SINGAPORE — The Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) has asked an Indian composer, who claims to have written a song virtually identical to a Singapore national song, to substantiate his claims.
Replying to a query from Yahoo News Singapore, MCCY said in a reply which it also posted on its Facebook page, "We are aware that a song titled 'We Can Achieve' that bears striking similarity in tune and lyrics to our national song “Count on Me, Singapore” has been circulating on the Internet. The government holds the copyright to the music and lyrics of 'Count on Me, Singapore'."
"Arising from this, a Mr Joey Mendoza has asserted that he wrote 'We Can Achieve' in 1983, before 'Count on Me, Singapore' was created in 1986. Given that the two songs, and their lyrics, are practically identical, and that we hold the copyright to 'Count on Me, Singapore', we are puzzled by this claim," the ministry said. "We have thus contacted Mr Mendoza to invite him to substantiate his claims. We are still waiting for his response."
This comes after Mendoza's version, "Count On Me, India", posted on YouTube last year, came to attention in the past few days. The rendition replaces the word "Singapore" with "India' or "Mother India". The video has since been taken down.
Which song came first?
"Count On Me, Singapore" was performed by local singer Clement Chow and composed by Canadian songwriter Hugh Harrison, who also wrote "Stand Up for Singapore" and "We are Singapore".
In a statement on Tuesday, Mendoza claimed that 250 orphans had performed the song in 1983. He said he wrote it while teaching music at an orphanage in Mumbai, where he is based.
He then sold the rights to the song to Pauline India, a Christian book and record store, and the song was recorded in 1999.
Pauline India has since apologised for the substantial copying and has taken the song off its platforms.
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