There are some National Day songs that we Singaporeans hold dear to our hearts — one of these would surely be ‘Count on Me, Singapore’.
However, a recent controversy has clouded the origins of the tune after a song in India was found to have an uncanny resemblance to the NDP song.
On Monday (15 Mar), the Indian composer of the song claimed that the song in question, ‘We Can Achieve’ was written in 1983, 3 years before ‘Count on Me, Singapore’.
Soon after, Harrison Hugh – composer of ‘Count on Me, Singapore’, took to YouTube to refute these claims.
On Sunday (14 Mar), Pauline India, the company that produced ‘We Can Achieve’, acknowledged that the song is facing some “some copyright issues”.
The company went on to explain that they bought the rights of the song from Mr Joey Mendoza in 1999 — Mr Mendoza claimed he owned the song back then.
At the time, they allegedly did not know about the existence of ‘Count on Me, Singapore’ which was produced in 1986.
Joey Mendoza soon responded to the post, alleging that ‘We Can Achieve’ was written in 1983 and performed that very same year — 3 years before the NDP song came to be.
He added that he did not know of ‘Count on Me, Singapore’ until just days ago.
Mr Mendoza then ended his comment saying he does not hold claim to Singapore’s song but wants to be clear that he did in fact wrote ‘We Can Achieve’.
However, these claims were soon refuted.
In response to a YouTube comment, ‘Count on Me, Singapore’ composer Mr Hugh Harrison insinuated that there was little basis to Mr Mendoza’s claims.
Mr Harrison said that ‘Count on Me, Singapore’ went through many rounds of revision, and each of them was well-documented.
After all that, to have produced a song so similar to Mr Mendoza’s would be a “wild coincidence”.
Furthermore, Mr Harrison believed that Mr Mendoza would not be able to produce evidence of creation, production, or performance of ‘We Can Achieve’ in 1983.
The lyrics of ‘We Can Achieve’ is largely similar to ‘Count on Me, Singapore’, with only subtle differences like switching out ‘Singapore’ for ‘India’ or ‘Mother India’.
However, there was one line in the song that Mr Harrison highlight. The line reads “We are told no dreams to hold that we can try for”.
In ‘Count on Me, Singapore’, the verse read “We are told no dream’s too bold that we can’t try for”.
Mr Harrison used this to substantiate his argument, claiming it isn’t clear what the line meant in ‘We Can Achieve’.
He then postulated that it seems almost as if Mr Mendoza had wrongly transcribed the lyrics.
‘Count on Me, Singapore’ is certainly a great song worthy of appreciation.
While the situation might not be clear right now, we hope the composers and producers of the original song eventually get their due credit.
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