Joseph Conrad Mendoza, the Indian man credited for writing a song, We Can Achieve, that sounds exactly like Count On Me Singapore, has replied to Singapore's Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY).
He said in his reply to MCCY that he can send videos of children at an orphanage "testifying that they've learnt the song" as they sang it in 1983.
The two videos were described by Today as consisting of two women who said they remember learning the song that Mendoza composed.
One of the woman said she was in the Bal Bhavan Orphanage from 1976 to 1989.
The other woman said she was in the orphanage in 1983.
Mendoza's response also queried MCCY about how he should proceed from this development.
The 58-year-old also said he has not heard from Hugh Harrison, the Canadian who has long been awarded songwriting credits for Count On Me Singapore.
MCCY had written to Mendoza seeking clarification about the issue a day earlier.
What else Mendoza said to MCCY
In his reply to MCCY, Mendoza also said again he only learnt of Count On Me Singapore a few days ago: “With due respect to Singapore, her people and its culture and the composer, I had no clue that Count on Me, Singapore exists until up to a few days ago."
“I look for neither money nor fame from this situation," he said, "only seek the peace and goodwill of my Singaporean brethren.”
Evidence of his composition destroyed
He also reiterated his point about evidence of his work being destroyed over time.
He wrote: “All proof such as cassettes and sheets, that were proof of the performance, conception and originality of the work got washed away in the deluge of July 26, 2005 as the ground floor was completely submerged throughout Mumbai.”
Shanmukhananda Sabha hall, the venue of the performance, had burnt down in February 1990, leaving no record of what took place.
A cassette tape of the song with a religious sister also did not survive.
Mendoza also claimed: “There was a cassette with one of the sisters, which failed to stand the test of time.”
The only "evidence" he has left that he can send is the original lyrics and videos of the orphan children testifying that they have learnt the song and took part in a performance in 1983.
“I am not interested in any court or to justify anything," Mendoza said.
He added: "I don't earn anything out of this.”
Mendoza's claim to have written We Can Achieve in 1983 is mired in controversy in Singapore after he kept insisting he is the song's original composer and that he made S$37 selling the song to a publishing house in 1999.
Singapore launched Count On Me Singapore in 1986.
The song was sold to Catholic publishing house Pauline Communications, run by religious sisters.
We Can Achieve was in a CD, We Can Achieve — Inspirational Songs for Children and All.
Pauline Communications then uploaded the song to music-sharing platform SoundCloud in 2012, but has since taken it down.
Mendoza's claim has ramifications for Harrison, the composer of Count On Me Singapore, as it attacks the Canadian's integrity and professionalism.
Harrison has since said suing Mendoza could be an option.
If Mendoza continues to stick to his claim that he is the original composer of the tune, it means he was 20 years when he had written the song.