Japanese, Spanish and Fijian national anthems, the internationale and a pro-democracy Umbrella Movement song were among the submissions at a “patriotic” singing competition held at a local secondary school. The goal of the competition on April 25 was to “promote understanding of patriotism and nationalism”, but the contest did not specify what country the entries were meant to praise.

It was the first such competition hosted by the Liberal Studies, History and Chinese History clubs of the Sing Yin Secondary School, a catholic boy’s school sponsored by the Divine Word Missionaries. Clips of the competition were posted on one of the school’s community Facebook pages, before they were picked up by a popular radio host and online personality.

https://youtu.be/n9uYlBeeE44

The student host was wearing a green hat of the People’s Liberation Army throughout the competition, but students were apparently making fun of Chinese patriotism as the event kicked off with the Japanese national anthem.

Other national anthems performed included China’s and Jamaica’s.

“I wanted to join this contest, so I searched on Wiki which country’s anthem was easy to sing, then I found the Jamaican one,” a student told the audience as he was laughing. “I only know Jamaica is famous for [Usain] Bolt.”

Another student “sang” the Spanish national anthem, which officially has no lyrics. He followed the melody and sang “da” throughout the song.

https://youtu.be/6whvQMYkVNc

Some did perform Chinese patriotic songs such as Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China, but students at the back burst out laughing.

One sang the classic propaganda song Follow the example of Comrade Lei Feng, though he performed the theme music of American professional wrestler John Cena before the song.

Some unusual choices included a student singing a Japanese song reflecting on the country’s past militarism. It was originally performed by Hatsune Miku, a humanoid persona voiced by a singing synthesizer computer application.

A group of three students sang Uphold the Umbrella, a song that was popular during the 2014 Occupy protests. It won the contest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8WaRXdXgvU

The competition was judged by three teachers of the school.

“I feel this was not a singing competition… I appreciate the courage of some students,” one said. “It would be better if such courage could be shown in other aspects.”

“I could not hear the singing skills, but it was very entertaining,” she added. “You are not really following the topic though, what is the relationship between the songs and patriotism and nationalism? You have not explained that.”

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.