10:54 | 12/08/2021 Print
|Photo Lyrics Translations|
With a stirring melody and lyrics that echo the enduring hope and spirit of Singaporeans for progress, the National Anthem, "Majulah Singapura" (meaning "Onward Singapore"), is a musical expression of Singapore's identity as a nation.
"Majulah Singapura" was composed in 1958 by the late Encik Zubir Said. Then Mayor of the City Council of Singapore, Mr Ong Eng Guan, approached Encik Zubir Said to write an official song for the City Council to commemorate the newly renovated Victoria Theatre. It was first played by the Singapore Chamber Ensemble. It was performed again on 3 December 1959 as Singapore's National Anthem.
Recounting his thoughts on writing the Anthem, Encik Zubir Said said:
The difficulty is in such a short melody, I have to put in all the words in very simple… it must be very simple, understandable for all the races in Singapore. So that takes long. Not the music but the words take long. I got to be very careful. So I consulted also an author in language, in Malay language so that I can do it in proper Malay language but not too deep and not too difficult.
|Born in Central Sumatra to a Minangkabau family, the late Encik Zubir Said (1907-1987) was a music composer for the Cathay-Keris Film Company when he was approached to pen an anthem for the City Council in 1958. |
In an interview in 1967, Encik Zubir Said said that he was inspired by the words "Majulah Singapura" near the foyer of the Victoria Theatre and wanted to capture the mood and heighten the feelings of the people of Singapore towards their country. He believed that one should be loyal to, and proud of the place one calls home.
Encik Zubir Said received no payment for writing the Anthem. But in 1963, he was conferred the Sijil Kemuliaan (Certificate of Honour) by the Singapore Government. In 1987, Encik Zubir Said received the ASEAN Cultural and Communications Award.
|Photo Fresh Sheet Music|
Mari kita rakyat Singapura
Sama-sama menuju bahagia
Cita-cita kita yang mulia
Marilah kita bersatu
Dengan semangat yang baru
Semua kita berseru
Latin Transliteration from the Chinese
Lai ba, Xinjiapo renmin,
Rang women gongtong xiang xingfu maijin;
Women chonggao de lixiang,
Yao shi Xinjiapo chenggong.
Lai ba, rang women yi xin de jingshen,
Tuanjie zai yiqi;
Women qisheng huanhu:
Qianjin ba, Xinjiapo!
Come, fellow Singaporeans
Let us progress towards happiness together
May our noble aspiration bring
Come, let us unite
In a new spirit
Let our voices soar as one
On 19 January 2001, a re-orchestrated version of "Majulah Singapura" was launched in order to make the anthem more accessible to all Singaporeans. It was re-arranged by local composer and Cultural Medallion winner, Mr Phoon Yew Tien, in the musical key of F. This arrangement was chosen as it was deemed "grander and more inspiring". It has remained the official version of the Anthem ever since.
In 2019, to commemorate the National Symbols’ 60th anniversary, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) re-recorded the Anthem. It retained Encik Zubir Said’s original lyrics and Mr Phoon Yew Tien’s arrangement, recognising the Anthem’s enduring and unifying qualities. The updated recording is of a higher quality, allowing Singaporeans to better appreciate the nuances of the music arrangement, especially in larger venues and modern sound systems.
|Rules on performing the national anthem |
On 30 November 1959, the Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Ordinance took effect to regulate the performance of the national anthem. The objective of the regulations is to ensure that the national symbol is accorded the respect it deserves.
The Singapore story is well known—how it achieved independence in 1965 amid severe doubt it could survive at all with its tiny size and the lack of natural resources.
Yet the island succeeded against the odds, deftly navigating its way through stormy waters of domestic turmoil, regional strife and international politics.
It made use of every single advantage it had, emerging on the world stage as a major commercial hub, financial centre and global player.
A parade that truly dazzles
And in this way, the national narrative has been shaped over the years, a narrative that is retold in varying ways every year during the National Day Parade.
Audience members sit back to enjoy a stunning spectacle of military parades, multicultural song-and-dance performances and aerial high jinks capped by a breathtaking firework extravaganza set against the stunning cityscape framed by the Marina Waterfront.
While National Day officially falls on the 9th of August, rehearsals for the occasion begin three to four months in advance, with preview shows on the two weekends leading to the celebration.
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