Singapore’s ‘Majulah Singapura’ (Onward Singapore) national anthem is being updated as part of the celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the country’s national symbols.
The new rendition will be done by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, said the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu on the sidelines of the One Community Fiesta carnival at Jurong Lake Gardens on Sunday (1 December).
The new version will be revealed on Tuesday (3 December) as part of the ceremony to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the anthem, state crest and flag.
This is the first time the national anthem is receiving an update since the current version was recorded 18 years ago in 2001 which was arranged by composer Cultural Medallian winner Mr Phoon Tew Tien. The new rendition will follow the 2001 arrangement.
The original anthem was composed by the late Zubir Said in 1958 before being adapted slightly in 1959 after the country attained self-governance. It was introduced as Singapore’s National Anthem on 3 December 1959.
This was an important moment for Singapore as a young nation, said Ms Fu, noting that the symbols form the anchor of the country’s national identity.
She said, “I think 60 years on, Singaporeans are wearing the flag proudly. They are singing the Anthem proudly.”
“Right now, our Team Singapore athletes are wearing the flag on their sleeves, proudly representing Singapore, and if they win, they will be on the podium and the National Anthem will be played,” she added, referring to the SEA Games in Manila.
“Listening to the Anthem, whether you’re in Singapore or when you’re overseas, brings along the emotions of being one with one another and with the country.”
Speaking to The Straits Times, 76-year-old Lee Yuen Mei who resides in Bukit Batok East said that the current rendition of the national anthem brings back memories of her youth, adding that she hopes the new version will not differ too much.
Netizens were more vocal about their disagreement with this move. Comments on AsiaOne’s Facebook page were filled with people who questioned the need for a new version of the national anthem and lamented the loss of Singaporean identity and legacy:
Others wondered if the money spent on coming up with a new rendition would be better spent on more important things, while one person questioned how changing the anthem would help make lives better:
However, there were a couple of people who pointed out that the lyrics of the anthem will say the same and that it’s only the rendition that’s new. One person highlighted that there have been many renditions of the national anthem. The other netizen also noted that it’s just the music that will be different, but conceded that it is “not really necessary to pay for such extra thing”.