These names should be rather familiar by now
2015 was no doubt an eventful year – GE2015 and the SEA Games took place this year; the long-running City Harvest Church trial’s verdict is finally out; Southeast Asia was shrouded in smog for the longest period of time in years.
As we’re nearing the end of the year, let’s look back on 21 names that became household names in 2015:
1. Joseph Schooling
Singapore’s pet athlete, who’s known for clocking impressive timings in his races, holds the national record for men’s 50m freestyle at the SEA Games this year.
This means that he beat legend Ang Peng Siong, who bagged a gold in the 1993 SEA Games in the same category after holding a world record of 22.69s in 50m freestyle. Schooling’s newly-clocked timing of 22.47s has broken the 33-year long national record. In total, he sealed 9 gold medals and broke 9 games records.
On 8 August, Schooling even set a new Asian record while smashing the existing national record when he clinched a bronze media for 100m butterfly final at the FINA World Championships.
Looks like Schooling is more than just a hot athlete to ogle at. #fangirlmode
2. Quah Zheng Wen
Like Schooling, Zheng Wen is another athlete to be watched.
At this year’s SEA Games, Zheng Wen competed in 12 events over six days and bagged a medal for every event — seven Golds, four Silvers, and one Bronze.
On 11 August, Zheng Wen won a bronze medal for 100m backstroke final at the FINA World Cup, breaking the existing national records.
And because he’s so pro, MINDEF has approved of Zheng Wen’s deferment from NS to be a swimmer instead of a soldier – Zheng Wen will be joining Schooling at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janerio.
3. Safuwan Baharudin
Muhammad Safuwan bin Baharudin is a Singapore international footballer who became the first Singaporean to play in the A-league after he joined Melbourne City. He played as a centre-back for Melbourne City FC on a 3-month loan from Lions XII.
Safuwan is also the first Singaporean featured in popular video game FIFA 15.
Unfortunately, the player’s journey Down Under came to a premature end due to his back injury, which meant he couldn’t participate in the season-ending finals series.
4. Izwan Mahbud
During a 2018 World Cup and Asian Cup Qualifier match this year (16 Jun), Izwan made impressive saves against the 4-time Asian Cup winners Japan and forced a 0-0 draw.
He saved 18 shots in total against the likes of Keisuke Honda, Shinji Okazaki, Shinji Kagawa, and Yoshinori Mutō — all of whom ply their trade in Europe at the top professional level. His performance attracted offers from several clubs, including J-League side Matsumoto Yamaga F.C., a second tier Japanese football club.
Six months later, the 25-year-old went on a training trial at Matsumoto Yamaga F.C. If everything goes well, Izwan could be Singaporean’s first professional footballer in Japan.
5. Benjamin Kheng
Arguably the most popular member in local indie band The Sam Willows, the heartthrob has been fangirl-ed by many since The Sam Willows burst into the scene in 2012.
But this year, Ben’s popularity is skyrocketing – the talented all-rounder could be seen on television, on stage, and of course YouTube. The artiste has several identities – he is his band’s guitar-strumming vocalist, a former national swimmer, a TV host, and a versatile actor, amidst others.
More recently, Ben plays a yes-minister and instruments in Wild Rice’s musical, The Emperor’s New Clothes.
At this year’s largest social media award show in Asia, Influence Asia, Ben also clinched the award of breakout influencer.
Looks like we’ll be seeing more of Ben, so here’s a list of 10 handy facts so you can act like you’re his BFF if you run into him.
6. Narelle Kheng
The gorgeous sister of Benjamin Kheng, Narelle is also in the same band as his brother.
In January this year, The Sam Willows signed to Sony Music Singapore on a 360 deal. This deal has probably helped Narelle in gaining recognition as an individual, and in September this year, Narelle signed to artiste management agency FLY Entertainment, which means she will be co-managed by FLY and music label Sony Music Entertainment.
Narelle is also the ambassador of boutique hair salon chain Kimage, and also hosted their webseries “Me But Better”.
7. Gentle Bones
Local singer-songwriter Joel Tan, better known as Gentle Bones, became the first Singaporean artiste to sign with Universal Music Singapore this year.
The talented musician also wrote and recorded “You’re Almost There” which was included in album Songs of the Games, for this year’s SEA Games. His other work, “Sixty Five” was used for SG50 movie 1965.
8. Li Hongyi
The second son of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong became an Internet sensation after giving a eulogy at Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral. In just two weeks after his eulogy was uploaded on YouTube, the video was watched 572k times, surpassing PM Lee at 156k views and Lee Hsien Yang’s at 108k views.
Here’s a parting quote from Hongyi:
Yeye was more than a grandfather to me. He was an inspiration. As a child, I looked up to him and wanted to grow up to be the kind of man he was. And even now, I still do.
Watch the video in full here:
If you’re curious about Li Hongyi, here are 12 things you never knew about him.
9. Li Shengwu
Like Hongyi, Shengwu gained prominence after delivering a well-written eulogy for LKY. Lee Hsien Yang’s eldest son impressed many with his eulogy, and many unwittingly likened him to the late LKY. His eulogy garnered 446k views, beating PM Lee and his father’s.
We’ll leave you with this quote that gave us the feels:
To grow up in Singapore is to grow up in his shadow; to see in our skyscrapers, our schools, our highways, and our homes the force of his singular vision.
His legacy is not cold stone, but a living nation. We could no more forget him than we could forget the sky.
It’s no wonder his speech has left a deep impression on many — Shengwu was the best debater in a global debating tournament. Here are 12 things you never knew about Li Shengwu.
10. Kevryn Lim
Although Nicole Seah did not run for elections this year, the National Solidarity Party’s (NSP) Kevryn Lim was reason enough for any guy (or girl) to pay attention to the GE. Kevryn also garnered a lot of media attention due to her looks and modelling history. Kevryn contested under the NSP for Sembawang GRC, which lost to the People’s Action Party (PAP) who garnered 72.28% of votes.
Kevryn was a controversy magnet after she stepped into the public eye as people drew incessant comparisons between her and Seah.
She later revealed her identity about being a single mother, which caused a great hoo-ha.
Thankfully, MustShareNews had the opportunity to interview Kevryn pre-GE2015, and found out more on what she thought about Singapore politics. Kevryn was also unofficially crowned by us as the “Hottest Babe of GE2015”.
Can’t get enough of her post-GE? Here are 11 things you should know about Kevryn Lim.
11. He Ting Ru
Another hot babe on our GE2015 list, Ting Ru is a strong contender of Nicole Seah.
Just watch her at the Workers’ Party (WP) rally:
The fresh-faced legal counsel gained a lot of media attention thanks to her sweet looks. Besides, her “geeky” smile and humble attitude definitely earns her brownie points.
Ting Ru contested under WP for Marine Parade GRC and secured 35.93% of votes, ultimately losing to PAP.
12. M. Ravi
Former human rights lawyer M. Ravi had been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Also Roy Ngerng’s former lawyer, the two fell out after Ngerng’s failure to turn up in court. M. Ravi slammed Ngerng for his unprofessionalism and insinuated that he wanted to abscond with the money crowdfunded for his defamation lawsuit.
Soon after, the Law Society of Singapore declared him unfit to practise law due to his alleged manic behaviour. Since 2006, M. Ravi has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
In February, M. Ravi also declared his intention to run for the GE, and was seen doing rather entertaining walkabouts around Ang Mo Kio GRC.
13. Tan Lam Siong
Aka bread man.
However, the independent candidate running for Potong Pasir SMC decided to pull out at the eleventh hour to avoid a three-cornered fight for the ward.
This move came after Tan saw a haggard Singapore People’s Party’s Lina Chiam out late at night after a day of campaigning and felt sorry for her. He eventually decided not to contest as he recalled her statement about GE2015 being her last election and that she would be retiring with Chiam See Tong.
Nonetheless, the former television personality wrote on Facebook that he “will continue to be at your service” for “Potong Pasir SMC will always be (his) kind of town”.
True to his word, the post-election Tan continued giving away bread. #dedicated
14. Calvin Cheng
Calvin Cheng, the former Nominated Member of Parliament, is best known for being outspoken.
Earlier this year, the fashion and modelling mogul became a psychologist and discovered why people commit crimes. Here comes the shocking revelation: because they read “rogue Internet sites” like The Real Singapore. Thank goodness the site was shut down and the editors are now selling ramen instead — surely this won’t trigger crimes?
He also called Singaporeans small-minded, a comment which netizens did not take well to.
Peace-loving Cheng also used the Internal Security Department (ISD) arrests made in May this year to equate playwright Alfian Sa’at to ISIS propaganda.
More recently, Cheng had something to say about the Paris attacks. He tactlessly called on people to “kill them before they kill you. And their children too in case they grow up to take revenge”.
Right, an eye for an eye.
15. Eleanor Lee
‘Apple girl’ Eleanor Lee made headlines after starring in a viral Apple commercial.
Within six hours after the commercial aired, Eleanor’s Weibo and Instagram followers tripled. The sweet-faced budding starlet is certainly no one-hit wonder — we’ll definitely be seeing more of Quan Yifeng’s daughter, especially with her role in upcoming blockbuster China TV drama, Tribes and Empires.
In the meantime, here are 10 Eleanor Lee facts every Apple fanboy should know.
16. Priscilla Poh Beng Hoon
Meet 2015’s Amy Cheong, Priscilla Poh Beng Hoon.
In a Facebook post, the serial forum columnist criticised the Malay language, describing it as “irrelevant” and “makes her vomit”. Pasir Ris-Punggol Member of Parliament Zainal Sapari retorted with a Facebook post calling her mentality “satanic”.
Poh responded by saying that Sapari jumped to conclusions about her being racist, which was wrong and unfair. She added that he was dragging religion into the picture by declaring her mentality as “satanic”.
The Facebook post has since been taken down.
17. Edz Ello
Remember Ed Mundsel Bello Ello, aka Edz Ello, the Filipino Tan Tock Seng Hospital nurse who famously made a comment on Facebook about Singaporeans being ‘loosers’ and wishing ‘disators’ on them?
On 21 Sept, he was sentenced to four months’ jail under the Sedition Act deemed to promote feelings of hostility and ill will. He was also charged with two counts of providing false information to the police when he lied that his Facebook account was hacked.
18. Jusuf Kalla
This year’s haze situation was the worst in years, leaving Southeast Asia to be shrouded in fog for two to three months.
To make matters worse, Indonesia was hesitant in accepting help from Singapore, although Jusuf later appealed to Singapore to assist in fighting the forest fires through local media on 15 Sept.
This came after reports suggested that the haze would persist for longer than usual due to the El Nino phenomenon. The man was probably flustered upon hearing this.
After all, he was famously known for saying this in March 2015:
For 11 months, they enjoyed nice air from Indonesia and they never thanked us. They have suffered because of the haze for one month and they get upset.
And here’s the best part yet – who’s the culprit causing this haze? Jusuf has the answer to that – the wind, of course. In an apology to Singapore and Malaysia, Jusuf stated that Indonesia was unable to control the wind.
Now that the haze is at bay, let’s not forget to thank the man who made it possible for us to enjoy fresh air 11 months in a year.
19. Chen Tian Wen
The veteran has been in the industry since 1984, but only got his big break this year.
After starring in two parody music videos featured in Channel 5 sitcom Spouse for House, Chen gained overnight fame as the videos went viral. The first was titled Unbelievable, which went unbelievably viral thanks to some of its nonsensical lines like “I so stunned like vegetable” (sic).
The second music video, Sandcastle in My Heart also starred Irene Ang, but was not as popular as the first. Both videos are a parody of the typical Chinese MVs in the 1970s.
In fact, Chen’s rendition of Unbelievable has been so popular the song was even played on American and Australian radio stations.
20. Serina Wee
The Goddess of nectar and all things divine might have been sentenced to 5 years of jail, but fanboys are still as besotted with her as ever.
This sentence comes after the six church leaders of the long-running City Harvest Church trial, including Wee, have been found guilty of misappropriating $50 million church funds and falsifying accounts.
On 2 Dec, Wee filed an appeal against her sentence. It remains to be seen if her appeal would be successful.
But if you can’t get enough of the chiobu zeh zeh, here are 10 Serina Wee facts you need to know.
21. Amos Yee
Last but not least, Famous Amos. How could we forget about the precocious teenager?
The budding YouTuber got his five minutes of fame (or even more) when he made a controversial video “Lee Kuan Yew is finally dead” four days after Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s passing on 23 March 2015. In it, he compared LKY to Jesus Christ and even said they were both “power hungry and malicious but deceive others into thinking they are both compassionate and kind”. Needless to say, the video went viral and the authorities soon caught up with him.
He was later helped by a gracious Christian who started an online petition calling for Amos Yee to be released. Even Ah Boys To Men star Tosh Zhang spoke up for the kid.
On 12 May, Yee was convicted after he was found guilty of wounding the feelings of Christians in his video and for uploading an obscene image of LKY and first female Prime Minister of Britain, Margaret Thatcher.
Yee spent about 50 days in remand and breached his bail conditions thrice. On 6 July, he was sentenced to four weeks’ jail and released on the very day as his punishment was backdated to include his time in remand.
The active blogger has recently gotten into trouble with the authorities again for allegedly making religiously offensive remarks online, believed to have stemmed from his blog post which made reference to ex-NMP Calvin Cheng (see point 17) and Islam.
Looks like a leopard never changes its spots.
Think Amos Yee is the most infamous teenager in Singapore? Well, here are 10 other young Singaporean rebels who make Amos Yee look well-behaved.
Household names in 2016 too?
This year, names that were never before heard became household names overnight – as in the case of a certain notorious Amos Yee. 2015 also gave us a number of babes to drool over, including Kevryn Lim, He Ting Ru, and not forgetting Serina Wee.
Will these household names remain household names come 2016? Or will they be forgotten, and never to be mentioned again?
Only time will tell.
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