Epilogue: the NDP Fun Pack song aftermath

July 9th, 2011 | by Chan Chi-Loong

“Kopi-O-o-o-o-o-o…” will forever be indelibly etched into our nation’s psyche.

Unless you’ve been off meditating in a mountain monastery this week, there is no way you would have missed out all the hoopla on the fun pack song debacle.

After everything has been said and done, it seems that the song will be dropped from the upcoming NDP content — not an entirely surprising result, given the ire it drew from Netizens.

What’s more interesting to me is how the story spread in social media, and the importance of social media as a collective way to surface issues.

Even though Sony tried to squelch the burgeoning story by killing the original video from YouTube, which has been disabled due to a “copyright claim by Sony ATV Publishing”, it has not stopped clones from spouting up with exactly the same content.

How any company can claim “copyright” over a heavily modified song, taped by a participant in a public arena is beyond me.

And as a strategy it’s ineffective, because the story has already been uncorked from the proverbial bottle, and spread beyond containment.

It speaks volumes on how Sony ATV tried to control the message. For example, over-zealous minders tried to prevent journalists and bloggers from asking Lady Gaga — in town for a concert last Friday night — questions about the NDP song in question.

When she finally did say something, I thought she tackled the potentially thorny issue quite well.

Newsflash: When things draw such big viral buzz from the ground up, if you think you can contain it, you’re certainly going to be disabused. Perhaps prior to it being reported on our main daily Straits Times front home page, but definitely not after.

The song has also spawned a ton of parodies, and below are just a sample:

And that is only on Youtube, not to mention the ton of forums, tweets and Facebook mentions the topic has garnered.

What IS up with the fun pack song?

For those who can’t understand why the fun pack song is drawing so much hatred, the answer is that it is not just a “humourous and light-hearted” song to draw audience participation at our national day parade, as described on the official NDP Facebook channel.

National day is about patriotism, not drawing attention to the crassly materialistic, as rightly argued by David Lim in a MyPaper story.

Aside from the fact that it’s plain bad, it’s in really bad taste, and I’m offended that the organizers would think this would make me more engaged as a Singaporean in the National day celebrations. And the “Bad Romance” Fun pack song rip-off was just the worst of the lot.

I’m not convinced that this year’s celebrations is in good taste, looking at some of the other videos of the previous rehearsal. What has Wonder Girl’s “Nobody” and Abba’s “Dancing Queen” anything to do with National Day? I mean, seriously?

The only saving grace this year is the theme song “In a Heartbeat”.

That, and the fact that this issue, like the general election 2011 before that, proves that Singaporeans are not apathetic about our country. We do care, and social media has given us the platform to make our views loud and clear.

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