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The Lady Gaga NDP Fun Pack Song brouhaha

Meld Magazine

Thu Jul 07 2011



NETIZENS, not least Singaporeans have been embarrassed by videos of the Fun Pack Song that went viral this week.

The NDP Lady Gaga brouhaha erupted after participants took videos of last Saturday’s National Day Parade rehearsal and posted them on YouTube.

Basically, NDP organisers had taken Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, modified the lyrics, and renamed it the “Fun Pack Song”. And it wasn’t a spoof.

One of the videos has been viewed close to 200,000 times since it was posted on July 2, and has generated 7200 dislikes and a paltry 234 likes.

One forum user even said, “Lady Gaga, pls sue us~!”

According to Singapore’s national broadsheet the Straits Times, Colonel Ong Tze-Ch’in was quoted saying that organisers had secured the rights to use Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, but had no idea that “the rights obtained did not include rights to modify the lyrics of the song”.

According to other news sources, plans to perform the song have since been shelved until organisers get the go-ahead from music publishing firm Sony/ATV Music Publishing as well as Lady Gaga’s record label, Interscope.

What all this shows is just how far Singapore has to go in achieving its aim to become the hub for arts in Asia.

No doubt, Singapore has been aggressively seeking to establish itself as a premiere destination for arts and culture in these past few years.

Driving in from the airport to the city centre, you won’t be able to miss the majestic twin globes of The Esplanade, its sharp edges reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House (or a durian depending on which way you look at it).

It’s not an absurd allusion to liken Singapore to a massive corporation – big on branding, world public relations… you get the idea.

And by the same token, it’s also no wonder why so many people are watching Singapore’s development in the arts with a sense of excitement mixed in with a good dose of cynicism.

I cheered when I heard that a key music conference moved to Singapore earlier this year, and was very surprised when all the speakers and panelists I came across at the conference this year said they had their eyes on Singapore as the next big thing for the music industry in the decade or more to come.

But I couldn’t help but wonder if the industry would be in danger of losing its soul in the process?

I mean, if you grew up in Singapore, you would be familiar with the street cred the country’s been notorious for. We’ve bought talents in sports, imported brains in science, commerce, opened the doors wide for overseas businesses to invest locally.

Is Singapore now trying to buy its way into the music and entertainment industry?

Charles J Tan is a singer-songwriter based in Melbourne, and  an occasional freelance contributor to Meld Magazine.