The New Paper
Tuesday, Dec 8, 2015
Local singer Taufik Batisah has a wide fanbase thanks to his boyish good looks, charm and hit songs.
From six-year-olds dancing to his viral single #AwakKatMane to screaming teenage girls to weeping seniors, the local singer has seen it all.
But he never knew just what kind of impact he had on his older supporters until he released his latest Malay single Izinkanku (Allow Me) and its accompanying music video.
In it, he pays tribute to Singapore's pioneers who have played an integral role in nation-building.
The track was written and composed by Taufik and commissioned by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI). It was part of the Pioneer Generation Taskforce's continued efforts to communicate the benefits of the Pioneer Generation Package and MediShield Life to pioneers.
The chorus goes: "Allow me to be your hero / Allow me to try to repay you for all that you've done / You've struggled and given your all for me / Rest your weary heart / Allow me to take care of you."
The music video features five pioneers - teacher Wu Tze Kok, 68, housewife Siti Aisah Sulamee, 69, masonry worker Tay Nah, 66, policeman Keval Singh, 66, and nurse Goh Ah Tuah, 67 - against a black-and-white backdrop of Singapore's formative years.
It was officially released on Nov 27 and has attracted over 100,000 views.
Taufik, 33, told The New Paper yesterday: "I did a radio interview where many listeners were calling in. The women were about 40 to 60 years old.
"One caller started crying as she told me, 'Your song means so much to me. Every time I see the video on TV, I start crying because the lyrics are so meaningful'.
I thought to myself, 'Wow, that's so nice'. When I get reactions like that, it really fulfils me as a songwriter. Pioneers matter a lot because my 65-year-old mother is close to the same age group. So when MCI approached me about the project, I was excited."
Taufik drew inspiration for the song from his family members.
He said: "I thought about my mother and what she has done for my family and me.
"When I was younger, I didn't know the extent of my musician aunt Maria Bachok's popularity. Along with my late uncle, A. Ramlie, they were big in the local Malay music scene. They contributed to Singapore's music scene, which in turn allows me to do what I do today.
"Singapore has come a long way and I think it's great that the Government is recognising the people who were the building blocks of our nation."
MUSIC VIDEO MEANS A LOT TO HIM
He isn't the only star in the Izinkanku music video.
Taufik Batisah said: "What's beautiful about it is that the five individuals are not just actors but real-life pioneers. People recognise them and someone even commented on my Facebook page: 'That's the nurse who helped me through my delivery'."
Mr Keval Singh was a policeman for 34 years. He moved to Singapore from India with his family in 1956. Throughout primary and secondary school, Mr Keval remained a permanent resident. Finding it hard to attain citizenship, he wrote in to the respective government channels.
"I told them that it's my wish to protect and serve the nation. Within two weeks, I got the citizenship and joined the police force," he recalled. "I loved my job. I remember when Hotel New World collapsed, we saved a Chinese man who was bleeding when we pulled him out."
Mr Keval has been working as an operations manager in Beatty Secondary School for the past 13 years. He was approached by a former student of Beatty Secondary School, who happened to be a producer on the set of the Izinkanku music video.
"I've watched the video many times. I think it's great," he said.
"My grandchildren always play the video on their parents' phones. I was even congratulated by many of my friends. I'm also happy to have had the chance to meet Taufik and get to know him. He presents himself well and I think he's a very wonderful guy.
"The people behind the music video did a wonderful job. I feel good and appreciated. It meant a lot to me being a part of it."
Taufik, who is equally fond of his co-star, said: "I loved talking to him. Hearing stories from the older generation is always so interesting to me."
Another co-star, Madam Siti Aisah Sulamee, who has four children and seven grandchildren, said: "My family members have always been fans of Taufik and we are all very excited about this."
This article was first published on December 8, 2015.
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