement Xinyao.

That was why they found the experience of singing in the pre-parade segment of the National Day Parade (NDP) yesterday especially unique, due to the chance to meet and interact with performers from different cultural backgrounds.

Fellow performers included veteran entertainer Rahimah Rahim, 61, and singer-songwriter Farisha Ishak, 23, winner of the 2013 reality singing competition Final 1, giving the NDP a multi-ethnic feel.

"We now have a chance to introduce ourselves to them and make friends," said Ms Pan.

She and Mr Hong took the audience down memory lane yesterday with a breezy rendition of composer Liang Wern Fook's 1990 classic , Xin Jia Po Pai (Singapore Pie), which traverses three decades in the nation's history.

Ms Farisha, who also performed Malay songs familiar to many Singaporeans like Semoga Bahagia and Di Tanjong Katong yesterday, said the chance to sing solo at this year's NDP had been a "surreal" turn of events.

She said there was "great value" in performing alongside artists of different cultural backgrounds.


The parade is a very grand event. It's something that I've wanted to do since I watched the show on television at home more than a decade ago.

MR HONG SHAO XUAN, a home-grown singer who performed with Ms Pan Ying at the parade.

"We spend a lot of time off stage together and talk a lot about our different styles of singing (and the different vocal techniques required)...

"We definitely learnt a lot from one another and have a deeper appreciation of one another's craft and culture," she added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'Singing their way down memory lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe