A Sociological Empath

SG Music: Tay Kewei x Alfred Sim on When Duty Calls 卫国先锋

Whereas the Ah Boys to Men National Service-themed franchise is catered to heartlander tastes, the Mediacorp Ch 8 drama <When Duty Calls 卫国先锋> is a relationship drama which shines with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) as intriguing subtext. While the latter’s pop-rock theme song《以刚克刚》 by Desmond Ng 黄振隆 and 邱锋泽 is suitably gung-ho, it is 《以为的以为》 which resounds the way subthemes ideally should.

Tay Kewei 郑可为 x Alfred Sim 沈志豪《以为的以为》<When Duty Calls 卫国先锋>

Alfred Sim is the reigning Project Superstar Star Awards Best Theme Song winner – for《最美的时光》in <If Only I Could 十年… 你还好吗?> – and his vocal delivery is no doubt reliable. Yet it is his wife Tay Kewei who enchanted me here.

There is a gentle yet crisp texture to her voice, which really shines in the stream of pitch switches in the choruses. In the harmonizing sections, her enunciation takes on a magnetic quality. This perfectly mirrors the inner tension of the female lead Paige Chua, who is hesitant about a new romance due to an ex-boyfriend who died tragically.

The celebrity couple had auditioned in the 4th season of <The Voice of China 中国好声音>, but were overlooked amidst strong competition. It’s a shame, considering how 4 Singaporean girls – including Joanna Dong 董姿彦 – have been picked this year (in an admittedly weaker field).

This is an excellent duet that stood out among recent others which perhaps also deserve mentions: 《信任指数》by Mediacorp regular Lin Si Tong 林思彤 and 杨敏 Yang Min in the preceding Ch 8 drama <Have A Little Faith 相信我>, as well as a classic remake《关怀新方式》by actors Desmond Tan 陈泂江 and Felicia Chin 陈凤玲 (complete with MV) in this highly-watchable SAF drama.

If you are feeling nostalgic for Mediacorp songs in recent years, check out these lists I’ve compiled for 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016!

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