SINGAPORE – It is a remake for the current times of a timeless song.
Eleven local artists have come together and partnered The Straits Times to give their take on local music veteran Clement Chow’s well-loved National Day song Count On Me, Singapore.
They have released Stay At Home, Singapore, a rallying call to get Singaporeans to do their bit to help the nation overcome the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mr Chow, working with others on the team, gently lifts spirits with a parody of the original lyrics.
“We have a vision for tomorrow” is replaced with “We need a vaccine for tomorrow”.
And Singaporeans are also told “Stay at home Singapore, don’t go out or kena fine some more…”
“We were discussing whether to make it a parody or something serious, but decided to make it fun. This is a time when people want to smile and be uplifted,” said Mr Chow.
But the main message is simply to ask Singaporeans to stay home as that is the best way to fight the virus, he added.
The collaboration will also raise funds for the ST School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BTBAF), and help those whose families have been affected by the outbreak.
When ST first approached Mr Chow to collaborate on the initiative his first reaction was that he had heard enough Covid-19 spoof songs online.
“The only reason I got on board was that this was a project that would give back and it would benefit others,” he said.
Many children benefiting from the funds are struggling. Some have seen their parents laid off and their families are finding it hard to pay bills or buy essentials.
Local artists are also going through a rough patch. “Half my friends are in a place where there is literally no work,” said Mr Chow.
After being approached on Wednesday (April 8), Mr Chow quickly got a group of interested artists together, and that night, held a four-hour online chat session to discuss the lyrics and other parts of the song. By Friday afternoon, a draft of the video had emerged.
There were glitches along the way.
Mr Chow’s original soundtrack was corrupted and one of the artists, Wayne Sandz, had to create a new version.
Also, due to stay-at-home measures, it was for the first time that Mr Chow had to make a video by piecing clips together instead of having everyone at the studio. He did so by working through several nights with video editor Ang Wee Pin.
“It’s not about production, it’s got to be a song that’s raw and real and from our houses. Everyone basically sent in a video taken using their phones when they listened to the track and sang to it,” said Mr Chow.
For local artists, it was a way of doing their bit for Singapore, said singer-songwriter Beverly Morata.
“Hopefully, because it’s such a familiar song, Singaporeans will be aware of it and realise the lyrics are different and take note of the message,” she added.
The other artists involved in singing and writing the lyrics are Alemay Fernandez, Lisa Haryono, Mathilda D’Silva, Michelle Poh, Jordin Tan, Izat, Christiane Mikaela and Alexendra Hsieh.
STSPMF general manager Tan Bee Heong said many of the families the fund supports are struggling to make ends meet.
“It is during this time that we need even more support to help us continue to provide school pocket money to our students from low-income families so that they can buy their meals and not go hungry when they are at home or in school,” she said.
Mr Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings’ English/Malay/Tamil Media division and editor of The Straits Times, said: “In these testing times, when we are all trying to cope with staying home, there are some in our community who are having it much harder than most of us. These are families where parents might be out of work, or struggling to meet their commitments.
“We would like to do whatever we can to help, which is why the ST Pocket Money Fund will be reaching out to offer them some additional support, as far as we can.”
He added: “This Stay At Home, Singapore, video effort, put together by our Singapore artists and ST journalists, will help us in this regard. So we appeal to Singaporeans: stay home and pitch in to help fellow Singaporeans in need.”
To donate to this campaign, go to the Giving.sg website. All donations will be eligible for 2.5 times tax deduction.
The STSPMF provides pocket money to children and youth from low-income families.
The BTBAF supports arts training for financially-disadvantaged children and youth here.