Singapore GaGa


It’s been a while since I had the inspiration to blog about the nuances of Singapore, but the National Day Parade (or “NDP” – everything in Singapore has to be a three-letter abbreviation) has prompted me to lookup my password and re-engage.

Somewhere along the line, someone thought it would be a good idea to write a NDP song for everyone to sing with lyrics such as “I want a biscuit and I want a sweet / You and me let’s share this treat / Kopi O ooo oh oh oh” (Kopi-O is a popular style of strong black coffee, of Malaysian origin).

This “Fun Pack Song” goes to the tune of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”. Amazingly, at no point did any of the organisers, singers or audience stand up say “Um, are you sure this is a good idea?”.

Singaporean bloggers have been particularly vocal in expressing their shock, horror and overall national embarrassment. Even local legend Dick Lee suggested the song was “inappropriate”.  Not that they had to worry for long. It turns out that although the NDP organsiers had paid to be allowed to use the song, they had omitted to tick the box that says “and we will change the lyrics” and so Sony had pulled the song for violation of copyright.

As luck would have it, Lady Gaga happened to be performing in Singapore this week, so maybe the NDP organisers might yet get the song approved. I wonder if they’re working on getting her to sing it…

Incidentally, Singapore GaGa is the title of an excellent diorama-style documentary from 2005 showing the sights and sounds of Singapore. It should be compulsory viewing for expats before they are allowed to collect their employment pass. I highly recommend it.

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