Top image: RICE File Photo
We talk to all sorts of people for our work, from the man on the street to presidential hopefuls. Some of them are forgettable. Others offer up quotes that have stuck with us.
As the year comes to a close, we revisit their words—wise, wacky, and everything in between. Plus a few gems that didn’t make the final cut.
“The bar is set so low in Singapore that raising your hand and simply questioning a policy or rule makes you a revolutionary.”
–National runner Soh Rui Yong on the backlash he’s faced for daring to be outspoken
Days after we first spoke, Soh was excluded from Singapore’s Asian Games lineup due to certain social media comments and the F-bombs he’d dropped on a couple of podcasts. His opinions might not fly with everyone, but we’d argue he makes a good point in this quote.
“Fuck the press!”
-A partygoer at Golden Mile Complex’s final blowout party
Right after this, the partygoer told our writer he was “not that handsome”. A truly delightful interaction.
“But I leave you to draw your own conclusions on the—how should I put this—uncanny coincidence vis-a-vis timing.”
– Workers’ Party’s leader Pritam Singh at a press conference
Back in July, the People’s Action Party and the Workers’ Party both dealt with extra-marital affairs among their ranks. Mr Singh was responding to a RICE journalist’s question regarding the coincidental timing of both scandals breaking. He didn’t say much, but it’s more about what was left unsaid, isn’t it?
“We’ve agreed to keep the potato chips at $1.”
–Lee Yik Hun, Marketing Director for Meadows’ parent company
This was mere months before the brand increased the price of its potato chips from $1 to $1.20 at some retailers. Oh, Meadows. To paraphrase Taylor Swift, you broke us like a promise. We still love you though.
“What’s wrong with doing prayers at the void deck?”
—Hj Ali, a qaryah (community group) founder
Qaryahs set up prayer spaces at void decks for Muslim residents to perform nightly tarawih prayers during Ramadan. However, this decades-old practice may soon disappear. Hj Ali asks a pertinent question and reminds us of the danger of eschewing tradition for efficiency.
“When shit hits the fan, it will not be evenly distributed.”
–Farmer Ivy Singh-Lim speaking to the press in the wake of Tan Kin Lian’s presidential election defeat
This quote is short, sweet, and very graphic. The best part is she’s probably right about how fecal matter might splatter from a fan, though we can’t say we’ve had firsthand experience.
“Every song is emo if you think about it. Every song is emotional. Ariana Grande’s ‘34+35’, also emotional.”
–Darell Sungkono, bassist and vocalist of Singaporean emo band Forests
Disclaimer: The band was not sober when we interviewed them.
“As an adult, there are things in your life that you have to do alone.”
–Fairuz, spotted dining alone in a coffee shop
This quote from Fairuz reminds us that loneliness is part of the human experience. Instead of fearing it, why not embrace it?
“They will all go online to read the news; there’s no point in missing them.”
–Newspaper vendor Auntie Ah Bee on whether she’ll miss her customers after her stand closes for good
We could all learn a lesson or two on self-worth from Auntie Ah Bee.
“Right now the kids, they don’t want to give anything a shot. It is through them I learn of the word ‘situationship’. Like what the fuck is situationship?”
–Madi, who’s been single for four years
Let’s leave situationships in 2023, thank you very much.
“Don’t stop. If you stop, I will be very sad. Make history one day.”
–George Goh after he was deemed ineligible to run for president
This belongs on a motivational poster.
“This is my child. Why do I have to adopt her?”
–Cally Cheung, a queer woman who conceived her baby with the aid of a sperm donor
It still boggles the mind that a woman would have to legally adopt a baby that came out of her body. But the legal and administrative red tape is the unfortunate reality for many queer couples looking to raise kids together here.
“God had to nerf me because I was too powerful.”
–Erica, who has Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and suffers from chronic fatigue
Having to ration her energy just to get through the day clearly hasn’t robbed Erica of her sense of humor.
“Mud is nature’s Band-Aid.”
–Alan Ng, whose hobby is hiking and jumping in mud puddles
From the time we jumped into a mud puddle for content and lived to tell the tale.
“Life is sometimes like golf. Sometimes you need a few more strokes, but you’ll get there. You just need to be brave enough to fail.”
–Junji Lim, founder of Oishi Japanese Pizza and KobePi, and golf enthusiast
This one’s a throwback for fans of Oishi Japanese Pizza back in the early 2000s. KobePi is Junji’s second stroke at gastronomical success.
The Quotes Left on the Cutting Room Floor
These might not have made it into the final articles in the interests of brevity, but they’re memorable nonetheless.
“To be honest with you, you are not honest with people.”
-A pest control company rep getting angry at us for posing as customers to uncover their cat trapping activities.
The irony of a company playing the honesty card after getting caught with their pants down is palpable.
“Some people like to swim in a pool where it’s safe. Some people like to swim in the sea after they’ve calculated their risks. It’s life.”
–Atikah Syarah, a Singaporean who volunteered as an English teacher in Palestine, on her unconventional journey
Once in a while, we have the privilege of chatting with some truly inspirational people. Atikah, who’s currently based in Lebanon and still doing her best to aid refugees, is one of them.