From ‘Netizens hit out at a video of NDP song’, 15 June 2012, article by Fabian Koh, TNP
A VIDEO recording of a new National Day Parade (NDP) song for the marching contingent has drawn flak after it was posted online on Wednesday. Meant to introduce the key members of the NDP 2012 Parade and Ceremony committee, it featured them singing the song A Nation’s March.
But their performance has drawn brickbats for being out of tune, unprofessional and, in the words of some critical netizens, “an epic fail”. Some feel that the performance was unacceptably below par.
Despite the brickbats, there are those who feel the idea of making a video to motivate the marching contingent and help them learn the song was a refreshing one by the committee, and applauded the efforts put in.
Although intended to ‘introduce’ the key members of the NDP committee, not a single person was namechecked in the video. Being ‘unprofessional’ aside, most of these guys sound like they have never even stepped into a SAFRA karaoke room. But perhaps the lack of quality in army personnel singing could have been compensated with enthusiasm and patriotic verve, which was clearly lacking in the video. It’s OK to sing badly and laugh about it afterwards; no one expects a crooner out of a colonel. However if you want to dish out a propaganda war tune in all seriousness, at least do it with gusto and lung power like you would actually die for the nation, with fists clenched, not swaying like a conductor for some children’s woodwind orchestra. No one’s going to march to this believing they have something to fight for if you guys struggle and wince your way through this like a vegetarian walking into an abbatoir.
The chorus has the following rhyme pair: We are Singapore, a nation we ADORE. The sweet cuddly word ‘adore’ doesn’t fit into a war cry. It’s like putting a teddy bear in a tank, or getting the New Zealand All Blacks to do pirouettes. If they wanted something to rhyme with Singapore, they could have chosen ‘…and we will GIVE IT ALL’, ‘our nation and MORE’, or ‘a nation WITHOUT WAR’. So this could be one of the reasons why ex-Committee chief Colonel Nelson Yau quit suddenly in March this year: He saw the lyrics sheet for this song. Maybe he also found out that the Facebook page for this year’s ‘Loving Singapore, Our Home’ slogan is NDPeeps. Anyone not familiar with teenage slang would think this year’s parade will be a hardcore voyeur fest.
What’s this song for then? Cyberpioneer reports that A Nation’s March is the background music for the Commitment to Defence March, or to be hip about it, (C2D). It also includes student uniformed groups like the Boys and Girls brigade as you can see from the video where no one opens their mouths (i.e the best bits), which explains the ‘contemporary soft pop’ angle to dilute an otherwise triumphant march which may be too harsh and overpowering for kids. Someone needs to remix this pronto, something more befitting of an industrial, state-of-the-art, military machine to showcase our might and scare our enemies, not tickle them. Skrillex would be ideal.
Perhaps it’s unfair to blame the singers or the director here. As the latter, you wouldn’t want to order a bunch of rugged army officers to do re-takes or sing like they have over-sized testicles without having to ‘knock it down’ right in the middle of the studio. If anything, this clip and it’s ‘Making Of’ video just shows that army men (and woman) can be just as camera-shy, awkward and atonal as most of us. At least the ‘Sing-Gah-Pore’ enunciation wasn’t so obvious as one would expect from army regulars, though I think this would sell better if they had a Hokkien version. Still, a song to accompany a march makes more sense than a Lady Gaga rip-off to promote a ‘fun pack’. Thank God no one raps in here too.
Since no one put captions on the video, I thought I’d take a shot at identifying some of the more prominent singers myself, using this very helpful list from a forum.