History buffs, read on. I have a new tidbit for you. Singapore radio stations broadcasted a new recording of the country’s national anthem on Tuesday (Dec 3) as part of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the anthem, the national flag and the state crest.
It was played at 11.20 am on all Mediacorp, Singapore Press Holdings, SAFRA radio stations and public on the steps of the National Gallery Singapore.
The new rendition is performed by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and contains minute changes to tempo so it’s five seconds shorter. But more importantly, it’s recorded with better equipment for a clearer and brighter tone.
Majulah Singapura, meaning “Onward Singapore” was originally composed by Encik Zubir Said in 1958 as the anthem for the City Council to commemorate the opening of a refurbished Victoria Theatre
The composer was the then music director for Cathay-Keris Film Productions and in his oral history interview, he recollected that he was approached to pen the piece by then-Mayor Ong Eng Guan through an intermediary.
In 1959, the song was chosen as the island’s anthem when it achieved self-governance. When Singapore gained independence in 1965, Majulah Singapura was formally selected as Singapore’s national anthem.
By law, the anthem must be sung with Malay lyrics, the national language of Singapore, but there are authorised translations of the lyrics of the anthem in Singapore’s three other official languages: English, Mandarin and Tamil.
Singapore’s other state symbols, the flag and crest, were also originated on that day before a crowd of some 25,000 at the Padang. In 1959, there was a telephone service people could call to hear the national anthem. Now, that’s pretty cool.
Upon independence in 1965, the Majulah Singapura became the national anthem of the Republic of Singapore. The version we hear today is a 2001 rearrangement.
To listen to the new recording of the national anthem, and view more details of the record, click here.
“Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung”
[“You should hold up the sky of the land where you live”].
Oral history interview with Encik Zubir Said
by the National Archives of Singapore, 1984.
There is also a recording by artist Ramli Sarip as a creative project based off his live performance at National Day 2019. You can watch the video on Youtube below:
It’s separate from the official version. The video was shot at Star auditorium and has people from various communities in it including queer Paralympian Theresa Goh.
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