National Day songs: How to strike a chord with citizens

While it is true that the National Day songs in recent years have been more misses than hits, I am still puzzled by the National Day Parade organising committee's decision to do away with one this year ("No new National Day song for this year's parade"; Thursday).

The committee's chairman, Colonel Wong Yu Han, said his team wanted a parade that is "deeply engaging".

To me, there is nothing more engaging than inviting budding local composers and singers to write and sing a National Day song.

Getting local talent to write the songs in a competition, and then inviting Singaporeans to choose the one they like best, will engage citizens.

At a time when the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth is pushing hard for the arts scene to flourish, does the move by the parade organising committee imply that our pool of music talent is either not big enough or just not good enough to compose a decent National Day song?

I do not think there is a lack of budding talent here.

As this year's parade creative director Dick Lee should know, music talent who are just starting out need a break to make their name in the arts scene. What better way for them to do so than on the nation's biggest stage and being part of Singapore's history?

Donovan Chee

This article was published on May 17 in The Straits Times.

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