Text: June Teo

For some strange reasons, I feel a compelling need to hang the state flag outside my corridor this year. Well, maybe not that strange, after all, the nation is fighting the COVID-19 courageously and bracing ourselves for its economic and social aftermath. The sense of unity and support for one another is going strong.

Each year, on 9 August, Singapore celebrates National Day where citizens fight each other to a figurative death online to ballot for the NDP preview and actual day tickets to watch the parade live. The majority with mediocre luck, will be contented to just laze at home and watch the parade on TV with live commentary from family members.

2020 unfolded quietly like a gentle Mozart piano sonata, serene and wholesome. Soon after, it decided to go heavy metal, and unleashed vengeance on the world. COVID-19 changed and affected many of the things we took for granted, such as attending school in school, working in office, visiting parents, kopi sessions with colleagues, being serenaded by live music in concert halls and and feeling the intensity of stares by stage actors in theatre productions. In an essence, social interactions. Human touch.

Fast forward to August 2020, the aftermath or even the actual pandemic is far from being done with us. Despite the setbacks, we are a bunch of resilient people who will take in whatever vitamin C the COVID lemons throw at us. National Day Parade has changed its format to a day celebration and night parade. The Red Lions, giant Singapore flag carried by Chinooks and flanked by Apache, and mobile columns will go to the neighbourhoods (If you can’t come to us, we will sure go to you!).

Every year, Singapore Chinese Orchestra stages community concerts of National Day theme, to bring the spirit of nation building to the heartlands. Familiar tunes of community songs, proudly made-in-Singapore compositions or artists, together with the SCO, charm the audience to swing with the music. The silver lining of COVID-19 cloud is having SCO to collaborate with Lianhe Zaobao, to bring our music digitally, to even more diverse groups of audience, unbound by geographical boundaries.

On 8 August, 3pm and 5pm, SCO will have a National Day Digital Concert on both Zaobao and SCO Facebook platforms.

SCO National Day 2020 picture

Here are some exciting stuff that you can expect from the concert.

  • Each piece is aurally stunning and visually exciting, as the visuals on screen matches the mood of each piece of work. Look out for quotations by notable personalities who shaped Singapore to what we are today.
  • Sing xinyao (新谣) songs with SCO, through the Liang Wern Fook medley. At home, by yourself, or with family members.
  • All the compositions and rearrangements are done by local composers such as Cultural Medallion winner Law Wai Lun, the xinyao pioneer Liang Wern Fook, renowned Dick Lee who made fried rice sexy, and talented young composers such Wang Chenwei, Phang Kok Jun.
  • Because Sisters’ island. One of my favourite Nanyang piece. Period.

Enough to entice? Curious? Come join us on 8 August to sway with the music. No one will judge you, except your family and pets.

While we celebrate our nation’s birthday, the act of watching SCO’s digital concert together, watching the NDP on screen together, gazing at the state flag flypast , being awestruck by the fireworks in the neighbourhood… All these, albeit experienced apart from one another, we are still connected to one another by hearts, and deeply rooted to this lovely land, this beautiful country we call home.

Together, a stronger Singapore. Happy National Day everybody!


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