This year’s National Day Parade theme song has more in common with the nasi lemak burger than you think. Both are well-loved, old-school local classics that after a modern-day makeover, have received even more love from Singaporeans.
The man behind a revamped ‘We Are Singapore’ is Charlie Lim, homegrown troubadour and Nathan Hartono's workout buddy who co-produces and performs the 1987 tune alongside Joanna Dong, Vandetta (aka Vanessa Fernandez), Aisyah Aziz, Shak’thiya Subramaniamm, Thelioncityboy and the ITE show choir.
And it’s not like the 29-year-old singer simply rearranged the original song (written by a non-Singaporean, no less. Thank you Canadian ad exec Hugh Harrison!) like a Singapore Idol producer would for, say, retro week. He spiced it up with an all-new prelude that reflects how Singaporeans “look at things from a younger person’s perspective”, and the song opens with him raspily, poignantly crooning about how “all of my worries and all of my fears/begin to lose their weight/as I hold you near”. It’s part Ed Sheeran soulful, part Coldplay cool, and at the same time, makes us feel 100 per cent proud to be Singaporean. Did we mention how the song, when coupled with the music video’s kaleidoscopically quirky opening, also gives the song a few shades of hipster?
And it seems like a hipsterfied 'We Are Singapore' is the NDP song we've needed all along. People are lapping it up so much, we probably won’t be hearing many of the usual NDP song grouses this year. You know, like folks lamenting the fact that there hasn’t been any NDP song as truly catchy as Kit Chan’s Home from 1998. Okay, so it’s not like we’re demanding a revival of an NDP classic fave every year from now on. But wouldn’t a ‘Stand Up For Singapore’ remake be awesome?