New version of National Anthem to be unveiled tomorrow

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the One Community Fiesta family sports carnival at Jurong Lake Gardens, on Dec 1, 2019.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - The National Anthem "Majulah Singapura" (meaning Onward Singapore) will be updated as part of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of Singapore's national symbols.

The new version is a rendition by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said on Sunday morning (Dec 1).

It will be revealed on Tuesday as part of a commemoration ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the Anthem, the national flag and the state crest, Ms Fu said on the sidelines of the One Community Fiesta family sports carnival held at Jurong Lake Gardens.

This will be the first update to the National Anthem since the current version was recorded in 2001.

It was composed in 1958 by the late Zubir Said. After Singapore attained self-governance in 1959, the song was adapted slightly and introduced as Singapore's National Anthem on Dec 3, 1959.

Ms Fu said the adoption of the national symbols that year was an important moment for Singapore as a young nation, and the symbols are an anchor of Singaporeans' national identity.

"I think 60 years on, Singaporeans are wearing the flag proudly. They are singing the Anthem proudly," she said.

"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 in reference to the ongoing 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."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth said the new rendition is based on the 2001 musical arrangement, which was arranged by composer and Cultural Medallion winner, Mr Phoon Yew Tien.

Bukit Batok East resident Lee Yuen Mei, 76, said the National Anthem brings back memories of her youth.

She hopes the new version will not be too different from the current one.

"I've been singing the National Anthem since I was in school," said Madam Lee.

"It makes me feel very proud to be a Singaporean."

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.