Dayung Sampan

One of the many joys of working at Capella Singapore is being able to enjoy stunning views of the South China Sea.

This morning, as I was standing at Bob’s Bar, looking out across the sea, I couldn’t help but recall an old Singaporean folk song, Dayung Sampan.  Literally translated from Malay as ‘row the boat’, this traditional song shares the story of fearless immigrants traveling from China through violent storms to Singapore’s beautiful sunny shores. While the voyage was very dangerous, the travelers were spurred on by the promise of a better life. Today, the old sampan boats have long gone, but I have found that Sentosa Island is still the perfect place to reminisce on the splendor and dreams of the yesteryear.

In the 1880s, Singapore was a British colony and Sentosa Island was home to a British military fortress.  In fact, some of the buildings remain today.  For example, the old Officer’s Club has been restored and is now one of the main colonial buildings on Capella Singapore’s property.  Whenever I look at it, I can’t help but imagine the glamorous parties and celebrations that used to take place there!

In 1965, Singapore claimed its independence and over the years has developed into a world-class vacation destination.  Today, we continue to believe in maintaining the passion of our forbearers to constantly improve and recreate ourselves in the search for a better life.  So it is no surprise that Dayung Sampan continues to serve as a reminder of the human spirit’s ability to overcome trials and tribulations in order to create a more beautiful existence.

I leave you now with the lyrics and translation of Dayung Sampan’s chorus: