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Children’s Day Song and Children’s Day

November 19, 2009
Children’s Day has always been October the first until I come to this part of the world.  China conveniently selected that day as their National Day. ( I said conveniently because some politicians want it to be with children and because Taiwan decided to be on October the tenth so that they can say "shuang shi" the double ten day.)

Like China, Singapore has always celebrated its children’s day on October the first.  Singapore also commissioned Zubir Said, composer of Majulah Singapora, to write "Semoga Bahagia" just for Children’s Day.  Naturally, the other 3 Malay speaking ASEAN countries Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia do not care for that song and never air or ask anyone to sing it.  But Singaporeans for a while asked all their children to learn "Semoga Bahagia".  I sang it so many times (even though children’s Day only come once n a year) in Primary school that part of that song still rings in my head.  Last week, when I was browsing YouTube watching Phua Chua Kang Sdn Bhd, Phua Chu Kang himself actually sang part of "Semoga Bahagia" in one episode.  It was that episode where he and Izzy had to return to beg big shots in GumaLand company for contracts to make more toilets in their complex.  When the word "sama sama" was said, Gurmit Singh broke into a song that goes…"Sama sama, maju ke hadapan.  pantai cari belajaran…"  And everything came back to me vividly.  Ironically, when I was practising that song in early 70s, the same Gurmit Singh was in the same class singing that song with me!  That moment was so…how do you say this…deja vu?  I wonder if schools in Singapore still made their children sing this song on 01/10.

The US once celebrated Children’s Day on Oct 8th.  Then George W. Bush proclaimed it June 3th and subsequently on the first Sunday in June.  An infamous governor of Illinois (who was ousted as governor later) issued a proclamation that the second Sunday in June is more appropriate as Children’s Day.  Once in May 2009, International Children’s Day was celebrated in Washington D.C.  There were many other political moves to alter or proclaim when Children’s Day should be but nobody in this land thinks about what China or Singapore think—October the 1st was the last day in their mind to be Children’s Day.

So when should Children’s Day be?  Ask a Romanian and he’ll probably say June 1st.  Ask a Mexican and he’s strongly said it’s April 30th as "El Dia Del Nino".  But Nigerians will want May 27th as their public holiday for children march past while Peruvians will celebrate theirs on Aug 16th.  Hungarians will leave Nov 20th every year as that special day for their children.  Japan chooses May the fifth こどもの日, NZ is March the fourth, etc, etc,…

For that, United Nation cannot firmly "proclaim" a Children’s Day without insulting, degrading, or have a heated argument with a powerful nation.  Can thy even come up with a song?  Like a translated "Semoga Bahagia"?  hem!

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One Comment
  1. Vicky permalink

    On 14 May 2007, ST Forum published my letter regarding Childrens\’Day as ST had just reported o the various Children\’s Day events celebrated around the world 7 days before. In it, I lamented that our Children\’s day is on Oct 1, just a few days fore the PSLE, and that our 12-years-olds here cannot join in the celebration as they are expected to study for the PSLE and I had proposed a reschedule. It was never taken up!

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