On Thursday (18 March), the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth invited Mr Joey Mendoza to substantiate his claims that he wrote the song “We Can Achieve” in 1983, before “Count on Me, Singapore” was created in 1986.
In its Facebook post, MCCY said: “Given that the two songs, and their lyrics, are practically identical, and that we hold the copyright to “Count on Me, Singapore”, we are puzzled by this claim.”
This is in relation to the ongoing plagiarism fiasco where the song, “We Can Achieve” has shown up in multiple videos online with the lyrics being almost word-for-word to the 1986 Singaporean version.
The Indian version simply changes all mentions of “Singapore” to “India” or “Mother India”.
Multiple versions of the song had been uploaded online sometime between July last year and January this year, but one version was uploaded on YouTube in August last year.
In the credits, the song was attributed to an individual named Joey Mendoza and the company that uploaded it is was named Pauline Communications.
The Indian public relations (PR) firm has come forward to say that it had bought the rights to the music and lyrics of local patriotic song ‘Count on Me Singapore’ from a man who claimed to own it.
MCCY reiterated in its post that the Government of Singapore holds the copyright to the music and lyrics of “Count on Me, Singapore”, ad noted the acknowledgement of Pauline Communications that the Indian version was substantially copied from Singapore’s version.
The Ministry also noted the PR firm’s clarification that it was unaware that “Count on Me, Singapore” had been Singapore’s national song since 1986.
The Ministry continued, “Whilst “Count on Me, Singapore” is one of our most beloved national songs, we are also happy that it seems to have been well appreciated in India, with the video showing teachers and students in a school performing the song, and expressing their love for their own country.
“We do not think any ill will was intended either by Pauline India or the school, and have accepted the apology.”
However, Mr Mendoza said in a statement to the media on Wednesday (17 March) that while he recognised that there are similarities between both songs except for the words “India” and “Mother India” in place of “Singapore”, he thought it could be a coincidence.
“There was no way I or the other composer could know that things would look so similar. (And no INTERNET ACCESS) With due respect to the other composer there are so many phrases that musically were connected and it could be all coincidental,” Mr Mendoza said.
He also said that he only found out about ‘Count On Me Singapore’ a few days ago