Majulah Singapura - 2019 recording

From Wiki.sg
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Over 40 Singaporeans attended the 2019 ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the National Symbols. Screengrab from YouTube.

On 3 December 2019, a new recording of the Singapore National Anthem was unveiled to the public at the National Gallery of Singapore. During the flag-raising ceremony, the anthem was played to a crowd consisting of Yuhua Secondary School students, SAF Veterans’ League, national athletes as well as youth leaders and inspectors from the Youth Corps and National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC).[1][2][3]

Majulah Singapura - Official revision[edit | edit source]

Singapore's national symbols were first unveiled on 3rd December 1959. Photo from National Archives Singapore.

Official public release (3 December 2019)[edit | edit source]

On 3rd December 2019 at 11.20 am, the revised anthem was broadcasted over all the local radio stations (Mediacorp, Singapore Press Holdings and So Drama! Entertainment).[4][5] The revised anthem replaced the older 2001 version, commemorating the 60th anniversary of Singapore’s National Symbols (the National Anthem, National Coat of Arms and National Flag).[6]


Grace Fu (Minister for Culture, Community and Youth) announced the release on 1 December at the One Community Fiesta family sports festival.[7] In tandem with the ceremony, MCCY collaborated with 5 local designers to release limited edition memorabilia. The project titled 1959 features clothing, fashion accessories and tableware with designs inspired by the National Symbols.[8][9][10]

National significance of 3rd December - National Symbols & installation of Yusof Ishak[edit | edit source]

Singapore’s National Symbols were unveiled on 3rd December 1959, 6 months after Singapore proclaimed self-governance.[11] The date marked a significant epoch in Singapore’s history with the installation of Yusof bin Ishak as Singapore’s first Malayan Head of State (Yang di-Pertuan Negara) in the City Council Chamber.[12]


Over 25,000 people reportedly gathered at the Padang and Queen Elizabeth Walk to witness the event. Following a 17-gun salute, the National Anthem was played and sung for the first time at 11.20 am.[13] A telephone service was made available to the public to call in and listen to the national anthem.[14] The ceremony kick-started the National Loyalty Week celebrations which spanned from 3rd to 10th December 1959.[15]


In the words of Chang Hwee Nee, the Chief Executive of the National Heritage Board:

“When the symbols were introduced 60 years ago, they marked a new beginning for the people of Singapore, a coming together of different races, different religions, under one flag and one destiny”.[16]

Main changes[edit | edit source]

The only known recording of the original 1958 Majulah Singapura (pictured). Photo by the National Museum of Singapore.

The 2019 revised anthem retains the lyrics and arrangement in the F major key from the 2001 version.[17][18] The following are the changes in the 2019 revision:[19]

2001 2019
Audio quality - Improved audio quality (48 kHz/ 24bit)
Orchestra conductor (Singapore Symphony Orchestra) Lim Yau Joshua Tan
Choir conductor Jennifer Tham Eudenice Palaruan
Choir(s) Singapore Youth Choir
  • Singapore Symphony Chorus
  • Singapore Symphony Youth Choir
  • Singapore Symphony Children’s Choir

Apart from the above, the soloist role (sung by Jaccintha Abisheganadeen) was removed. The 2019 National Anthem can be downloaded here.

Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Act[edit | edit source]

According to this Act, the following conditions must be observed when arranging the National Anthem (Part IV, 13):[20]

  • The National Anthem shall not be part of another composition or medley
  • The complete tune and official lyrics must be preserved
  • The lyrics of the National Anthem shall not be sung in translation

Individuals found guilty of knowingly performing the National Anthem in defiance of the above conditions can be fined up to S$1,000.[21]

Majulah Singapura - Ramli Sarip's rendition[edit | edit source]

CNA uploaded the "music video" on 2 December 2019. Screengrab from YouTube.

Music video[edit | edit source]

On 2 December 2019, Channel News Asia and The Straits Times released a music video for Majulah Singapura on YouTube. The music video featured veteran Malay rock singer, Ramli Sarip singing alongside notable Singaporeans like Olympian Tang Pui Wah, comic artist Sonny Liew, HIV program coordinator Calvin Tan and disabled rapper Wheelsmith.[22][23] Traditional musical instruments such as the Tabla and Erhu were used in the music video.


The music video was arranged by Dr Sydney Tan and partially funded by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY).[24]

Criticism from Lim Tean[edit | edit source]

A screengrab of Lim Tean's video. Retrieved from Facebook.

Peoples Voice leader, Lim Tean, heavily criticized the monochromatic video, likening it to a funeral song with the hashtag #PAPFuneralSong. Lim Tean expressed his grievances through various Facebook posts. He stated that the government had failed to consult the public about the new national anthem.[25][26][27][28] In his own words:

“With the greatest respect to the SSO and the artistes involved, this rendition has destroyed a stirring, optimistic song that embodied our young Nation and her Peoples’ struggle, and their hopes for the future. To me it sounds like a funeral dirge and is full of pessimism. It sounds like one big LAMENT!”

Public reception[edit | edit source]

Due to the overlapping releases of the official revised anthem and the music video, many Singaporeans misconstrued Ramli Sarip’s rendition as the new national anthem. The rendition was poorly received with comments stating the music did not fit as a national anthem.


An online petition with the hashtag, #notmyanthem was created to petition the removal of the music video.[29]

References / Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. Fresh recording of Singapore national anthem makes debut”. Today. December 4, 2019. Accessed on  4 December 2019.
  2. CNA. “New recording of national anthem Majulah Singapura unveiled”. YouTube. December 3, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  3. CNA. “New recording of national anthem to mark 60th anniversary of Singapore’s state symbols”. YouTube. December 3, 2019.
  4. Nabilah Awang. “New rendition of Majulah Singapura to be broadcast on Dec 3”. Today. December 1, 2013. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  5. Teng, Yong Ping. “Citizens’ project releases music video marking 60th anniversary of ‘Majulah Singapura’”. Yahoo. December 3, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  6. Kurohi, Rei . “New recording of Singapore’s National Anthem makes public debut”. The Straits Times. December 3, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  7. Nabilah Awang. “New rendition of Majulah Singapura to be broadcast on Dec 3”. Today. December 1, 2013. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  8. Tatiana Mohamad Rosli. “Updated National Anthem recording makes debut, shows more nuances”. The New Paper. December 4, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  9. Our_sg. “Release of collaboration patches by pew pew patches”. Instagram. December 3, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  10. 1959”. Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  11. Kwang, Kevin and Deborah Wong. "60th anniversary of self-government: Singapore’s pre-independence 'national day'". Channel News Asia. June 3, 2019. Accessed on 5 December 2019.
  12. halimahyacob. “60th anniversary of the unveiling of Singapore’s national symbols”. Instagram. December 3, 2019. Accessed on 5 December 2019.
  13. “Joyous Week Begins”. The Straits Times. December 3, 1959. Accessed on 4 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  14. Early Version of Majulah Singapura performed by the Singapore Military forces Band, 1959”. National Archives of Singapore. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  15. “THE FIRST NIGHT…”. The Straits Times. December 4, 1959. Accessed on 4 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  16. Fresh recording of Singapore national anthem makes debut”. Today. December 4, 2019. Accessed on  4 December 2019.
  17. Revised National Anthem video to be launched on National Day”. AsiaOne. August 8, 2012. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  18. Navene Elangovan. “Explainer: Clearing the confusion over the national anthem — what’s changed and what’s still the same?”. Today. December 4, 2019. Accessed on 5 December 2019.
  19. NATIONAL ANTHEM”. National Heritage Board. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  20. Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Rules”. Singapore Statutes Online. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  21. Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Rules”. Singapore Statutes Online. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  22. The Straits Times. “New music video for Majulah Singapura”. YouTube. December 2, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  23. CNA. “Ramli Sarip sings Singapore national anthem Majulah Singapura in new music video”. YouTube. December 2, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  24. Teng, Yong Ping. “Citizens’ project releases music video marking 60th anniversary of ‘Majulah Singapura’”. Yahoo. December 3, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  25. Lim Tean. “Comments by Lim Tean on 2019 National Anthem MV”. Facebook. December 2, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  26. Lim Tean. “Video of Lim Tean discussing his opinion on the 2019 National Anthem MV”. Facebook. December 2, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  27. Lim Tean. “Lim Tean stating grievances towards the 2019 National Anthem MV”. Facebook. December 3, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  28. Lim Tean. “Lim Tean stating grievances towards the National Anthem MV’. Facebook. December 3, 2019. Accessed on 4 December 2019.
  29. Darksiedluv. "Remove the Funeral Version of Majulah Singapura”. change.org. Accessed on 4 December 2019.