What do you see...... What DO YOU SEE?

Before August ends, take a trip down with us through memory lane and look at a special set of videos. These videos have been around since 1985 and are influential in the way they have shaped our perception of ourselves, the places, the people and the systems around us. In some years, they have been a source of pride, in others, a source of embarrassment. In most years, they glamorised Singapore, in other more enlightened years, they humanised Singapore.

They are our national day music videos that invade our screens every July till National Day. No piece of media has more reach than these videos. Not even our Singapore films.

Over the years, these videos have had their fair share of makeovers and extreme makeovers. Yet, as the videos get fancier, the viewers gets lesser. Gone are the days when when we used to anticipate the first broadcast of that year's national day music video. TV Mobile and the office lift TVs brought a mini revival of viewership but that's spoon-feeding us.

Have they lost their lustre? Can they get any more different in the future? SINdie's Ultimate National Day Video Project seeks to find the answers from the people who will have a hand in shaping national icons - our filmmakers. As the dust on NDP 2010 settles, follow us on our journey to search for the answers to what makes a good National Day music video.

Our journey here starts in 1985...

1985 - Stand Up for Singapore

Not the original version here. They had a thing for uniforms in the past.

1986 - Count on me Singapore

This is also not the original version. And do watch a young Zoe Tay squeak through parts of the song here.

1987 and 1988 - We are Singapore

This is a slightly newer version of the song probably made in the 90s. The version with Robert Fernando is not on YouTube. See Ong Teng Cheong still in action as the then President.

1990 - One People, One Nation, One Singapore

Repeated images of families interacting with each other in a stark studio setting - must have been in vogue at that time.

Notice a long absence of the National Day song for a good 8 years!

1998 - Home

A younger Kit Chan, hair as red as the Singapore flag, anchors our nation's favourite song for a long time to come. The start of using sentimental nostalgia in the form of neo-Super 8mm images as well.

1999 - Together

Humour makes its first appearance in the music video. Remember the Malay bride and her astronaut groom? This was 1999. Somehow watching it brings attention to the fact that we had some really bold ideas back then. It just got forgotten.

2000 - Shine on Me

Err... where did this song come from? So totally off the radar! And the HDB repetition is a little nauseating.

2001 - Where I belong

The more I search, the more I am convinced we had some really good music videos in the past. Don't know why the recent ones have become so impersonal and unimaginative. This one has nice personal touches like featuring real people in little moments of mock candour that still appears genuine. The dreamy feel is also a welcome change from many previous, almost like an 'ode' to 'Home'.

2002 - We Will Get There

Concrete makes a come-back. And the 'durian' starts to dominate.

2003 - One United People

Cowboys are the 'Others' in this one. Was 2003 when line dancing caught on?

2004 - Home (Kids Choir version)

'This is Hommmmmmmme, shhurrrrrrrly....' Choir kids in funeral outfits bring new life to an oldie.

2005 - Reach Out for the Skies

Singapore embraces S-Club 7 nationwide amidst 'Idol' Fever. 2005's kids have grown up.

2006- My Island Home

The 'island' factor is hardly apparent, looks more like 'My Concrete Jungle Home'. The government have started to worry about declining marriages rates hence the wedding gown worn by Kaira Gong. She even gets a costume change into another shimmery number a la wedding dinner.

2007 - Will You

Even the musical theatre heavyweights cannot save the stoogey marching and 'fire-drill-style' walking down flights of stairs of the Red Guards (oops Red and White I meant).

2007 - There's no place I'd rather be

Kit Chan gets sick of her office job and takes a ride on her convertible checking soccer boys and other people getting married. By the way, more than half of Singaporeans have not been to London, NY, Tokyo and er..... River Kwai.

2008-Shine For Singapore

Dunno why but this video has a Anti-drugs campaign look to it.

2009 - What Do you See?

Love the song, the individualism, the groove, the little party around the band. It took Singapore 25 years to dare to try a little rock but better late than never. But can we stop featuring one new concrete structure (Marina Barrage in this one) every year?

2010 - Sing a Song for Singapore

Strange, the video is both dreamy and yet political at the same time. Look at the impossibly straight rows of school children at flag-raising and the relentless 'in your face' flag-plastering everywhere.

Stay tuned for a later post where we take a more 'critical' look at the videos of the last 4 years.

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