Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Contest for a national anthem - Armenia (also Singapore anthem)

Has anybody heard about the country called "Armenia"?

Armenia is a country next to Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan. Its capital city is called Yerevan and its total land area is 29,800 sq km (Singapore = 647.5 sq km). Armenia has a population of about 4 million. (Singapore = 3.5 million) In the lonely planet, Armenia is romantically entitled as the ancient country making a comeback in the 21st century.

A mountainous area, Armenia is at the edge of southeastern Europe and serves as a gateway to Middle East and Asia. This wonderful geographical location could have been a blessing but it turned out to be a curse: Over the centuries, Armenia was invaded and torn apart by different empires including Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian and Ottoman.

Finally in 1991, Armenia gained independence from the Soviet Union but ended up in a bloodbath with their neighbour Azerbaijan. Peace was attained in 1994. The Armenian people have been involved, in several occassions, as victims of ethic cleansing (such as in Turkey). Nature also did not spare this country with a major earthquake in 1988 destroying most of its infrastructure and killing more people.

Armenia is turning around and the tourist industry is starting to blossom. Today, I heard that Armenia is holding a contest to decide on their new national anthem. It is the belief and hope of the government that Armenia, which has undergone so many changes in the past 10 years, can unite their people with a new national anthem. However, interviews held by BBC, has obtained only lukewarm or negative response from the Armenian youth.

For more information: Article on Armenia's national anthem contest

After I have read more about this country, I recall back in secondary school where we had a debate on whether the national anthem of Singapore should be changed. Right now, the national language of Singapore is Malay. So is the national anthem. Yet to be honest, most of the Singaporeans are unable to relate to both the language and the anthem. Sure, we remember it by heart but if you question any Singaporean on the street, they are probably going to have a hard time telling you what the national anthem means.

I made a resolution to find out what my national anthem means.

My country is small and it has no natural resources and the people is by far from perfect but I do count my blessings and I'm very proud to call this little island my home where I feel safe enough to walk out on my own late at night.

I present to you my country's national anthem.

(Onward Singapore)
Mari kita rakyat Singapura
(We, the people of Singapore)
Sama-sama menuju bahagia
(Together match towards happiness)
Cita-cita kita yang mulia
(Our noble aspiration)
Berjaya Singapura
(To make Singapore a success)
Marilah kita bersatu
(Let us all unite)
Dengan semangat yang baru
(In a new spirit)
Semua kita berseru
(Together we proclaim)
Majulah Singapura
(Onward Singapore)
Majulah Singapura
(Onward Singapore)

Note: Composed in 1956-57 by Encik Zubir Said. Adopted as the republic's National Anthem upon independence in 1965.

1 comment:

cathy said...

i find myself singing 'majulah singapura' once in a while.. and then it is always followed by a knock on my head.. haha!

but then that's me. i find myself singing 'calling australia home' a lot too.. *winks*