Haresh Sharma (of Fun Pack Song): Not contactable for comment?!

Haresh Sharma. Yes, you must be wondering what kind of person he is. He must be a man without fear. Just awe at the audacity of 'modifying' Lady Gaga song, Bad Romance to suit the National Day Parade celebration this year with the monstrous piece called, "Fun Pack Song".

National Library Singapore has this info on Haresh Sharma:
Haresh Sharma is the Resident Playwright of The Necessary Stage, Singapore. A critically-acclaimed playwright, he has written more than 40 short and full-length plays that have been staged in Singapore as well as abroad like Berlin, Birmingham, and London. He is the winner of the Singapore Literature Prize in 1993 for Still Building. In 1997, he was conferred the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council for his literary contribution.

Career as a full-time writer
Upon graduation from NUS in 1990, Sharma began his tenure as Resident Playwright of TNS, a position he still holds till today. He was also the first full-time staff of the theatre company. On average, he writes three to four plays a year for TNS' main season of plays. This is excluding plays he writes for TNS' youth festivals and school programmes.

Sharma's plays have been critically acclaimed. In 1993, he was conferred the Singapore Literature Prize (Merit) for his play, Still Building. The published collection of the same title also won him a National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) Book Prize (Commendation) in 1996. Still Building was chosen to represent Singapore at the 1992 Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre and in Glasgow, Scotland for Mayfest 1994. It was also staged in London's Albany Theatre that year.

Sharma has been presented fellowships and grants by the British Council, the United States Information Service and Asia-Europe Foundation. In 1994, he won a Shell/National Arts Council Scholarship to pursue Master of Arts (Playwriting) at the University of Birmingham. Returning in Singapore in 1995, he continued his residency at TNS. Sharma received the NAC Young Artist Award for theatre in 1997.

Sharma also plays an active role in sharing his playwriting experience and talents with young artists. He has written plays for school assemblies, participated in mentor schemes, run theatre workshops and tutors in the Theatre Studies Department at the National University of Singapore. He has received commissions to write plays. For instance, the Ministry of Health commissioned the play Off Centre, a play he wrote about mental illness, and Revelations was commissioned by the NAC. In addition, his plays have been studied locally and internationally, for instance at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada. In 2006, in an effort to introduce more local literature into the GCE O-level literature syllabus, the Ministry of Education selected Off Centre as an O-level literature text - the first Singaporean play to become an O-level text.

Apart from writing, Sharma is also an adjunct tutor for the Theatre Studies course at the National University of Singapore.

Impressive, really! Which even makes it incredible how he allowed the Fun Pack Song to be part of the parade, yes?

Introducing the daredevil, Haresh Sharma (the clip is of that from last year Singapore Arts Festival):

He's telling his play titled, "Those Who Can't, Teach".

Guess in this year Singapore Arts Festival, Haresh Sharma might pen another play inspired by the scandalous "Fun Pack Song". Hmm...how about that play is titled, "Those Who Can't (Create An Original Song for National Day Parade), Modify!".

Yeah, that might sell better. Heh.

Singaporeans are dying of news. Despite the unhappiness caused by this funless "Fun Pack Song", many are gleeful of how incredible the whole situation can be. Even in the latest Channel News Asia article, the Ministry of Defence said it did not realise that the rights obtained did not include rights to modify the lyrics of the song. Colonel Ong Tze-Ch'in, chairman of the NDP 2011 Show Committee, said: "We're in the process of working with the recording and publishing company to try to secure the rights to modify the lyrics and until then we will not perform the song.

Well said, Colonel Ong. It's an honest mistake. That happens.

Still we'd like to hear Haresh Sharma's comment himself. Is this his way of creating more buzz to the NDP this year? Or is he personally looking forwards for a confrontation with Lady Gaga herself? Ra ra, Ooh la la...

Till then, enjoy this "Bad Romance" song the Glee-version.

The organizers of Singapore’s National Day Parade have found themselves the object of ridicule after they modified the lyrics of a Lady Gaga hit to create a song about the parade’s goodie bag.

They performed the ditty, called the Fun Pack Song, once at last Saturday’s rehearsal for the parade, and had planned to repeat it for the pre-parade segment on Aug 9.

The clip of the performance of the song, which modifies the lyrics of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, has gone viral and been panned by netizens on YouTube.

Last night, the parade organizers said they had secured the public performance permit for a series of songs, including that hit.

‘But we did not realize that the rights obtained did not include rights to modify the lyrics of the song. We are currently working to rectify this,’ said the chairman of the NDP show segment, Col. Ong Tze-Ch’in, in a statement on Tuesday night.

He did not specify the kind of rectification to be made, but it is understood that the Fun Pack Song will not be performed until a go-ahead is obtained from the publisher of the song and Lady Gaga’s recording company.

The Defense Ministry had issued the statement in response to The Straits Times’ queries about the video clip.

Netizens have panned the Fun Pack Song as ‘unoriginal,’ ‘a disgrace’ and ‘absolute rubbish,’ among other things.

As at 12.30 a.m. this morning, the video had garnered more than 17,000 views, with more than 70 ‘likes’, more than 2,000 ‘dislikes’ and close to 900 comments. Video clips of other segments of last Saturday’s rehearsal that were put up on YouTube the same day attracted 3,000 views at most by late last night.

Undergraduate Low Wei Xiang, 22, said NDP organizers are ‘trying too hard to reach out to the young and look cool’.

The Nanyang Technological University student added: ‘Sitting through this song makes me cringe. I’d be embarrassed if my friends abroad see or hear it.’

The lyric writer, veteran local playwright Haresh Sharma, could not be reached yesterday.

He is behind the script for this year’s NDP show segment, which will be staged as a 21/2-hour musical starring local artists Sharon Au and Timothy Nga.

Mr Sharma, 45, the resident playwright of theater company The Necessary Stage, has won multiple Best Script awards at the Life! Theater Awards.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, NDP creative director Beatrice Chia-Richmond said every year, the NDP hosts introduce the items in the fun packs to spectators, and that the Fun Pack Song was “a fresh and light-hearted way to do so.”

It was penned to reflect the “musical concept of NDP 2011,” she added.

This year’s parade is organized by the Singapore Armed Forces’ Headquarters Singapore Combat Engineers, to the theme of ‘Majulah! The Singapore Spirit’. Majulah is Malay for ‘onward.’

Last year’s NDP creative director Dick Lee, 54, commented that the song may be ‘inappropriate’ for the nation’s birthday: ‘Why do we need to sing about biscuits, sweets and Newater? It’s not worth celebrating these items in a bag.’

Speaking to The Straits Times earlier yesterday, he had also raised the copyright issue.

“You cannot just take somebody’s hit song and change the lyrics. If I were Lady Gaga, I wouldn’t be very pleased,” said the musician and founder of production company Fantastic Entertainment.

Just by chance, Lady Gaga, 25, will be here tomorrow to perform Bad Romance and her other hits as part of an exclusive showcase for more than 2,000 SingTel customers.

From Jakarta Globe, "Lady Gaga Rip-Off Ridiculed by Singapore Netizens".

National Day Parade (NDP) organisers said they are now trying to secure the rights to perform a modified version of Lady Gaga's hit single 'Bad Romance' in the pre-parade segment.

This came after it emerged that organisers did not obtain rights to modify the lyrics even though they had secured a public performance permit for the original song.

The song has become controversial on social media after a video was uploaded on YouTube, with only about 100 'likes' but more than 3,000 'dislikes' as of 4pm Wednesday.

Called the Fun Pack Song, it was first performed during last Saturday's rehearsals to introduce items in the goodie bag.

It follows the tune of 'Bad Romance' but with modified lyrics.

The YouTube video drew more than 55,000 views and more than 1,300 comments as of July 6, 4pm since it was uploaded on July 2.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said it did not realise that the rights obtained did not include rights to modify the lyrics of the song.

Colonel Ong Tze-Ch'in, chairman of the NDP 2011 Show Committee, said: "We're in the process of working with the recording and publishing company to try to secure the rights to modify the lyrics and until then we will not perform the song.

"We'll revert to the usual format of having the show host to announce the various Fun Pack items. Every year for NDP in the pre-parade segment, the show host always comes forward to introduce different Fun Pack items. So what we did this year is to try to do it in a fresh and light-hearted way because this year we're taking a musical concept, so we hoped for a fresh and light-hearted approach to introduce these Fun Pack items."

From Channel NewsAsia, "NDP organisers pull back modified version of Lady Gaga's song".


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