Composer, 250 orphans invited to perform ‘Count On Me, Singapore’ on independence day

A picture of Joseph, his pug and the orphans superimposed on a photo of the Singapore independence parade in 2016. Photos: Joey Mendoza
A picture of Joseph, his pug and the orphans superimposed on a photo of the Singapore independence parade in 2016. Photos: Joey Mendoza

Seems like there’s no bad blood between Singapore and the Indian composer who ignited the whole squabble over who penned the national hymn Count On Me, Singapore last month.

The culture ministry announced today that the Singapore Orchestra Society will collaborate with Joseph Mendonza in a virtual performance of his rendition of the anthem under the name We Can Achieve and another famous 2001 hit Home in this year’s parade in August. Mendonza will be backed up by orphans from St. Joseph orphanage in Mumbai, India, where he is currently working as a music teacher. 

“We are aware of the backlash that Joey Mendoza received from Singapore for falsely claiming rights to Count On Me, Singapore but are flattered that the song provided comfort to the people of India,” Culture Minister Larry Wong wrote today.

“As he has admitted his fault, we are inviting Joey and his team from the orphanage to perform a medley of songs with the Singapore Orchestra Society chorus at this year’s NDP so as not to promote any hostility between our ties with India.”

Parade reps under NDPeople added that the lyrics of the songs performed by over 100 ensemble members at the event, which will be held virtually again this year, will be “tweaked accordingly to suit both countries as the messages behind the tunes are universal.”

The segment will be similar to the recording of Home by hundreds of Singaporeans when Singapore was under lockdown last April. Mendonza’s pug will also make a special appearance.

Previously, the ministry revised its statement from saying it was investigating potential copyright infringement to how it was happy the song had “struck a chord” with the people of India, before taking the matter seriously when Singapore belted out criticism at him online. Even original composer Hugh Harrison had to come forward to address the matter, confirming that he is the man behind the song.

Hugh has not responded to Coconuts’ queries requesting for comment regarding the NDP collaboration.

The week-long saga eventually ended when Mendonza fessed up to lying about the 250 orphans he had as evidence to his songwriting, and apologized to Singapore for causing the ruckus. 

The virtual performance will take place online on Aug. 9, roughly four months away from today –  April Fools’ Day. 

Mr Joey Mendoza had earlier claimed that he wrote “We Can Achieve”, a song that is practically identical to “Count on…

Posted by Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth – MCCY on Saturday, 20 March 2021

Other stories you should check out:

Singapore victorious in song squabble over ‘untenable’ authorship claims
‘Puzzled’ Singaporean officials waiting on proof Indian composer wrote patriotic anthem
250 orphans are ‘living proof’ my song came before ‘Count On Me Singapore’: Indian composer
Indian teacher called out for copying patriotic Singapore song removes video



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