Channel NewsAsia

Google honours Singapore national anthem composer Zubir Said

The search giant created a doodle on its website commemorating the man renowned for composing Singapore's national anthem, Majulah Singapura, on what would have been his 107th birthday on Tuesday (July 22).

SINGAPORE: On what would have been his 107th birthday, local composer Zubir Said - best known for composing Singapore's national anthem - received a digital homage: His own Google Doodle.

The personalised caricature of Zubir Said in front of the Google logo can be seen on both the Singapore and international version of the search engine's website. Users who click on the caricature are redirected to search hits for Zubir Said, with the Wikipedia entry on the composer as the first entry. 

Google told Channel NewsAsia that the logo was created only for Google.com.sg.

A Google spokesperson said: "We decided to honour Mr Said, an entirely self-taught musician and composer who wrote Majulah Singapura (Onward Singapore). Besides being known for his musical gifts, he also had a heart of gold, helping adopted families and friends as much as he could even though his own family wasn't very well-to-do.

"We wanted to celebrate this beloved man's spirit and legacy on Google Singapore's homepage today," the spokesperson added.

The composer was born July 22, 1907, in the town of Bukit Tinggi in Minangkabau, Central Sumatra. Mr Zubir was the eldest of a family of three boys and five girls, and as a boy, taught himself to play musical instruments such as the flute and guitar. At the age of 21, in 1928, he left home for Singapore to forge a career in music against his father's wishes.

He began his music career with a Malay opera group, but only received his first public recognition as a composer when his songs were performed at the Victoria Theatre in 1957, In 1958, the song he composed - Majulah Singapura - was picked to become Singapore's national anthem.

In 1995, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award conferred by the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore. He died on Nov 16, 1987, at the age of 80, leaving behind four daughters and a son.

The Google Doodle was lauded on social networking site Facebook. One of those who did was local musician Inch Chua, who posted: "Thanks Google for honouring Zubir Said today! Happy birthday Mr. Said #singapore #sgrepresent"

Ms Chua had in 2010 paid tribute to the composer by doing a cover of the national anthem. Below is the YouTube video:

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