2015 has been a crazy year for Singapore and Singaporeans, no doubt. Yet, which event really takes the cake? We give you 11 events that defined Singapore this year.
1. SG50 Celebrations
How often do you get to see Singapore on Snapchat? We celebrated our nation’s Golden Jubilee on August 9, but the activities that ensued for the months leading to the momentus date was the key. The whole nation celebrates, which perhaps inspired the hashtag, #simisaialsoSG50. There were 50% off sales, 50 cents discounts, and even our very own SG50 fishcake. The things that I will miss most will be the H&M 50% discount sales though.
2. The Passing of Late Mr Lee Kuan Yew
It is the end of an era that has led to Singapore’s transformation to a global city-state; having one of the highest standards of living in the world, and also dubbed as one of the most expensive one too. Named The Straits Times Asian of the Year, Mr Lee’s contributions to Singapore were evident in his foresight and determined leadership. The most heartwarming moment was unexpectedly the queue to pay respect to our Founding Father, that spans 12 hours along Singapore’s beautiful (and almost cathartic) cityscape.
3. Amos Yee Saga
From the flagged YouTube video to the eventual verdict of Amos Yee, the entire saga was intensely watched and debated by Singaporeans and the global audience. The saga touched on issues such as the freedom of speech, “communitarianism” and also human rights, on the emotional and verbal abuse imposed on Amos Yee.
4. Mount Kinabalu Tragedy
The earthquake that struck Mount Kinabalu in June shooked the nation as news broke out of missing students and teachers of Tanjong Katong Primary School on a yearly expedition in Sabah. What made the natural more depressing was perhaps the motivation of the children behind the trip – to explore and test their limits. Singapore declared a day of mourning for this tragedy.
5. South-East Asian Games 2015
Singapore held the SEA Games to grandeur and an unforgettable experience to the athletes and volunteers alike. The closing event, though, received backlash on the lack of coordination in the ticketing segment, resulting in chaos and people stranded outside the stadium despite paying for the S$40 tickets.
6. NSEW MRT Breakdown
Social media came alive on 7 July 2015 when a power fault occurred at the North-South and East-West lines. SMRT came under fire, affected passengers were angry, but humility was also shown in acts of kindness following the breakdown in carpooling and the sharing of common experience.
7. Resignation of Mr Lui Tuck Yew
Mr Lui’s resignation in the weeks leading to the Singapore General Elections was unexpected, but it became an affective event that showed the humane side of Singaporeans, apart from their harsh criticisms on the then-Transport Minister and the frequencies in train faults/delays/breakdowns. Singaporeans will perhaps miss the joke on nomenclature from now on.
8. General Elections 2015
The General Elections creeped in quietly but left in a triumph for the People’s Action Party (PAP) for the landslide victory, with percentages of votes significantly higher than the past few elections. The rallies were intense, sarcastic but made the entire process all the more engaging.
9. New Transport Minister – Mr Khaw Boon Wan
Many dubbed the Transport Minister portfolio as the scapegoat role in the parliament and this seemingly unsolvable challenge was handed to Mr Khaw after the elections. Though breakdowns are still happening, Khaw’s revolutionary vision on transport is rather promising; focusing on smart engineers and development with NParks for cycling as a viable transport option in the future.
10. Singapore Haze
The worst since 2013, the haze is back once again, although Singaporeans are much well prepared and stocked on those N95 masks. One of the most memorable events out of the haze would be NTUC’s decision to pull out APP’s products off their shelves after investigations suggested that APP could be causing the haze in Indonesia through unsustainable means.
11. The City Harvest Church Verdict
Using church funds amounting to S$50 million for a pop career? Falsifying accounts? The City Harvest Church (CHC) saga is probably one of the most ridiculous and well-watched trials. Queues were formed in the wee hours of the morning for the verdict, with memes over social media. Of course, our hot favourite Serina Wee joins in the cell group after being sentenced to 5 years.
Writer: Leong Chee Sheng
Image credits as linked