Former radio DJ Divian Nair's viral video asks S’poreans if they would die for S’pore
A former radio DJ has a hit video online.
It is part of a new project that was launched on Monday called We Are Majulah.
The video, provocatively titled I Will Not Die For Singapore, is eight minutes of former 987FM radio DJ Divian Nair speaking to the camera.
With few special effects and underlaid with composer Arvo Part's Spiegel Im Spiegel, Nair delivers a rallying call for Singaporeans to come together to form a core identity.
He also explains the multicultural origins of the word "majulah".
On Facebook, the video has been watched at least 351,000 times and has nearly 10,000 shares.
Nair, 29, begins by saying he would not die for Singapore, and he believes other Singaporeans share this sentiment. He questions why this is the case before suggesting that things have to change.
The project's Facebook page says: "We Are Majulah is rooted by three principles - Courage, compassion and ownership."
Nair, who self-funded the project, said he has been overwhelmed by the reaction to this video. So far, the response has been "mostly positive", he told The New Paper.
"Our website has crashed at least four times since our video was launched last night and we did not expect that at all," he said.
Nair, who hosts daily sports show SuperSports 360, said the idea had been brewing for over a year and was sparked by people he met overseas.
He was inspired by their strong national identity - which he felt was lacking among Singaporeans here.
"When people overseas asked me why Singapore was so awesome, I just felt answers like great food wasn't going to cut it. After all, good food won't do anything for us as a nation," he said.
While the video has the look of a party political address, the website states it is "a completely apolitical civic initiative, not commissioned or funded by any body or organisation."
So what is We Are Majulah's goal?
"I hope this will eventually be the largest social and civic movement here. I want the word 'majulah' to permeate the culture and reinforce our identity as Singaporeans."
He wants the word to be used as "a bridge and unifying force that will make us put aside our differences".
"I hope one day when I'm at a coffee shop, I can just say 'majulah' to a coffeeshop uncle while ordering a coffee, and he will reply in kind."
The project intends to release more videos in the future and prompt more discussion.
Of course, there has been criticism. One Facebook user, Keith Lee, said: "Living in denial and trying to forcibly build a hollow identify under the unsustainable policies will not work out in the end."
Another said: "Just too orchestrated... (it's) plain vanilla propaganda".
Blogger Kirsten Han questioned why the Singaporean core identity has to be tied to one's willingness to die for Singapore.
Ms Han said: "I'm not... keen to die for Singapore. But that doesn't mean... I am not invested in this society and where we're all headed."
Mr Nair said these criticisms are valid, and in fact encourage him.
"I like that there is an active discussion. I like that we are all actively coming together to discuss how our national identity can be formed."
When people overseas asked me why Singapore was so awesome, I just felt answers like great food wasn't going to cut it. After all, good food won't do anything for us as a nation.
- Former 987FM radio DJ Divian Nair