Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Remaking 'Home' for Total Defence

MALAY rock legend Papa Rock, entertainer Dick Lee and up-and-coming singing sensation Olivia Ong may not be the faces usually associated with Total Defence.

But they were among 39 home-grown artists who came together to sing the song Home, picked to jazz up this year's campaign.

The song, which has been rearranged to give it a new spin, made its debut yesterday to mark Total Defence Day. The annual drive aims to remind Singaporeans of their role in defending the country. This year, the campaign, which started in 1984, is taglined 'Home - keeping it together'.

Song producer Kit Chan said getting the singers together to record it and to film the video was a Herculean task, as some are based overseas. She first sang the song, written by Dick Lee, at the 1998 National Day Parade.

'I feel as if my baby is born... there is very good energy and I feel the love,' said the 38-year-old, who started working on the project last year.

Marked every year on Feb 15, Total Defence Day is an annual reminder of a small country's vulnerability. On that date in 1942, Singapore fell to the Japanese. Other events held yesterday included a memorial service at the War Memorial Park on Beach Road (see story 'Remembering those who died in Occupation').

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who launched the campaign at the Drama Centre in the National Library Building, urged Singaporeans to commit themselves to Singapore's defence, like they did during the 2003 Sars outbreak and the recent economic crisis. This is all the more important, given the terrorism threat, and race and religion being exploited to 'sow discord' in society, said DPM Teo, who is also the Defence Minister.

'Our forefathers knew they had to make it, and did. We enjoy the Singapore that they built. The next generation, and future generations, can enjoy an even better Singapore. It's now up to all of us.'

DPM Teo also presented prizes to the winners of N.E.mation, an inter-school contest to produce animation clips on the Total Defence theme. National Junior College's entry beat 603 others to the top prize - a trip to the Dreamworks animation studio in the United States.

This year's Total Defence campaign is also doing its bit for charity. To raise funds, Internet users need only download the music video of Home, which is being shown on the Total Defence campaign website, www.thisishome.sg

For every download, $1 will be pledged to the Community Chest's beneficiaries by five organisations and firms - Lee Foundation, Sembcorp Industries, Aurigin Technology, Singapore Turf Club and Tote Board.

Community Chest chairman Jennie Chua said she hopes to raise $200,000 by next month. The funds will go to the elderly and less fortunate families.

Papa Rock, 58, whose real name is Ramli Sarip, said: 'No matter how different the skyline or country looks every time I come back, I can still feel Singapore spirit here.'