Onward Singapore

American musician Billy Joel turned 40 in 1989 and asked himself what had happened with his life until that point. What resulted was the iconic song, “We didn’t start the fire”, which went on to be nominated that year for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. With a masterful blend of history and songwriting, the song captured key cultural milestones from the 1940s till the 1980s.

Here is a tribute to Singapore in our bicentennial year and 54th year of independence. We have traveled a rocky road and picked up scars along the way. But what didn’t kill us made us stronger. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I look forward to the infinite number of stanzas in the years ahead.

Majulah Singapura.

[To the melody of “We didn’t start the fire”]

60s
LKY, Goh Keng Swee, Toh Chin Chye, the Raj man,
kicked out, turfed out, OGs shed a tear.
NS, HDB, PAP sweeps the seats,
Tan Howe Liang ‘lympic first, Grand Prix 66.

 

70s
Chin Gay, SIA, Laju, Ah Meng,
no long hair for men, Yusof Ishak passes on.
Infancy ERP, stop-at-two policy,
Temasek is formed, hear the Kallang Roar.
We didn’t start the fire,
it was always burning,
since the world’s been turning.
We didn’t start the fire,
No we didn’t light it,
But we tried to fan it.
80s
Hotel New World, Fried Rice Paradise,
JBJ wins a seat, Courteous Singa.
Spectrum, MRT, Goh Chok Tong steps up,
Ang Peng Siong W.R., Let’s speak Mandarin.90s
Fandi Ahmad Malaysia Cup, SQ117,
Modem dial ups, COEs, Big Splash.
Ong Teng Cheong, Silk Air, crush you like a cockroach,
Michael Fay ass whooped, body parts murder.
We didn’t start the fire,
it was always burning,
since the world’s been turning.
We didn’t start the fire,
no we didn’t light it,
but we tried to fan it.
00s
JI, 9-11, then SARS, IRs,
MSK runs away, subprime meltdown.
White elephants in Buangkok, Lee Hsien Loong, SQ
Chiang Kai Shek flight 0-6, never again. 

20-Teens
YOG, PGP, MGP, POFMA,
LKY passes on, Little India riot.
Tanjong Pagar Railway, Yip Pin Xiu first place,
Joseph Schooling, Halimah, SG50.

We didn’t start the fire,
it was always burning,
since the world’s been turning.
We didn’t start the fire,
but when we are gone,
will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on.

Original Song