Violin player serving stay-home notice at Rasa Sentosa sends message with rendition of Home

SINGAPORE – As people applauded the efforts of those on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus at 8pm on Monday (March 30) from doors and windows across Singapore, a lone violinist on the balcony of the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa played the sweet strains of unofficial national anthem Home.

The two-minute long video of the violinist, posted on the hotel’s Facebook page, has since made the rounds on social media, garnering over 43,000 views, and has been shared by the likes of former foreign minister George Yeo.

Student Jaz Loh, 22, is behind the heartwarming gesture. She is serving out her mandatory 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) at the hotel, along with other returning Singaporeans.

The third-year dentistry student at Britain’s Newcastle University returned on March 26 with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Singapore Airlines.

“I feel it’s a song with a lot of meaning, and one that everyone would recognise and relate to,” says Ms Loh, who has been playing the violin since she was five years old.

“Even as Singaporeans abroad, the song brings us a sense of comfort and familiarity while being in a foreign country.”

The reaction from the public has been unexpected and overwhelming.

User Tien Goh was among those who commented, saying: “Personally, I really like this song very much. Pulls my heartstrings and feel so emotional every time I hear it. Almost teary kind of touched. Together, we will get through this. #SGUnited”

Ms Loh says: “I took out my violin to play as a tribute to the workers and to entertain my fellow SHN friends, and also because I’ve been cooped up here for a few days, but I really did not expect it to blow up like that.”

It was also to send the message to Singaporeans “that the least they can do is to stay home”.

She adds: “As a young person, I had the perception that we’re not susceptible to this virus – but this virus doesn’t care about your race, your age or your gender.

“We are asked to do our part and stay home to stop this virus from spreading. It’s nothing compared to what the front-line workers are doing for us, selflessly putting themselves at risk everyday.”

Ms Loh is no stranger to music: An older sibling plays the violin professionally, while two others play the piano and cello recreationally; and she had performed at ChildAid in 2012. The concert raises funds for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, both of which aid students from low-income families.

Her rendition of Home was inspired by a fellow SHN resident who has been playing the Chinese flute from his balcony.

“He does it every evening around 6pm, and everyone comes out to watch him play and claps for him. We may not be at home, but it brings out the kampung spirit,” she says.

With several days left to go of their isolation, a collaboration might be in the works.

She says: “I posted a video of the uncle on my Instagram and a lot of people have asked me to do a duet with him. Who knows what might come out of it these next few days?”

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