2017 In Review: 14 Of This Year’s Biggest Stories That Made This Year Iconic


14 Of The Biggest Events That Singaporeans Will Remember 2017 For

Time surely does fly and we are at the end of yet another year. From Donald Trump’s inauguration as President of the United States to the continuing fallout of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations, plenty of talk was on the international news.

In Singapore though, 2017 was another iconic year. We saw the entrance of a new president without the need for an election, sunk our teeth into a Nasi Lemak burger, and collectively sighed as the trains broke down again.

2017 has truly been a mixed bag.

Here are some of the biggest events which defined 2017.

1. Water prices hike

When did this happen?: February 2017

During Heng Swee Keat’s Budget statement for 2017, the Finance Minister revealed that water tariffs would be increased. The hike which would kick in over two phases – 1 July 2017 and 1 July 2018 – meant a total increase of 30% in water prices.

With Singaporeans already incensed at having to fork out more money for water, Minister for Parliament Lee Bee Wah sent their anger through the roof after mentioning that:

“on one hand, the increase in the water price, is just to bring up the awareness of the importance of water”

Probably not the wisest thing to say to disgruntled Singaporeans. Well, Ms Lee found this out the hard way when Singaporeans roasted her like chestnuts on an open fire.



Despite assurances that the price hike would not have a ripple effect on businesses, Singaporeans discovered this was a promise that was almost as empty as our wallets after several kopitiam chains increased their prices due to the water hike.

With another hike due 1 July next year, can’t say we are looking forward to 2018.

2. Swedish man says living in Singapore is better than Sweden

When did this happen?: February 2017

The high cost of living, train disruptions, the hot and humid weather – these are just some of the numerous complaints that Singaporeans have about out country. But for a Swede only known as “Stefan”, Singapore is much better than his native country.

Now before you flip your desk and go into keyboard warrior mode in disbelief that someone from the land of meatballs actually finds Singapore pleasant, we have to mention that he does make a compelling argument. He even took the time to make 2 videos to stake his claim.

In the 2-part-video, Stefan argues that Singaporeans should be content by the fact that we have good housing, good transport systems and public order.

For example, Stefan argued that Singaporeans should be thankful for being able to have a roof above their head, sharing that this is not the case in Sweden. The Swede revealed that the country’s price ceiling on rent has led to a permanent shortage of units.

Singaporeans will argue that the grass is always greener on the other side but maybe its time to admit that we do have it pretty good.

Perhaps a little less complaining and a little more appreciation would be a good way to start the new year?

3. Kong Hee and his suspect academic qualifications

When did this happen?: April 2017

It seems that misappropriation of church funds is not the only thing that City Harvest Church (CHC) founder Kong Hee is guilty of. Turns out, our favourite Kong-vict’s theological qualifications aren’t as legit as one might think, based on this ‘confession’ on CHC Confessions Facebook page.

The post claimed that Kong Hee’s academic achievements, a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Theology from New Covenant International Theological Seminary (NCIU), were actually as worthless as the papers they were printed on.


After reading the confessor’s claim that the NCIU was nothing more than a degree mill, we decided to do some investigation of our own and discovered the web of dubious Christian leaders and their ‘academic achievements‘.

Apart from the short-span of time Kong Hee managed to complete these ‘qualifications‘ (4 years), the fees were cheaper than an academic year at a local polytechnic — signs that scream the pastor’s qualifications were probably too good to be true.

4. Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar isn’t completely Halal

When did this happen?: May 2017

We all know that food has a special place in the hearts of Singaporeans, so it wasn’t surprising that the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar made headlines on a few occasions this year. However, they were for all the wrong reasons.

From influencers drawing flak for criticising the food sold there to those who were concerned why there were so many non-halal stores, the Geylang Bazaar became the center of negative attention this year. There were even rumours that a stall at the bazaar sold dog and cat meat satay.


Initially set up to cater to Muslims during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, the annual bazaar has become such an attraction for Singaporeans that numerous non-halal food stores have begun sprouting there to make a quick buck.

However, this has made it difficult for Muslims to find halal food for when they break their fast at dusk. It reached a point that Muslim-run blogs helped to ascertain which stalls provided food that were halal.

Given the religious basis for organising the bazaar in the first place, perhaps stall owners should do well to remember that priority should be placed on providing halal food. Hopefully this doesn’t happen again next year.

5. Oxley Road saga

When did this happen?: June 2017

Three siblings and the battle to blow their house down. No we aren’t talking about the three little pigs.

The Lee siblings locked horns this year as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong went up against Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) and Lee Wei Ling (LWL). The cause of their squabble? Their father’s house at 38 Oxley Road.

LHY and LWL sent shock waves throughout Singapore after the siblings accused PM Lee of using his position and power to prevent the demolition of their father’s house, an allegation the PM has denied.

A war of words accompanied by a slew of letters and court documents soon made this family feud the most followed saga.

The drama gained so much traction that even China’s media decided to cover the saga but unlike our country’s mainstream media, Chinese media absolutely zero chill with their reporting, and pulled no punches with the PM Lee criticism.

If you lost track of what happened during the saga, fret not. Here’s a timeline of the events that occurred in June.

While the Oxley Saga provided loads of bedtime reading, we feel that the most entertaining portion of the saga has got to be WP Chief Low Thia Khiang’s quips during a 2-day Parliamentary Debate on the saga.

Descendants of The Sun and Goblin? Sorry, the only Korean drama worth watching is the Oxley Road saga. Season 2 is already underway too, with LHY’s son embroiled in a battle with his uncle over a private Facebook post that was made public.

Stay tuned in 2018 to find out what will happen to Li Shengwu.

6. A&W is coming back in 2018

When did this happen?: July 2017

Singaporeans don’t usually envy neighbours Malaysia much. However, almost every Singaporean can admit that food in Malaysia is generally better, and even cheaper to boot.

Further, they’re also home to fast food icons A&W, home of crispy twirly fries, one-of-a-kind coney dogs, that iconic root beer float.


But all these items will be making a long anticipated return to our shores come 2018, according to A&W chief executive Kevin Bazner.

It has been a good 15 years since the the fast food chain closed down in Singapore, but after hearing this news, we were immediately floating on cloud nine.

7. Nasi Lemak Burger Craze

When did this happen?: July 2017

Remember when McDonald’s announced that it was releasing a limited-edition Nasi Lemak burger in commemoration of National Day? Well, it was such a huge hit that the burger was sold out within 2 weeks.

While most Singaporeans sung praises about how the burger actually tasted like nasi lemak, our neighbours across the Causeway weren’t particularly pleased.

In fact, one Malaysian got so riled up about McDonald’s Nasi Lemak burger that he took to Twitter to slam it.


The Malaysian was so butthurt that our Nasi Lemak burger had neither nasi (rice) or hard boiled eggs inside that he labeled Singaporeans as stupid. He pointed out that since Nasi Lemak is comprises of 80% rice, shame on McDonald’s Singapore for having the audacity to call a burger that.

However, it seems that Mr Effi failed to take into account the slew of Nasi Lemak inspired products that Malaysia sells. And boy, oh boy were Singaporeans ready to return the criticism.


Ah yes, where is the 80% composition of rice in this Malaysian Nasi Lemak ice cream?

Now if you are wondering why we are even featuring the Nasi Lemak burger in this list, all we can say is that if it is important for a Malaysian youth politician to criticise Singapore for stealing their Nasi Lemak, then it must be a pretty important thing.

We wonder what we will fight over next?

8. Sonny Liew wins 3 Eisner Awards

When did this happen?: July 2017

Winning the ‘Oscars of Comic Books’ is no mean feat but graphic novelist Sonny Liew had to do it all by himself without help from the National Arts Council (NAC).


A day before the release of “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye”, the NAC, which provides aid for local writers and publishers, decided to withdraw it’s $8,000 publishing grant for the graphic novel in 2015.

The NAC claimed that they could not provide Mr Liew with the grant as the graphic novel “potentially undermines the authority of legitimacy of the Government and its public institutions”.

The lack of financial backing could not mask the fact Mr Liew’s graphic novel was so well written, it was nominated in a whopping 6 categories for the Eisner Awards, the most nominations for a single work.


Mr Liew eventually walked away with 3 accolades: Best US Edition of International Material – Asia, Best Publication Design and even, Best Writer/Artist.

With more projects in the works, we honestly can’t wait and hope that Mr Liew will release them sooner than later.

9. Singaporean man dies after Malaysian hospital allegedly demands payment before treatment sparked controversy

When did this happen?: August 2017

A car accident Johor Bahru involving a group of Singaporeans became the centre of controversy after it was alleged that Sultanah Aminah Hospital, Johor Bahru’s largest medical facility, refused to offer treatment until payment was made. This led to the unfortunate death of 25-year-old Justinian Tan.

In a brief getaway that went horribly wrong, a group of Singaporeans were walking back to their car after suppering in Johor Bahru when a Proton Saga rammed into some members of the group from behind.


The car sent Justinian Tan (third from left) flying and struck Brandon Yeo (white) before driving off.

If the hit-and-run wasn’t bad enough, the group alleged that Malaysian authorities were slow to react and had their priorities all wrong. According to Joshua De Rozario and Ernest Lee, who were part of the group, the ambulance allegedly took 20 – 30 minutes to arrive at the scene.

Even when the group finally arrived at the hospital, they were apparently told to pay RM 1,350 (S$430) per victim upfront before the hospital would take any further action. All these occurred while Justinian was in critical condition.

4 hours later, after the initial fee was stumped up, the hospital requested for an additional RM1,350 to perform surgery on him because his brain was bleeding.

In such instances, every second counts given the life-threatening situation Justinian was in. However, in a statement released by the Malaysian Director-General Of Health, the ambulance only took 13 minutes to reach Justinian, based on the vehicle logs. He also clarified that the Sultanah Aminah Hospital carried on with treatment without requesting for a deposit, due to its status as an emergency.

Later on, Joshua retracted his statement and said that it is possible that because he had witnessed a traumatic event, he might have provided an inaccurate assessment of the situation.

A case of his word vs mine, the only fact that remains clear is that a life was tragically lost.

10. Halimah Yacob becomes Singapore’s first female President

When did this happen?: October 2017

What was supposed to be a three-horse race between Mdm Halimah Yacob, Mr Farid Khan and Mr Salleh Marican turned into an epic, close-fought easy walkover for Mdm Halimah as she became Singapore’s first female president in this year’s reserved Presidential Elections.

After submitting their application for a Certificate of Eligibility to contest in the Presidential Elections, the Elections Department only issued Mdm Halimah Yacob a certificate after both Mr Farid Khan and Mr Salleh Marican were deemed to be unqualified to contest the position.

This was because their firms did not meet the $500 million shareholder equity benchmark.

Mdm Halimah’s walkover was met with fury from Singaporeans who were already incensed that the reserved Presidential Elections blocked candidate wannabe Tan Cheng Bock from running. As a form of protest, Singaporeans started their own #notmypresident movement, a move inspired by American citizens after Donald Trump was elected.


But we think President Halimah’s doing what she can in winning over the respect and support of Singaporeans.

11. Train problems

When did this happen?: The whole damn year

2017 has got to be the worst year in the history of Singapore’s train services. It was so bad that, that at one point this year, train disruptions was nearly a daily occurrence.

With train faults and disruptions proving to be a hassle for commuters, you would think that train service providers would do their best to defuse the situation. Well, that sadly wasn’t the case.

Commuters turned to SMRT’s Twitter page to learn about train faults, but a lack of and inaccuracy of train delay reports made the situation worse, leading to crowded stations such as this.

However, the icing on the cake has got to be the Bishan Flooding and Joo Koon Train Collision which occurred in October and November.

It seems that 2018 may be a better year for commuters with SMRT aiming to complete its re-signalling project by June 2018. In addition, new SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming seems to have hit the ground running in his attempts to improve the “deep-seated cultural issues” that the company’s Chief Executive Office Desmond Kuek highlighted.

Seems like things may finally be looking up for commuters come next year.

12. GST may be rising soon

When did this happen?: November 2017

If a DBS Senior Economist is to be believed, 2018 may potentially see an increase in the Goods & Services Tax (GST) from 7% to 9%.

This comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hinted during the 2017 PAP Convention that the government is looking to increase its spending. Part of it will be pumped into building infrastructure such as the Rapid Transit System between Singapore and Johor as well as on Jurong Lake District.

While PM Lee did not explicitly say that GST would be raised, he did concede that the government will have to raise revenues through either new taxes or raising existing ones. He echoed Finance Minister Heng Swee Kiat’s admission that raising taxes “is not a matter of whether, but when”.


If you are wondering what kind of new taxes the government is considering, Senior Minister of State for Finance Indranee Rajah suggested that online purchases may be one aspect that the government is looking to tax.

Not quite the year-end high we were hoping for.

13. Low Thia Khiang to step down as WP’s Secretary General

When did this happen?: November 2017

As 2017 reaches its twilight, so too is Low Thia Khiang’s time as Workers’ Party (WP) Secretary General. The opposition leader announced during the WP’s 60th anniversary celebration that he would not be contesting in his party’s next general elections in 2018.


Come 2018, Mr Low will become the longest-serving member of the opposition in Parliament. Given that it will be his 27th year, he will eclipse Mr Chiam See Tong for the honor.

But who will take over his mantle as WP’s chief? Well here is a list of potential candidates that may just become the next face of the opposition.

Oh, and while you are at it, look out for ex-National Solidarity Party member Nicole Seah’s probable re-entry into politics, this time on the side of the men in blue.

14. Bonus: Thug life kid points middle finger at camera during NDP 2017

When did this happen?: August 2017

But for all of the events that occurred in 2017 this year, this is probably our favourite.

One kid, one finger, one memory that Singaporeans will always remember about 2017.

Out with the old, in with the new

As we stand on the cusp of the end of the year, we must say that 2017 has not been all that great.

However, we remain hopeful that 2018 will bring Singapore much more happiness and prosperity.

From all of us here at MustShareNews, we would like to wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Featured image from Facebook, FacebookFacebookFacebookFacebook and Workers’ Party.




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