Count on me, Singapore: Our 1986 NDP song? Or did India’s Joey Mendoza compose it in 1983?

By March 15, 2021Current

TL;DR – MCCY went from “investigating potential copyright infringements” to “imitation is the best form of flattery”!

(Updated 22nd March 2021) MCCY has updated everyone via a Facebook post yesterday to confirm our rights and copyright to the song. The ministry also shared that Mr Mendoza has been unable to substantiate his claims that he’s the original composer and he has since accepted that the Government of Singapore holds the copyright to the lyrics and tune of the song.


 


So, this reuploaded music video of India’s version of our “Count on me, Singapore” has been circulating for the past few days. It’s pretty much them taking our national song and switching all the Singapore references to India or Mother India and taking it as their own so-called patriotic song.

Very quickly, many Singaporeans were up in arms and demanding action from the authorities.

Netizens also found out that the song has actually been circulating in India for years, with many schools teaching their kids their version. It’s called “We Can Achieve” in India, by the way.

A dozen links or so were being shared around amongst Singaporeans over the last few days, but I’ve noticed that some of these Youtube videos have been taken down or are no longer accessible. But here’s one that’s so bad it’s good that I recommend you watch, hurhur!

That prompted the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) to put up a Facebook (FB) post. The video was uploaded on 11 March 2021 and fairly quickly on the evening of 12 March 2021, MCCY put this up on their official FB page.

Yeps, on Friday evening, MCCY said it’s aware of the unauthorised versions being circulated online, and that it’s investigating the matter for potential copyright infringements.

And then the next day, on the evening of 13 March 2021, MCCY edited its FB post to this:

As I’m writing this, it’s also the latest, updated version on its FB page.

 

Some Singaporeans say we should just chill

Like the oh-so-sexy Jade Rasif.

And the he-thinks-he-is-sexy Calvin Cheng.

And then, there’s also the I-think-this-is-a-fake-account Mr Mok.

Some Singaporeans think MCCY is too chill

Meanwhile, some Singaporeans are upset that MCCY has edited its post and appears to have changed its stance from investigating about potential copyright infringements to sounding like it wants to let it go.

Confusion arose: Was song composed in Singapore in 1986, or in India in 1983?

Amidst the flurry of comments here, there, everywhere, there was one comment on Youtube that had caught some attention.

Someone by the name of Caroline Duia claimed that our “Count on me, Singapore” song is not an original song. She suggested that the Indian version of “We can achieve’ is the original instead.

She claimed that the song was first composed by a Joey Mendoza back in 1983.

 

For the record, Singapore’s version of “Count on me, Singapore” was actually our National Day Parade theme song for 1986.

The song itself, released in 1986, was supposedly composed by Canadian Hugh Harrison, and sung by singer-songwriter Clement Chow.

Canadian ad-man, Hugh Harrison, composed NDP favourites like Stand Up For Singapore, Count On Me Singapore and We Are Singapore (via)

 

What did the Indian side say?

We found this Facebook post by Pauline Communications, which looks like the books and media arm of a Catholic church in India.

 

On March 14, Pauline Communications said through a Facebook post that it had acquired the copyright for the music and lyrics from a man by the name of Joey Mendoza in 1999 and published the song in a CD that year, and also uploaded the song on SoundCloud in 2012.

There is just one lone comment on the Facebook post as of now, and it’s from the very Joey Mendoza!

 

So now the six million dollar question is this:

Did MCCY change the tone in their FB post to be friendlier because they found out there’s a chance that maybe the song we got wasn’t original after all?

For now, the verdict’s still out there. We certainly hope MCCY hasn’t given up investigating and will unveil the truth of the matter soon.

What do you think?

 

 

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

More posts by Gabrielle Teo

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