Tuesday, 14 July 2020

NDP 2020 Theme Song: Everything I Am

NDP 2020 theme song seeks to promote community spirit and gratitude in the face of challenges
By Aqil Hamzah, The Straits Times, 15 Jul 2020

While this year's National Day Parade (NDP) is poised to be a unique affair, with many people going to celebrate at home instead of at a central location, its theme song is a tribute to Singaporeans' spirit of community.

Composed by producer Joshua Wan and performed by singer Nathan Hartono, Everything I Am also encourages Singaporeans to express gratitude and appreciation for one another.

The song had been planned since last year, and while the COVID-19 pandemic has put to rest the usual NDP arrangements, it has made the song's message all the more salient.

Dr Sydney Tan, music director for this year's NDP, said the song was originally written for a normal climate, but its message also applies in the midst of the pandemic.

The accompanying music video, which was directed by local film-maker He Shuming, was released yesterday on YouTube and the NDP website. Mr He said he was inspired by real-life stories of Singaporeans, and sought to create an intimate video that would encourage Singaporeans to rally together.

"I hope... Singaporeans, after they watch the music video... think about the people around us who have impacted us and inspired us.

"It's been a challenging year, but I hope Singaporeans will remember that we're never alone and that we can get through this together."

The husband-and-wife team of Mr Daniel Tan and Madam Clara Loh, who run OK Chicken Rice in Ang Mo Kio, are among those featured. Amid the pandemic, the couple delivered free chicken rice to healthcare workers, sending more than 10,000 packs to workers in various hospitals over about two months. They also started an online campaign, Cheer Up, for members of the public to make donations to offset their delivery costs.

Hip-hop group Redeafination, which comprises individuals from the deaf community who make use of vibrations through the floor to keep in time with the music, choreographed moves in the Everything I Am video.

Come Makan With Me, a ground-up initiative in which locals invite migrant workers to their homes to share a meal and learn more about them, is also seen in action.

It was started by Dr Mohamad Farid, who volunteers with the Migrant Workers' Centre.

In all, 55 stories of everyday Singaporeans who have stepped up in the fight against COVID-19 and helped those in need will be featured in this year's NDP, which will be split into two shows.

Brigadier-General Frederick Choo, chairman of this year's NDP executive committee, said: "Through these stories, we hope to inspire Singaporeans to continue playing their part to build a better and stronger Singapore, and to remind us that together, we can and will prevail through tough times, just as we always have."

The parade will also feature two "unity moments", which Singaporeans are encouraged to participate in as a show of solidarity.

The first moment will take place in the morning, as President Halimah Yacob leads the singing of the National Anthem at the Padang.

This will be broadcast on TV as well as online platforms concurrently with flag-raising ceremonies taking place at several locations islandwide, including a hospital.

The second moment will take place at night, at around 8.20pm, when the pledge will be recited. This will also be broadcast.

BG Choo said that while this year's NDP celebrations will be starkly different from those of previous years, he hopes they will rally Singaporeans to come together in thinking about the nation's future beyond the current challenges of COVID-19.

Nathan Hartono says he is proud to be Singaporean, after some ask why he is singing this year's NDP song
By Anjali Raguraman, The Straits Times, 19 Jul 2020

After several people questioned why a "foreigner" was singing this year's National Day Parade (NDP) song Everything I Am, the song's performer, Nathan Hartono, has clarified that he is a Singaporean.

In a Facebook post on Saturday (July 18), singer-songwriter Hartono, 28, said he is proud to be a first-generation Singaporean who has done his two years of national service.

In a series of accompanying pictures, including one with a lone tear rolling down his cheek, he shared a selection of Facebook comments on his NDP song, which had questioned his nationality.

One said, "Why is an Indonesian singing the NDP song... does Singapore not have any singing talent as well? Come on...seriously?", while another said, "Disgrace...ask PR to sing NDP song."

In his post, Hartono explained that he was born and raised here as a permanent resident to Indonesian parents who immigrated here. “After serving two years of national service, I was finally able to get a Singaporean citizenship,” he added.

His mother, Madam Jocelyn Tjioe, is a senior vice-president of restaurant chain Tung Lok Group, while his father, Mr Thomas Hartono, is a resort consultant. In an interview with The Straits Times in 2016, the singer mentioned that his older brother Norman and younger sister Nydia were also born in Singapore.

Hartono wrote in his Facebook post: "I've never known any other place as home. And I am thankful for everything this land has given me. Love to you all."

He did not state when he became a Singapore citizen.

The music video for this year's NDP song Everything I Am, directed by local film-maker He Shuming, was released online last Tuesday. Composed by producer Joshua Wan, the song centres around the message of encouraging Singaporeans to express gratitude and appreciation for one another.

Hartono rose to prominence after he finished as first runner-up in the first season of the Chinese reality singing competition Sing! China in 2016. The following year, he was nominated for The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year award.

He has since signed with Warner Music China and Singapore, and taken on acting gigs, starring in theatre shows, Web series and 2019 film When Ghost Meets Zombie.

NDP 2020: Together, A Stronger Singapore

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