Taufik Batisah & his 'honest mistake' singing Singapore national anthem wrongly

The article was first published on 27 September 2009 at 2323 hrs. I'm impressed. MediaCorp was quick in their attempt to clarify with Taufik Batisah what the hell went wrong with his version of Singapore national anthem!

Local celebrity, Taufik Batisah who was given the opportunity to sing the national anthem during the Formula One Grand Prix tonight, made a mistake while doing so.

His televised performance was viewed by millions all over the world.

But instead of singing "marilah kita bersatu", which means "let us unite", he sang “marilah kita berseru" which means "let us proclaim".

Speaking to MediaCorp, Taufik said, he's very sorry for making the error.

He said he was very nervous while singing.

But the winner of the first season of Singapore Idol added that he's aware that there's no excuse for him to make such an error.

Taufik says he hopes that the public will forgive him for what he refers to as an "honest mistake."

From Channel NewsAsia, "Taufik Batisah apologises for Singapore national anthem error".

He spent a sleepless night mulling over a mistake that was heard by 100 million people live on TV.

It was to be the biggest moment in Taufik Batisah's life, the highlight of a career that took off when he became the first Singapore Idol five years ago.

But he goofed when it mattered most. And he did it while singing the national anthem.

His task was to sing Majulah Singapura before the final race of the F1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday night. Heart pounding, he went on stage and sang a jazzed-up version of Majulah Singapura.

Midway through the first chorus, however, he knew something had gone wrong.

'I didn't realise at the first 'berseru' that I'd sung the wrong word,' he said. It should have been 'bersatu' there.

It was when he sang 'berseru' a second time - where it is the right word - that it hit him.

'I felt this sick feeling in my stomach,' he said.

A rehearsal the night before had gone 'very well'.

Taufik, 27, said he had also been practising the song every day since he was picked for the honour about three weeks ago.

But on Sunday night, he said, nerves led him to sing 'berseru' (soar) instead of 'bersatu' (unite).

He made the mistake only once, though the chorus is repeated.

When he realised it, he said, he 'had to carry on'.

'Almost immediately, the cameraman got closer, so I really had to try and keep cool,' he said.

But he was far from that.

'Never in my wildest dreams, or nightmares, would I think of changing the lyrics,' he said.

He received text messages the moment he got off the stage, from friends and relatives who heard the error and wanted to know what had happened.

His brother, who was in the grandstand with some of Taufik's friends, was quick to reassure him.

But Taufik was in a daze.

'I was introduced to the Backstreet Boys and Chaka Khan, but I just felt so numb,' he said.

'I couldn't believe what I'd done.'

He did not sleep well later, taking only a 'short nap'. His Facebook fan page shows he was up at 2am, writing that he was 'very sad and disappointed'.

He reiterated that message to The New Paper, adding that he 'did not want to make excuses' for the mistake.

'There's nothing I can say that can explain it away,' he said. 'At this point, I'm just hoping Singapore will accept my apology.'

Taufik revealed that he is usually nervous before performances, but the feeling was 'amplified' this time because he knew he was singing to millions of people.

'I suppose it was a combination of things, trying to do the song my way, my nerves,' he said, before quickly repeating that there was no excuse for the mistake.

More than 100 comments poured in for him from fans on his Facebook page, most with the message that 'all humans err'.

Miss Kelly Chua, 27, thought the mistake was 'not unforgivable', but was 'certainly very embarrassing'.

'He's lucky because most of the people watching would not have spotted the mistake,' she said. 'But to a Singaporean, you just couldn't miss it.'

'Common mistake'

Netizens have mostly been critical of the flub.

'He had been singing the national anthem since Pri1 and still can get it wrong,' said one of them, Picnic06. Some thought the hullabaloo was 'petty'. Others pointed out it was a 'common mistake'.

'This 'marilah kita bersatu' instead of 'berseru' was emphasised several times when we were young,' said another, Dafansu.

Responding to the online criticism, Taufik said he was 'happy that people are patriotic about it'.

'I myself am very upset about this,' he said, sighing heavily.

Still, it hasn't put him off the idea of singing the national anthem again.

'I want to sing it again, but not to prove anything to anyone. I'm very proud of the anthem; I'm very proud of my country. It would be an honour if I were given the chance again,' he said.

From The New Paper, "TAUFIK'S NATIONAL ANTHEM BOO-BOO AT F1 | 'I felt this sick feeling in stomach'".


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