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Oh say can you see

July 2, 2011

Singaporeans sing their Majulah Singapura everyday.  Yes, every weekday without fail from Primary One to JC 2 (or Pre-U 3).  That’s at least 12 years for some, and thirteen years for others.  Then we say our pledge.  I remember having to say the pledge in Chinese, English and Malay on different days of the week.  And for those who are serving the army, there are a lot more times you have to sing for two more years.

But if you were to ask me when is the day most people sing the anthem and the loudest, my answer would be National Day.And it’s not just the anthem Singaporean sing enthusiastically, that’s “Count on me, Singapore” and other songs quite well-written for NDP.

So here is question TWO:  “When do the (mainland) Chinese sing 义勇军进行曲 the most and the loudest?”  The easy answer will be October the 1st.  The song 义勇军进行曲 is their anthem and October the 1st (Children’s Day) is also the Independence Day for the People’s Republic of China.  Another SLAM DUNK although, I’ve never seen video’s of normal Chinese singing their anthem loudly.  Maybe the “起来!起来!起来!” part was poorly written musically, I would guess.

flags of the world

And now question 3:  “When do Americans sing The Star Spangled Banner the most and the loudest?”  “American Independence Day?”  “Confirm?”  “Double Confirm?”

Let me first tell you that most American do not use the word Independence Day very much.  They simply call that day the Fourth of July.  (Wouldn’t it be nice if we call ours the Nineth of August?  I know we do that in Chinese.  八月九日!)  And yes, they do sing the anthem on the 4th of July but when it comes the loudest and using the best singer to sing it, it would be on the day when most people are closely watching the tube (or the flat panel).  The answer is not the 4th of July.  Nor the few day(s) just before that.  I would have to say it’s the Super-Bowl Day.  Yes, the day when most people here glue their eyes to the same channel.  Groceries stores and malls celebrate it a few weeks in advance.  Every if the road were snowy, they will have the least number of plows on the road because everything else beside the Super Bowl can wait.

Super Bowl is the final match of the American Football by the NFL.  This day, they use the best Grammy Award singer to sing the Anthem.  Whitney Houston sang it in 1991 in Tampa Stadium (Florida), Jennifer Hudson sang hers in 2009 in Raymond James Stadium (also in Florida), Christina Aguilera in 2011 in Cowboys Stadium (Texas), Beyoncé in 2004, Backstreet Boys in 2001  and Natalie Cole in 1994 just to name a few.  Youtube recordings of these singers singing the Anthem has a few millions hits.  Even Canadians are invited to sing the Star Spangle Banner in the big Stadium. Can you imagine inviting Siti Nurhaliza to sing “Majulah Singapura on 9th of Aug in our stadium?”  I bet the MPs would not even allow Anita Sarawak to do it.  Americans are very proud to sing their anthem.  Even as I looked at the different styles of singing by different singers, I grew to like the way the melody is written.  By I do not encourage you to remix “Majulah Singapura”, lest you ended up like Namewee (黄明志).

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