11 Incidents That Shook The Online World
In case you forgot, whatever makes it online, stays online forever. In recent history, many eyebrow-raising events have unfolded and sometimes they provoke the craziest reactions from our shores to the screens online. Here are 11 incidents (well preserved by the Internet) that prove we live in a crazy circus.
1) When McDonald’s stopped serving curry sauce
Back in November 2011, McDonald’s ran short on curry sauce supplies island-wide, causing panic and grief on Twitter. Customers stood in disbelief, realizing that they were eating fries without the signature curry sauce, which is served only in Singapore.
Soon enough, McLovers started speculating whether the sauce was gone forever. An unexpected outpouring of grief, anger and frustration came from Singaporeans on social media platforms.
On Twitter, related hashtags #RIPCurrySauce, #CurrySauce, #McDCurrySauce started trending within a few hours. Some Singaporeans even swore never to eat at McDonald’s until curry sauce became available again.
A poem: Tomato sauce is red, Fillet o fish in blue, Dear lovely curry sauce nuggets won’t be the same without you. #RIPcurrysauce
— JoanCat (@JoanYani) November 14, 2011
McDonald’s Singapore soon put out a statement assuring that the disruption was only temporary, and supplies will soon arrive from the United States, making the cardboard McNuggets edible again.
Early in March this year, curry sauce from the US was out of stock again, fueling worry in some McDonald’s lovers. Because of hiccups in the shipping of cargo, this problem is not uncommon.
At least we figured out what our national treasure could be.
2) Anton Casey dissing Singaporeans
Anton Casey is the British expat who called public transport users poor and smelly on social media. No surprises, as those comments sparked outrage both online and offline. Anton packed up and fled the country for Australia. There’s one guy who underestimated the power of the online community. Wonder what he’s up to in Perth now?
3) When a relationship workshop promoted rape culture
Hwa Chong Institution student, Agatha Tan, 17 wrote an open letter to her principal in October 2014, saying that a sex education workshop held at her school was “sexist” and promoted gender stereotypes.
She posted the letter on Facebook and it went viral. The note raised questions about MOE-approved workshop facilitators teaching relationship and sexuality workshops. In her post, Agatha said that workshop’s volunteers, a Christian charity group called Focus on the Family, promoted rape culture, sexist stereotypes, and did not show tolerance of people with other sexualities.
Her post went viral and was shared more than 4,000 times.
So I wrote an open letter to my principal about last week’s sex ed:Dear Dr. Hon,I am Agatha, a C1 student, and my…
4) Mobile Air scammer Jover Chew gets his butt kicked online
The Sim Lim Ah Beng kicked up a major fuss after a video of him cheating a Vietnamese tourist went viral.
Jover Chew sold an iPhone 6 to Vietnamese tourist Pham Van Thoai for $950 after he signed an invoice. Pham, a factory worker was on holiday in Singapore. He earns about $200 a month and spent a few months saving up to buy the phone for his girlfriend’s birthday.
As he was about to leave, the salespeople demanded that Pham to pay an additional $1,500 for warranty, which he was led to believe was free. Pham was told that he could not leave with the phone if he did not pay up. Mobile Air refused to refund him and he broke down. Desperate, Pham knelt down and begged while crying. The retailers reportedly laughed at the man.
Authorities then could not do anything since Mobile Air was not in any criminal trouble. But Internet justice prevailed. Eventually Pham got $950 back from an Indiegogo campaign and a new meme was born.
5) When Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said we can buy a flat for $1,000
A comment made Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam made in parliament in 2012 sparked an online outrage among Singaporeans. He said that families with monthly household incomes of just $1,000 can now buy a flat with the help of government housing grants. Soon enough, the Internet was abuzz with users questioning its plausibility.
The hashtag #maybetharmanmeanttosay took over Twittersphere in Singapore, poking fun at the comment.
#maybetharmanmeanttosay $1K can buy you flat… Abs with a gym membership. Chill man, no need to get your whole cabinet to your defense.
— NwahS (@shawnsylee) March 4, 2012
6) Cook a pot of curry day
Singapore’s favourite national dish, the curry, makes another prolonged appearance on social media. Remember how two families dispute over curry turned overnight into an online furor? In 2011, TODAY newspaper reported that one Chinese family, recently arrived from the mainland, had taken offence at their Indian neighbours’ dining habits. The Chinese family could not stand the aroma of curry wafting into their house and resorted to mediation.
“The Indian family, who were mindful of their neighbours’ aversion, had already taken to closing their doors and windows whenever they cooked the dish, but this was not enough,” reported TODAY.
After mediation, the Indian family decided to only cook curry when the Chinese family was not at home. In return, the Chinese family promised to try the dish. Locals who read the story, reacted angrily and slammed the outcome as “unfair”. Singaporeans launched an online campaign to “cook a pot of curry” in August 2011.
The Facebook event page garnered many supporters and was even reported in the mainstream press. It claims to have had 60,000 participants shared a pot of curry.
The uproar even inspired playwright Alfian Sa’at’s production, Cook a Pot of Curry.
7) Zouk scares clubbers with rumours of closing down
One of the world’s most popular nightclubs Zouk’s impending closure shocked the public in 2014. For years now Zouk’s lease has expired and it is scrambling to look for an alternative venue. Zouk revealed that it might close if it cannot continue to rent its original premises. More than 27,000 people signed an online appeal to have its lease extended, including DJ Afrojack and Gilles Peterson. Authorities eventually extended Zouk’s lease for a year, and all was well again.
In February 2015, local police arrested three individuals during the annual Thaipusam procession after a scuffle that broke out between them and the police. That, coupled with the on-going ban on playing musical instruments during Thaipusam processions led many to post their upset online. Many also started to question why Thaipusam was not declared a holiday for the Hindus. Singapore’s Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran explained that the country’s 1964 ban on playing music at any procession was implemented because of fights between rival groups that disrupted them.
9) Bomoh and his coconuts
Although MH370 didn’t happen in Singapore, it did take over headlines here for weeks. Alongside the tragic updates were pictures of bomohs performing rituals to find the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. The shaman has since threatened legal action actions his mockers.
10) When a woman pooped outside Holland Village MRT
A woman caused a major ruckus online when she defecated outside Holland Village MRT Station in August 2014. The photo of the woman with her bottom exposed at one of the MRT station entrances at Holland Village in Singapore went viral. She was eventually found to have a long history of schizophrenia and intellectual disability.
11) Cheryl’s birthday
Last week people across the world were stumped by “Cheryl’s birthday” – a Singapore maths question used tested on 15 to 16-year-old students. The question was posted on Facebook by TV presenter Kenneth Kong.
Its okay, we didn’t get it either, neither did the whole Internet. But sure enough some math whizzes solved the question. But if you want to skip the whole explanation bit and seem really clever in front of your friends, just tell them Cheryl’s birth is on July 16.
The brain-aching problem was picked up by international media like The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC and even Buzzfeed. But our favourite has to be “Cheryl’s very own cartoon on The New Yorker.
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