2015 — The Special Year
Though it’s 2016 now, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t take a trip down memory lane to recall what an eventful year it was.
Even before 2015 started we knew it was going to be a special one. Besides all the SG50 and SEA games hype, there were a lot (and when we say a lot, we mean A LOT) of unexpected things (both pleasant and unpleasant) which happened last year, which definitely helped proved that 2015 was a heck of year for us.
Particularly these 15 moments.
1. The Alcohol Curfew
Though only effective from 1 Apr 2015, the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill was passed in Parliament on the 30th of January. The new law stated that the public would not be allowed to purchase alcohol for take-away or consume alcohol at public places from 10.30pm to 7am daily.
However, the public will still be allowed to drink at home, at approved events and in licensed establishments such as bars and coffee shops outside of these hours.
Doesn’t this law sound a lot like what a parent would say? Much like a curfew.
Mom/Dad: You’re not allowed to party and drink with your friends outside. Be back home by 10.30pm.
But when they decide to have some alcohol at home, ITS TOTALLY OKAY.
Mom/Dad: We bought some new wine/beer, come have a cup or 2 with us.
You: HELP LA.
What a great way to kick start Singapore’s Big Birthday Year huh…
2. The First Singaporean to Score in the A-league
This happened back in late February last year, when our national team defender, Safuwan Baharudin, made history as he became the first Singaporean to score in the A-League during his time on a 3-month loan to Melbourne City.
With the team losing 0-1 to third-place Adelaide United at half-time, the 23-year old led his team’s 3-1 comeback victory by scoring the equalizer in the 52nd minute.
And what a goal it was.
With this win, Melbourne City moved up a place to 6th in the A-league table, which meant that Melbourne City stood a good chance to qualify for the A-League final series, a tournament that included the top six placed teams.
Basically, Safuwan killed it out there and made all of us Singaporeans proud. :’)
3. The Final Farewell to our late founding Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew
The passing of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in March was and will continue to be an iconic moment in Singapore’s history.
On Mar 29, 2015, torrential rain poured in Singapore and more than 100,000 people stood shoulder to shoulder lining the streets to bid a final farewell to Mr Lee.
The rainy state funeral capped off a week of national mourning. It was a stark contrast from the blistering heat in the previous days as more than 454,687 queued for hours to pay their last respects at Parliament House, where Mr Lee’s body lay in state.
During Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s s recent New Year Message on Thursday (31 Dec 2015), he too mentioned that the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew was one of the most memorable moments of 2015.
The rain was pouring. As the gun carriage left Parliament House, people shouted his name. I was deeply moved to see everyone’s faces – drenched, grieving, but not downcast.
— Prime Minister, Lee Hsein Loong
However, if there’s anything the mourning week had showed us, it would be the gratefulness of Singaporeans towards the achievements of the pioneers, and their much needed determination to take Singapore further forward.
4. Famous Amos
Famous Amos is known for its aroma but this famous Amos caused a stink when the 17-year-old blogger uploaded a video he made about Singapore’s founding father titled “Lee Kuan Yew is Finally Dead!” on 27 Mar 2015 — 4 days after Mr Lee’s passing.
In the video, he compared the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew to Jesus, and insulted both with rather impolite language. Social media turned against him, and more than 30 police reports were filed against him for what was deemed as offensive and religiously insensitive statements.
Eventually, Yee was convicted and sentenced to four weeks jail on July 6 for one count of making offensive or wounding remarks against Christianity, and one count of circulating obscene imagery. His conviction was backdated to 2 Jun, which meant that he walked free.
Then. He. Just. Couldn’t Keep. Himself. Off. The. Headlines.
5. KOALA KRAZY
Remember when everyone went Koala Krazy over the Koala Class arrangements for our 4 little furry friends??
Yes, that’s when everyone went cray cray over the pictures of them enjoying eucalyptus leaves while sitting on board the Qantas aircraft.
Good times, good times :’)
Singapore became the new home to four koalas from Australia as part of celebrations for SG50, and the 50th anniversary of Australia-Singapore diplomatic relations. And so they were on loan for 6 months from May last year — they even had their own special enclosure at the Singapore Zoo!
Unfortunately, 3rd Jan 2016 marked the last day of them in their enclosures. After their “farewell”, they will be quarantined for a month in their enclosure here before being flown home to Australia.
So they’re still around, but we just won’t get to see them.
And if you didn’t manage to catch them in action at the zoo, hopefully these cute koala gifs make your day.
6. The 28th SEA Games
2015 has been a year to remember for Singapore’s sports scene. Among many others, Shayna Ng won gold in the World Women’s Bowling Championships in Dubai in December, while Yip Pin Xiu set a world record at the ASEAN Para Games in the same month.
The SEA Games returned to Singapore after 22 years, and the Republic hosted the ASEAN Para Games for the first time.
In both Games, Singapore recorded its best medal tally ever – but it is not only the performance of the athletes that got attention.
Moments like when the sound system failed during the national anthem at a medal presentation ceremony summed up the support and national pride that sport can garner.
The Singapore national anthem malfunctioned during the medal ceremony. The crowd finished it off nicely #SEAGames2015 pic.twitter.com/IiBucA3fZO
— Jack Board (@JackBoardCNA) June 8, 2015
7. Our very own local UNESCO World Heritage Site
As of July 4 2015, The Singapore Botanic Gardens was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, after it was inscribed at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany.
It is the third Botanic Gardens to be listed as a World Heritage Site, after Kew Gardens in England and the Padua Gardens in Italy and Singapore’s first World Heritage Site.
Basically, this was another great Jubilee year gift to us Singaporeans :’) Our garden was noticed by the senpais.
8. SG50 FishCake
More like the try hard fishcake.
From airplanes and cars, to sushi and cakes, almost anything and everything has been branded with the ubiquitous SG50 flavour. So why not fishcakes right???
Many felt that the product was “ridiculous”, “stupid”, and a “rip-off”.
But it was seriously a rip off though, you were paying more for less fishcake… or to simply put it, you were paying for HOLES IN YOUR FISH CAKE.
Whatever it is, we’re just thankful that’s over, one thing’s for sure, we’re not looking forward to any more of this holey fishcakes this year or in the next 50 years to come.
9. The Big Celebration
The National Day Parade is always the most exciting and most anticipated events of every year for most Singaporeans, young and old alike, but 2015 marks the nation’s 50th year of independence.
Although last year’s NDP will continue to leave Singaporeans smiling for the next few decades to come, let us relive the best moments of the grand celebration.
- Lee Kuan Yew tribute
It is unfortunate that one of the nation’s forefathers wasn’t able to see the country officially hit 50 years of independence. However, a stalk of yellow orchids, named after Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, were placed in what was supposed to be his seat, highlighting his absence and the nation’s loss.
- People who signed the agreement in 1965 arrived to watch the NDP
Three of the original ten government leaders who signed the historic agreement which birthed Singapore as an independent nation attended the NDP. It is heartwarming to know that they were able to celebrate with the rest of the country the 50th year of Singapore’s independence.
- Kit Chan singing Home
Arguably the best National Day song ever written, the original singer of “Home”, Kit Chan made an appearance at the NDP, singing the song that made most Singaporeans teary-eyed.
4. Fireworks display
Every year on this day, Singaporeans who didn’t manage to get tickets to watch the NDP clamour around Marina Bay with a few hundred thousand other people to view the fireworks display in its full glory. 2015’s fireworks display was grander, more beautiful, and a lot more mesmerising thanks to the Golden Jubilee celebration.
10. GE 2015
On 11 Sept, Singaporeans turned up to vote for Singapore’s 13th parliament. #GE2015 was notable for its timing — it was the first elections following Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s death, and also fell on SG50.
It was also the first elections since Singapore’s independence which saw all seats contested.
Parties were eager to make a mark to appeal to voters, and they certainly gave us some memorable moments and quotes we won’t forget quickly.
In the end, incumbent PAP held on to win 69.9% of the popular vote, a 9.7% gain from GE2011, and their best performance since 2001. WP lost their seat at Punggol East but managed to hang on to seats at Aljunied and Hougang, which meant that the men in blue remain the only opposition party in parliament.
11. The Haze
2015 saw the longest period of haze in Singapore recorded since 2013, blanketing the skyline for about three months. The Pollutant Standards Index hit hazardous levels, forcing schools to shut for the first time since the SARS outbreak in 2003.
In fact, “HAZE” was Singaporeans’ top Google search term for 2015.
According to the search engine giant, the phrase “PSI Singapore” was the top trending search among Singaporeans for 2015 as they sought to keep on top of the haze situation between September and October.
12.The birth of Singapore’s tallest baby
Much as Singaporeans might groan at another mention of a “SG50” milestone, photos and videos of this baby giraffe might change your mind.
Touted as the tallest SG50 baby by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), the yet-to-be-named baby animal was born on 31 Aug and is the first giraffe calf to born in 28 years at the Singapore Zoo. The baby giraffe is currently 2.3m tall and can be seen at the Wild Africa exhibit within the local zoo.
13. Truffle Flavoured Shaker Fries
On 26 Nov 2015, history was made.
McDonald’s launched their very own Truffle Flavoured Shaker Fries™.
Yes guys, it’s real :’)
McDonald’s went all out last Christmas with their Merry Yummy Season campaign, and Singaporeans went all out in trying out the truffle.
They’re nothing too posh – no truffle oil or pancetta here – just your regular fries with shake-on truffle flavouring.
However, it’s important to note that fast food is still and will always be fast food. That means non-chefs are preparing mass-produced processed food in the quickest way possible to clear the queues. So don’t expect some gourmet tasting truffle fries.
And Mac’s truffle fries were far from gourmet.
Truffle fries at Mcdonald's is such a disappointment 🙄
— cammy (taylor’s version) (@camillemavic) November 26, 2015
McDonald's truffle fries smells awesome but taste like meh
— Ken (@Rock_Kendy) November 26, 2015
Basically, you get what you pay for bruh.
14. Gettin’ Lit For Christmas
A Christmas tree located outside Topshop at Knightsbridge mall along Orchard Road caught fire on 2 Dec 2015.
According to preliminary findings released by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on Thursday (Dec 3), an accident involving an electrical source was what led to the Christmas tree catching on fire.
The fire at Orchard Road, outside Abercrombie and Fitch, was reported to be about two-storeys high. Videos on social media showed the tree in flames, releasing thick smoke.
From Jan 1 to Dec 2, the SCDF responded to seven cases of fire involving festive decorations and lightings, it said in its statement on Thursday (Dec 3).
That’s right. Here in SG, we like it hot. TSSSSSS
15. Yay More Smoking Laws…
Of course we had to end the year on a high note.
As of 30 Dec 2015, health authorities proposed to raise the minimum age of smoking from 18 to 21, and ban menthol and other flavoured cigarettes to step up their efforts to discourage people from lighting up.
Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB), along with the Health Ministry and Health Sciences Authority, began a 12-week public consultation to get views on these proposed rules in the coming weeks.
Other measures being considered include having the same plain packaging for different brands, and putting bigger graphic health warnings on packets.
Earlier last month, shops were also told they would have to stop displaying tobacco products by 2017.
Singapore already has one of the lowest smoking rates in the world, with the smoking rate falling from 18.3% in 1992 to 13.3% in 2013. HPB’s aim is to cut this to 12% by 2020.
And that pretty much sums up the ever eventful 2015 for Singapore. 2015 was a lot like an emotional roller coaster for us Singaporeans considering the vast amount of emotional events we had to deal with. But hey, we made it guys.
Yes, past all dem hazey days.
How’s this year gonna turn out? We have absolutely no idea, but we’re just hoping for the best. (Hopefully a haze-free one)
Happy 2016 everyone!!
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With reference to Channel NewsAsia, The Straits Times
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