Arts and Culture
‘Count on Me Singapore’, ‘Stand Up for Singapore’, ‘We are Singapore’, and ‘One People, One Nation, One Singapore’ are just a selection of some of the early and most popular National Day Parade Songs in Singapore in the 1980s. In the months leading up to National Day, every child in every local school would rigorously practise the year’s chosen song in their class times, and in some schools the song would be broadcasted through centralised loudspeakers. The song would also be frequently aired on radio to the public. Common themes found in these songs include togetherness, overcoming hardship while building the nation, striving together to pursue dreams, standing proud, helping others and promoting genuine solidarity. The nation is viewed as family; despite the different races, cultures and religions that exist, Singapore is regarded as a unified whole. The citizen is encouraged to put society before self. In the late 1980s and 1990s, a major national campaign was underway to work out a common state ideology. To reinforce these ideologies, a campaign titled “Operation Singalong” which encouraged community singing was introduced, and National Day Theme Songs were created and popularised through schools and through multiple national radio stations, including different ethnic radio stations. In this paper, I will investigate radio broadcasting strategies and examine how these National Day Songs, through participatory performance (Turino 2008), have helped to instil racial harmony, unity and pride in Singapore from the 1980s to the present day.