Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pele In Singapore, Happy Tay, Police Soccer n Songs

A 1960's Singapore Football Memory Trail:

Happy Tay was in Singapore some weeks ago after braving the 20-hour plus long haul from Vancouver  to visit Red Dot again. Also known as Vancouver's Elvis Presley, I managed to meet this very tall, talented, generous good-looker over a cup of tea at Ah Teng's Coffee House @ Raffles Hotel.  He has been unselfishly contributing many stories to the blog. 

Here's another informative and nostalgic letter from Happy for all ardent football fans and sports historians.  Again my thanks to him.

*Elvis - You'll Never Walk Alone -  A Soccer Song from the 1960's.

Dear Andy,

The first photo shows our Police Football Team from Police Training School (PTS), later known as Police Academy, that beat the Army Depot Police (ADP) in the Inter-Police Cup Final in 1968.

We were then the underdogs, as the ADP (British Army Depot Police) had several players representing the National Football Team.
Some of their Singapore National star footballers were, Mohd. Ali (full-back), Sahar Hussein (forward), Ow Siew Kong (forward). Ow was selected by the visiting British Football Team in later years, to represent their All-Stars Team touring Asia.

Then there's Hussein Hashim (mid-field), Idros Albar (goalkeeper), and a few others whose names I am not able to recall. The Army Depot Police back then employed footballers who have, or are, representing the National Football Team, to represent their team.
However, not to be outdone, the Police team back then, also had several national and youth footballers too. Our national team was a good mixture of youths and senior football stars like Wilfred Skinner (image left: goalkeeper / forward), Robin Chan (forward), Gurunathan (forward). 

Included in the same group was Brian Richmond (Youth Team Captain and National Team Reserves), Othman Bahrum (forward for Malays and Reserves), Yee Soh Peng (Chinese), Richard Chiam (Youth Team) and yours truly (Youth Team).

The final itself which was played at Police Training School was filled with excitement, and was indeed an epic final, with all the top footballers from the country involved. It ended with the Police Football team victorious with the score at three two.
 I vividly remembered that we footballers were accommodated at the Police Training School for two weeks before the finals and had daily training  in the morning and evening under the football coach from Bulgaria, who was also, the National Team coach. I cannot recall his name. 

We were all well fed, and taken care of under the direction of the then Commandant of the Police Training School, AC Ong Kim Boon, and his deputy, DSP Daljit Singh.  I was then an Instructor at the Police Training School and extremely fit with  my position as a fullback!

This second photo on the left was taken during an interview with Pele - Edson Arantes dos Nascimento - the greatest footballer in the world and a living legend (image: standing/centre). 

The interview was conducted by our team of reporters from Sports Parade from Radio and Television Singapore (RTS) then. 

Some of the personalities in the photo were Brian Richmond (image: standing with Pele), then anchor and commentator of the very popular programme, Sports Parade, aired on TV every Friday evening. There were Ow Siew Kong, another team member and Singapore National Team player and yours truly (image: sitting/tie) , who was then, also one of the sports reporter.

It was truly a memorable meeting with this great football legend, who was then visiting Singapore with the Santos Football Team from Brazil in early 1970's.

Well Andy, I hope that this short introduction has managed to recap the best of my "fading" memories.

Happy Tay.
Vancouver, BC, Canada.

NB: If you are familiar with these footballers and friends do write in to contribute.

*The song is popular with football clubs around the world, where it is performed by mass supporters on match day. This practice traditionally began at Liverpool Football Club in the early 1960's and later spread on...
Images from Happy Tay (Copyrights Reserved); Google.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Amazed! Dazed Neighbour Still Laze About Haze


Is It Clear?

Fourteen million plus hits on Google when you type, "Haze in Singapore." 

Call it what you may, haze or smoke which has been polluting this region for weeks now is not created by Mother Nature but by Man himself.  One thing is clear; our air is so foul and "poisonin' my oxygen" that it is frustrating everyone in the area.  Worse, it is making every creature, great and small, sick.

Every day fires are destroying the beautiful forests of Indonesia's South Sumatra, Riau and Kalimantan and simultaneously endangering the health of its own people and surrounding neighbours, Malaysia and little red dot, Singapore.

I'm a hungry planet
I had the bluest seas
Oh the people kept 
Choppin' down
All my finest trees (1).

The lyrics above were written by The Byrds way back in 1970 and described a situation that is still persisting today. Hungry Planet is one of many songs that deals with an on-going ecological disaster and the problem will never be resolved unless a certain country follows its own laws which forbid the use of fire to clear land.
Or Still Unclear?

Another thing is clear; we can't do anything because Singapore is like a David standing in front of a cigarette smoking Goliath. We have to inhale what Goliath exhales, and the *problem has persisted from as far back as 1972, more than 40 years since. 

The country in question has promised it will enforce its laws but nothing's been done so far. A pop group from 1970, The Moody Blues, reminds us of the foulness in the air in a composition called, How Is It:

How is it we are here on this path we walk
In this world of pointless fear filled with empty talk
Descend from the ape as scientist-priest all think
Will they save us in the end, we're trembling on the brink (2).
Responsible Lyricists:

Like The Byrds and The Moody Blues, many famous pop composers and lyricists get serious and write about how Man has savaged and ravaged Mother Earth. So while some readers  think that the West are only writing frivolous rock and roll music these same pop stars are doing the world a favour by warning how our selfish attitude towards the environment is destroying and killing it:

Now the sun has come to earth
Shrouded in a mushroom cloud of death
Death comes in a blinding flash
Of hellish heat and leaves a smear of ash
And the sun has come to earth (3).

Only last night (5th October 2015), I saw our local news headlines on television feature young children in hospitals with asthma and with some seniors suffering from a skin ailment agitated by the haze. The Byrds lamented in the same song that this condition is:

Diggin' into my skin
Taking more out of my good earth
Than they'll ever put back in
I"m a hungry planet... (4)
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the established folk rock super group from the 70's stated that Clear Blue Skies were not much to ask for. They were here before creatures roamed the earth. Question is, "Will they be here when we're gone?" (5)


According to an **article, two-thirds of the fires in Indonesia occur on peat wetlands. It is not widely known that Indonesia has the largest tropical peat wetlands in the world but these places are definitely rich in biological diversity. Imagine the devastation going on at the moment with the fires in full force and its outcome afterwards.

Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury
Ah oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh mercy, mercy me. (6)

How long more do we have to take the haze and the continuing saga of earth's destruction? I remain optimistic so let's leave the last words to Tommy James and the Shondells:

Maybe tomorrow
When he looks down
On every green field, ooh ooh
And every town
All of his children
And every nation
They'll be peace and good brotherhood (7).


Other Earth Songs:

Mother Nature's Son - The Beatles
After The Gold Rush - Neil Young 
Where Do The Children Play - Cat Stevens 

Big  Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell 
Don't Go Near the Water - The Beach Boys
Hole In The Sky - Black Sabbath

The Trees - Rush 
Calypso John Denver
Nobody's Fault - Aerosmith

Earth Anthem - The Turtles
Every Day Every Day Celebrate - John Denver
Sweet Baby James -James Taylor

Traffic Jam - James Taylor
Goodbye To A River - Don Henley
The Eagle and The Hawk - John Denver
Down By The River - Albert Hammond

Quoted Songs Are:

(1) Hungry Planet - The Byrds 
(2) How Is It? - Moody Blues
(3) The Sun Is Burning - Simon and Garfunkel
(4) Hungry Planet - The Byrds 
(5) Clear Blue Skies - Crosby Stills Nash and Young
(6) Oh Mercy, Mercy Me - Marvin Gaye
(7) Crystal Blue Persuasion- Tommy James and The Shondells
*Straits Times Press report and image: 13/10/1972.

**Straits Times Press: S. Jayakumar and Tommy Koh; The haze, international law and global cooperation - 6/10/2015 - Pg A20 Opinion.

**Straits Times Press: Bustar Maitar; Instead of pointing fingers, start restoring peatlands - 7/10/2015 - PgA21 Opinion.

You Tube Video: Crystal Blue Persuasion- Tommy James and The Shondells

Images, Chart and gif: Google.


SLIP NOTE: 11th October, 2015.
Exhilarating news piece that Indonesia is finally getting help from some countries to help douse out the fire and according to The President Mr Jokowi, it must be effective two weeks from today.  Hopefully, we get fresh air again and also save "all creatures great and small", which include the orang utans too. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

George Gershwin Music For Lee Kuan Yew: 1967

PM Lee Hsien Loong in a message read out at a private memorial service in New York City for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew on Thursday: 24th September 2015, revealed that one souvenir his father brought home from his trip to the U.S. in 1967 was a gift from former President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ). 

The gifts were a portable turntable with vinyl Long Play records of George Gershwin's music.  This collection would include Rhapsody in Blue a song that brought the composer immediate fame and the very popular, *An American in Paris.  
In his speech PM LHL went on to say, "I am not sure we made much of this sample of American technology and culture at the time, but looking back, that gift symbolised America's spirit of dynamism, spontaneity generosity and warmth - the American values that my father greatly admired all these years."

It is true of George Gershwin because when the American people heard his music for the first time, they believed it captured the voice of modern American culture and were enthralled with his compositions.  
Starting at 18 years of age, Gershwin wrote more than 500 melodies for the next 20 years which included an opera, Porgy and Bess.  Musical plays were very popular in the 1920's and 1930's and his music was first performed in theatres in New York City.

I first heard Gershwin as a child in the 1950's and remember listening to many of his compositions over the radio.  The music spanned both popular and classical genres so it was natural that I learnt the same.
Some of his well-known pieces include: I Got Rhythm, Someone To Watch Over Me, Embraceable You, Swanee, S'Wonderful, The Man I Love, I'll Build A Stairway To Paradise, I've Got A Crush On You, Somebody Loves Me and the list goes on. One of his most famous was, Summertime from the opera.
Gershwin's songs swarmed the hit parade charts and dozens of singers and musicians had recorded them. The outstanding list include personalities like: Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Al Jolson, Bobby Darin, Bing Crosby, Janis Joplin, John Coltrane, Mel Tormé, Billie Holiday, Yehudi Menuhin and group The Moody Blues.

Then there's Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Sam Cooke, Diana Ross, Neil Sedaka, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock,  Madonna, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, Nina Simone, Adam Faith, Kate Bush, Sting, Amy Winehouse, Doris Day, Chet Atkins and many others.

Let's look at these figures. Born at the end of 1898, George Gershwin passed away in the middle of 1937 at the young age of 38. His songs are still being recorded in the 21st Century, more than 100 years later.  

Symbolically these Gershwin gifts were appropriate for a statesman like LKY since they encompassed the spirit of dynamism and spontaneity.  Both personalities BTW were born in September, GG on the 26th and LKY on the 16th. 
*Musical is currently on Broadway now. Wow!
Information about:
1. LHL speech: ST/A40/Opinion/26.09.2015.
2. George Gershwin: Internet.
Images: Blog background cartoon by Al Hirschfeld and Google.
Ella Fitzgerald sings George Gershwin's Summertime Video by bessjazz.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Growing Up With Moon Symbols And Tradition

"The roundest moon can be seen in autumn. 
It is time for reunions. 
I wish you a happy mid-autumn day and a wonderful life - 1"


It is the usual greeting this month since the moon-cake festival is here so I thought I would write something significant about this yellow ball in the night sky.  When I googled, 'moon' it was quite a surprise where I found more than 700 million entries on the subject.  I realised there was nothing much I could write about except my own moon-walk on earth. 
As a child I didn't bother much about the festival itself because at the age of ten the reason for the celebration was not important. It was only in later years did I learn what the lantern festival meant. But I welcome the delicious moon-cakes and beautiful lanterns that came with the annual hoo-ha. 

"Summer ends, and Autumn comes, 
And he who would have it otherwise 
Would have high tide always and 
A full moon every night - 2 ."

Moon Symbol:

It had been a yearly affair since the 1950's and as far as I could remember my father would take me to Victoria Street to the old Empress Hotel to buy a few bags of tong chu pia home. No, there were no fancy boxes to put them in. They came in simple white wrapping paper placed in a brown paper bag with string carriers. Today's moon-cakes are placed in jewel cases that cost a fortune (sixty Singapore dollars for a box of four?)
What I could not forget during the yearly trip to Victoria Street was the same large scroll I saw hanging outside the hotel pillar as I looked up.  There was a painting of a beautiful, slim lady in ancient Chinese costume with the words, "Queen of the Moon Cakes" and behind her the radiantly full moon.

"It was fascination, I know 
Seeing you alone with the moonlight above
Then I touched your hand and next moment... 3."

They probably took her down at the end of the season to be displayed again for the next moon festival.

Now the moon-cake. It was sweetened red bean or lotus seed paste baked within a delicious outer layer. Although it could get stuck between the teeth eating was part of the fun. Also moon cakes in the 50's were simple, without the exorbitant colours, designs, special names  and yucky taste that is found today. 

Up till now I've always enjoyed the simple dark brown bean-paste inside but without the yolk.  Cut equally into four pieces I could eat only one quarter a day for the next four days.  

"Good behaviour deserves reward," remarked my mother. "Another four pieces for the next four days, if you behave. Otherwise I shall eat them myself!" My dad would quietly walk away because he knew the fun was in the buying too.

But I always had my share.

Light Symbol:

I remember the intricate and thin bamboo frames that were shaped into celestial animals and what-have-you, covered by transparent coloured papers making cute lanterns that could be lighted up at night with its tiny candle within. 

"Careful," mother would warn sternly, "a steady hand lights the wick, not the lantern," always warning us that we need to beware of a burn-up if we were careless with the fragile, combustible and bright, luminous magic art pieces.
To me it didn't matter what the lantern was shaped like. The flickers inside changed colours as I walked the shiny being around. As long as I could carry it in the dark as the proud owner I was happiest. Good that my mother bought three lanterns to distribute to a Malay friend, an Indian neighbour and a pretty girl friend who lived down the road. 

"How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world - 4."

The friends were Hamid, who was so happy to be carrying one with me; the other was Naysar, in his sarong, who ran around the block with his fish lantern shouting, "Ikan, ikan."  He became a little looney I guess with the moon in full bloom.  We didn't think who we were, just children sharing in playful joy.
Nat King Cole; William Shakespeare; P. Ramlee; Hal Borland
The third friend was my heart crusher Mei Li and true to her name she was the prettiest girl in the vicinity. Short-haired, tomboyish, wide eyed and fun, she readily accepted the butterfly lantern I offered her.

"Engkau laksana bulan, tinggi di-atas kayangan," crooned Hamid in Malay. It was one of P. Ramlee's famous songs and it meant, "Exquisite like the moon, you stand high above the rest." She did.

I enjoyed the moonlight nights very much. Did you?

A Happy Mid- Autumn Festival to all in Singapore and across the seas.

Symbolic illusion to the moon underlines the dominating power of the feminine. So, just to tickle your mind a little, could it be a power to which a little boy may have felt exposed?

This posting specially invites readers to comment about their own moon festival experience.
                                             Fascination: Sung by Nat Cole.

The Moon Cake Festival, Zhong Qiu Jie or Harvest Moon Festival falls on: 27th September, 2015.

Article is original and under a copyright.

In The Full Moon Flowers Blossom - Yue Yuan, Hua Hao - Zhou Xuan
Song: Yan Hua / Word: Fan Yanqiao

The floating scattered clouds
The bright moon shines as people
Gather today for a happy reunion

Clean and shallow ponds
Mandarin ducks play in the water
Red skirts and emerald caps
Devoted married couples like lotus flowers 
Open in pairs, mutual love between spouses

The soft wind blows onto the beautiful flowers
Blowing with much warmth and affection 
Among the people

(Very close but not literal translation; suitable for the English ear.)

Aeroplane Lantern - 1960's  [Image: Mun Chor Seng (c)]

How moon cakes are packaged today

The frills cost a lot more; a box of four cakes will cost S$60 while an elaborate package of ten will cost S$120.

The mooncakes are filled with lotus n yolk, lotus n cranberries,  lotus n macadamia,  lotus n melon seeds, jasmine, black sesame, etc.


Images: Google, Mun Chor Seng and Personal Collection.
1. Chinese greeting.
2. Hal Borland - Nature journalist, poet, writer.
3. Song; Fascination (1932) sung by Nat Cole; composed by Fermo Dante Marchetti and Dick Manning (English version).  It became pop in later years with the movie, Love in the Afternoon (1957) starring Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper.
4.  William Shakespeare; A Midsummer Night's Dream.
You Tube Video: chakrasXXX.
5. Zhou Xuan: In the Full Moon, Flowers Blossom You Tube Video: cdman88.

25th September, 2015 Friday.

The haze has been bad and has lasted for more than a week. Many Singaporeans stay indoors. Worse, it has gone out of control and many people in the region are suffering from the problem.  Indonesia, who has been providing us with the unwanted great smoke from the sky, doesn't seem to have done much to stop this sky pollution which has been going on for years!
"While the sun struggles to survive its choking cousin
The moaning moon whispers, "Love thy neighbour..."

People who celebrate the Moon Cake Festival will probably be experiencing a Moan Cake Terrible.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

'Fabulous Echoes' Once Called 'The Rock n Rollers'

The Untold Event About HK's Top Filipino Band

On 7th September, 2015, Ernest Dizon (left) wrote to me on the Comment page in my Fabulous Echoes posting  dated *Monday 18th May, 2009.  

He must have a reason for writing this short but interesting personal tale about Hong Kong's well-known Filipino group from the 1960's of which he was a member. 

Although I found some difficulty editing his story (especially where the informational pieces are concerned) I thought it best if I published the article and hope he would write again to verify certain items. I thank Mr Dizon for the note and for taking us back to those years when Sri Lanka was Ceylon. 

The letter has been edited for ease of read:
"The original name of the Fabulous Echoes were The Rock n Rollers and the very original members were Ernie Dizon, my brother Reny Dizon and the three Ruivivar brothers.

We started for fun on a hot summer day when we went up the roof on Kimberley Road (Hong Kong) and started singing and harmonizing. During one of our fun practices, the band leader Tony suggested that we started a proper band. So we rehearsed daily in all seriousness.
One day an agent from Sri Lanka introduced himself as an employer looking for a band to play in Ceylon.  That's the old name for Sri Lanka.  So to make my story short we managed to get the contract and boarded the ship that we were supposed to play in. It was called, **MV Victoria, The Lloyd Triestino.  We loaded our instruments into our room on the ship and for the first contract. Believe it or not, we were nine days at sea.

I was the first to notice Sri Lanka in the distance when we were about to land because I could not sleep and went up on deck to enjoy the breeze. I saw a light house on the Northern tip, got excited and started calling the other members of our band.   In the meantime, all the other passengers were clapping and shouting because we had arrived in Ceylon after a rather long and weary sea journey.  
We played at the Orchid Room and the Green Room (location not mentioned).  In a sudden twist of fate which robbed us of a chance to go to Europe our boss Donovan Andre passed away because of an ailment. He was planning to combine our cabaret acts into one single production.  Fate awaits no one and sad to say, we took a KLM airline back to Hong Kong!

We truly regretted the loss of our boss.  He was such a pleasant, humble person and so simple in his ways.  He was also very kind to us. We stayed in Wallace Place in Colpya, Sri Lanka (unidentified location).  It was a very memorable trip for all of us."
But the rather tragic story did not stop the members from carrying on to become the fabulous group that it was afterwards. 

Thanks again Mr Dizon for the very generous contribution and the story that not many people know about. Please write in again if you read this posting.


The Fabulous Echoes were just as famous as the Filipino group D'Starlights here in Singapore 60's.


"On board it is as if you were staying at a Riviera hotel ... On this small but complete floating city, passengers will have the opportunity of spending their days absolutely free of care without any need to forego their most cherished habits."   Built in 1953, it was sold and ended its service in 1974.

Images: Ernest Dizon Google+; Google.
You Tube Video: from shatinterry.


SLIP NOTE: 15th September, 2015.
Breaking News:
Clean City Singapore Smothered By Others

The haze in this region seems to be getting worse year by year. At its most unhealthy level last night @ PSI 240+.  A neighbouring country doesn't seem to be able to do much controlling it. When Singapore offered assistance their authorities turned it down.  Perhaps a little bit of soap for face, and lots of water for fire, might help? I have a piece of advice, "Jangan suka dong, malu malu kucing... (pop 60's Indonesian song)."

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Top Election Years and Pop Selection Gears 60s-70s

Election Day 2015
The Singapore Parliamentary General Election 2015 will be held on Friday, 11th September. Election fever is high as many people are gearing towards the big day to vote.  Green fields are packed nightly as the crowds throng to these open areas to listen to what candidates for this season are going to rant, chant, promise or present during these hustings.

I am not qualified to write about any election topic since I'm no poli-tikus (Malay: political rat or the coffee-shop humbug; an endearment actually). What I have done for this posting was to connect the Singapore General Election results between 1960's and 1970's with song hits in the same period using four simple tables taken from Billboard Hot 100 Number 1 Singles of 1965, 1968, 1972 and 1976.

Singapore left the Federation of Malaya and became an independent and sovereign nation on 9th August 1965. The Barisan Sosialis boycotted the first session of parliament and on 8th October 1966 announced the resignation of all its nine members, leaving the People's Action Party (PAP) with a monopoly. 

(image from Mun Chor Seng above: monochrome TV showing Pasir Panjang Constituency where PAP candidate Othman Wok had highest votes).
August 7"I'm Henry VIII, I Am"Herman's Hermits
August 14"I Got You Babe"Sonny & Cher
August 21
August 28
September 4"Help!"The Beatles
September 11
September 18

Now let's look at the top tunes for 9th August. Herman (Peter Noone) was at the top of the hit parade, while Mr. LKY couldn't have been singing, "I'm Harry the First, I am," because he had a lot to do then.  Our new MPs in 1965 could have been echoing, "I Got you Babe," when they took over the whole of parliament that year. Jubilation! So were Sonny and Cher.
"Help!" was another top tune n 1965. Did The Beatles movie help in the song's success? Or did it help to sell marijuana?  "A hell of a lot of pot was being smoked while we were making the film. That helped make it a lot of fun," remarked Ringo Starr. 

In Singapore it was otherwise because a total ban and tough stand on marijuana (ganja) and drugs by the anti-narcotics bureau, under the direction of the government, kept the island clean. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (1967) and "Yellow Submarine" (1966) were banned. Was "Help"?
April 13"Honey"Bobby Goldsboro
April 20
April 27
May 4
May 11
May 18"Tighten Up"Archie Bell & the Drells
May 25
June 1"Mrs. Robinson"Simon & Garfunkel
June 8
June 15
Singapore held its first general election as an independent nation on 13th April 1968, with the PAP taking all parliamentary seats in 58 constituencies and garnering 84.4 percent of total votes cast. 

Garnering all the parliamentary seats was a winning gold for the People's Action Party with a pot of honey as the prize. By coincidence, on the hit parade, Goldsboro's "Honey" hit gold too, for five consecutive weeks.  This song is still a personal favourite. Some friends considered the song too boring. Like in parliament; who's going to debate with whom?
While sensuous Mrs Robinson became as popular on record with Simon n Garfunkel and won Grammy Awards, the movie, The Graduate won Academy Awards as well.  When the film was shown in Singapore, the hot topic was its "sexiness". Middle-aged Bancroft pulled up her skirt, revealed her legs and showed them to a young under-grad. And it was sexy? Well, it happened in the last century. Made Dustin Hoffman a super star.

Who's Archie Bell?

Five opposition parties – the Barisan Sosialis, the Workers’ Party, the People’s Front, the United National Front and Pertubohan Kebangsaan Melayu Singapura (PKMS) – contested the next general election held on 2nd September 1972.

The ruling PAP campaigned on its record of effective government and repeated its success by again taking all 65 parliamentary seats, representing 69.02 percent of total votes cast. Did Parliament House whisper, "Baby don't get hooked on me." Mac Davis did.
September 2"Alone Again (Naturally)"Gilbert O'Sullivan
September 9
September 16"Black and White"Three Dog Night
September 23"Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me"Mac Davis
September 30
October 7
October 14"Ben"Michael Jackson
October 21"My Ding-a-Ling"Chuck Berry
October 28
On the same September 2nd, O'Sullivan made his hit. I still prefer his other song, "Clair" but then "Alone Again, (Naturally)" was appropriate. Like the MPs in 1972 who were alone again, naturally, won all seats.  The hit songs those years seemed to have been mysteriously reflecting the MPs battle cries.

If you look at the chart above, Three Dog Night came afterwards with Black and White. I love it with its simple rhythmic and repetitive lyrics.  Like a lot of advertisement jingles the message delivers. But Berry's, *"My Ding-A-Ling" is extremely naughty. On the other hand MJ's "Ben" is a real tear-jerker. Even today, it hits the heart like a ton of cement.
These songs were my choices but by September 1972 and in my own personal interest I decided to get serious with my studies. With two other selected candidates I left for New Zealand in February 1973, under a Colombo Plan Scholarship. 

How appropriate the song because the course we attended had students from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Fiji and NZ:

The ink is black, the page is white 
Together we learn to read and write 
A child is black, a child is white 
The whole world looks upon the sight 
A beautiful sight.

In NZ three other hits from 1972 stayed glued in my mind, even up till today because these songs were played practically every day and every where in Wellington. Beautiful Sunday, Me and Mrs Jones, Killing Me Softly With His Song and Mother and Child Reunion. Only Roberta Flack's Killing Me is a '73 song.
After I came home from Kiwiland it was election time again and another winning streak for the ruling folks. The PAP repeated its success in the 1976 general election held on 23rd December when it won all 53 seats uncontested, thus sweeping all 69 parliamentary seats. The party’s share of the popular vote increased to 72.4 percent.  By then I was involved in my work with young adults and hardly had time for political chats and popular songs.
November 13"Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)"Rod Stewart
November 20
November 27
December 4
December 11
December 18
December 25
Coming back to the number one song in December that year, Stewart's hit could have mimicked the joyous atmosphere during an evening's celebration by the ruling party (if they had one that evening) and, "Tonight's the night, gonna be alright!" Like the dominant Stewart with his only pop hit those seven weeks (see chart), the same political group held the fort for another four years.

The following general election after 1976 was on 23 December, 1980 and beyond the period of this blog and its pop song coverage.

So there you are dear readers. If you remember a song to connect with a particular election year and an incident you remember, do write in. Especially if it was between 1960 and 1980.
On the evening of 11th September 2015, you will sing with a special joy because, that night's "the night" when the results are out and everything's "gonna be alright" for the next five years. Hopefully!

So please vote wisely on 9/11. Remember once you vote there is no, "Lagi sekali (one more time)".

“This above all: to thine own self be true, 
And it must follow, as the night the day, 
Thou canst not then be false to any man.” 

- William Shakespeare, 'Hamlet'

You Tube Video by: J.K.elley

Images: Google and Mun Chor Seng (copyrights).

*NB: It is possible that some of the above songs were banned in Singapore those years and would not have been played on air. Let me know.

An original article.


11th September, 2015.

Polling Day Today:

9/11 and those eligible are going to cast their votes today. Lines of people who wish to go early were ready with their identity cards or passports and polling slips this morning as the special stations all over the island were opened at 8.00 am to receive the more than 2.4 million Singaporeans.

Election Results:

The outcome of the GE2015 will be made known after 8.00 pm tonight on local TV and other media outlets.  Check it out.

Latest News:

The ruling pop group hits the right notes and won the Award again by winning most of the seats in the Singapore Parliamentary Elections 2015. Congratulations to the People's Action Party and PM Lee Hsien Loong.