One of the reasons why Biddy Low, Han Thon and I took time to speak to three of our most respected and well-known musicians – before publichouse.sg went online on 1 September this year – was because we believe in the talents of our Singaporean musicians and wondered what could be done to help them in whatever ways we can. (You can watch the video which resulted from that interview here.)
Often, Singaporeans shy away from our own talents – especially our musicians, until they make it big elsewhere first. It is a crying shame, really, that we seek validation from others for our own talents before we support them.
Some may blame this – as usual – on the ever-convenient punching-bag, the government and point the finger in that direction.
But the truth is more personal than that.
Whenever we hear the word “local” or the words “local band” or “local musician”, we instantaneously form a stereotypical image in our minds. “They are lousy”, “They have no standards”, “They can’t play”, etc.
Again, the truth is quite far from that. If you were at last year’s and this year’s Baybeats Music Festival at Marina, you would know that our bands are pretty good, in fact. To be honest, I was quite blown away by what I heard. Even though I am not a fan of heavy metal music, the metal bands were awesome, for example.
I was thus very happy to watch this video and see and hear Member of Parliament, Indranee Rajah, give her support to future concerts in the parks, particularly at Tiong Bahru Park, which is within Ms Rajah’s purview as MP. She was there to give her support to the first-ever such concert there, featuring Singaporean musicians.
“As you can see from the response, I think people really do like it,” she told publichouse.sg. “And I think that there is actually a demand for this. You have it in other countries, not so much in Singapore, but if we can do it, organise it well, and give our bands the exposure that they need, I think that would be a good thing to do.”
Kudos to Ms Rajah, and I am sure the musicians will be heartened to hear this.
I also feel that this is one of those things which will make Singapore and Singaporeans proud – that we have our own talents, are able to hear them play and support them, right at our doorstep.
We don’t need posh venues like the Esplanade, though the Baybeats concert were really awesome. We only need some grass and merciful weather.
All these years, our musicians have struggled because no one thinks highly of them. It is felt that they are not up to the mark. But the irony is that without venues and avenues to play and be heard regularly, the bands have little practice and to improve.
Thus, if we are serious about nurturing our own talents, lets give them the space, the platforms, and the support for them to express what is innate in them. Lets stoke that passion and fan it into something which will light up our hearts.
The talent is there. It would be a massive shame and an utter injustice to not support them – especially when we have the means to.
To all our musicians, keep at it. Don’t give up. Keep banging away and the day will come.