by Chua Wei Ling
It’s the last day of 2015, so how has your year been? If you are busy recapping where did the year go, here are 15 major incidents that you might remember of (and hopefully help jog your memory for your own recap!)
2015 marked the golden jubilee of Singapore – 50 years of progress since the separation from Malaysia back in 1965. From buildings to food, everywhere you turn there was bound to be something SG50. In fact, if you would like to know what are some SG50 stuff, here’s what we covered earlier in the year, and also our *cough* SG50 Special.
Cheryl’s Birthday Question
Rumoured to be a question from a primary school examination, this was proven to be from the Maths Olympiad for secondary schools instead. It had everyone up in arms about the difficulty level and answer of the question, and was evident by how it went viral in a couple of days and currently has it’s own Wikipedia writeup, as well as a series of similar-themed questions.
Passing of Lee Kuan Yew
Back in March, the nation, and perhaps the world, mourned the passing of the founder of modern Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. From the crowd that amassed outside the Istana, to the queues that formed overnight to pay their respects, it was a moment that brought the nation together under the hot sun and even the pouring rain. Unfortunately, what arose too were certain distasteful incidents as well, which included a marketing blunder, and even a distasteful video from a certain teen blogger, who is still being embroiled in trouble.
The Great SMRT Breakdown
How many of you were caught in the great breakdown which saw the NS and EW lines being affected at almost the same time for the entire night? While this was not the first time the MRT broke down, it was the first time that the two busiest lines stopped at the same time, and this saw a record number of people taking to social media to unleash their grievances and a whole load of creativity.
While the beloved Returning Officer from the previous GE, Mr Yam Ah Mee, did not return again for this year, this GE was one that was pretty much anyone’s game as social media became an essential and key tool for success. Learning from the previous elections, all parties saw how important social media was due to the reach that it has with the younger generations and thus, started their campaign online as soon as the dates were set. The rallies too, saw the largest number of turnouts, making it full of suspense not only for the parties, but for all listeners too.
The Haze Returns
For 3 whole months, Singapore was shrouded in thick smog once again, although the PSI wasn’t as high as 2013’s. Still, it was just as bad (or even worse as some would argue), as the smell was acrid and stinging, which also explains the spike in respiratory cases at GPs throughout the nation. Thankfully, it ended before the forecasted end of November, and the situation improved even for the country of origin, Indonesia. No coconuts were harmed.
3 Murders Within a Week
Bukit Panjang, Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio each saw a case of murder being reported in the week of Aug 31 to Sept 4. This was a first, because for a low crime society such as Singapore, the police usually see only one case per month at its maximum.
Rise of Food Delivery Companies
There’s no longer just one single company doing food delivery – in 2015 alone, there were more than 4 established; each had their own mascot, ranging from animals to monsters to caricatures. One can only wonder, how many more will we see in 2016?
Singapore Botanic Gardens UNESCO status
Joining the ranks of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, the 156-year-old Botanic Gardens was officially listed as a UNESCO heritage site! Not only is this a first for Singapore, it is also the first and only tropical botanical garden in Asia to make it on the UNESCO World Heritage list!
City Harvest Church Saga
Spanning as long as 5 years, the verdict was finally made on the leaders of the City Harvest Church – all the defendants were found to be guilty of the misuse of church funds. On record, this could also be the most costly criminal trial in Singapore, with estimates for the legal costs going above S$10 million!
The Year Themed-runs Were Everywhere
Hello Kitty Run, Garfield Run, Superhero Run, Justice League Run, Tom & Jerry Run, Meiji Run… 2015 saw the rise of many various themed runs, some of which were back for a 2nd or a 3rd year. What other crazy themes can we look forward to next year? Our vote is for a zentai run…
Star Wars Mania in Singapore
From life-sized jets from the movies stationed in Changi Airport (including a Star Wars-themed ANA aircraft) to limited edition toys offered everywhere, Star Wars fever swept throughout Singapore such that everywhere you turned, there was something Star Wars related. Clothing lines like Uniqlo, Celio* and Bossini each came up with Star Wars themed clothing, and tickets for its premiere saw fans queuing up as early as a month before it opened!
Punggol Instagram Tree
Probably one of the most famous trees in Singapore, the Punggol lone tree was one of the most Instagrammed trees on the island. However, after being struck by lightning, the dead tree was finally removed by HDB in December on grounds that it proved to be a danger (and for future redevelopment purposes for the land).
After a 22-year hiatus, the SEA Games returned to Singapore. While our athletes bagged 259 medals in total (the highest of any country), Thailand actually bagged more Gold and Silver medals. Singapore did very well in watersports, bagging gold in swimming (thanks, Schooling!) and water polo.
Christmas – the month of “happenings” along Orchard Road
First, there was a fire that burned down a Christmas tree outside Knightsbridge. Then there was another Christmas decor going up in flames near Centrepoint. Next, Orchard Central was partially flooded and suffered an electrical outage due to heavy rain, and a fatality was reported at Wisma Atria. If that’s not enough, the roof of Hilton hotel collapsed as well during a downpour, causing a couple of people underneath it to be hurt. Oh, and two fires broke out too, one at Lucky Plaza and one at Orchard Plaza’s carpark – all these within the month of December by the way.