2018 In Review: A List Of Things We Tried To Forget, But Can’t

The year is coming to an end and it’s time to celebrate extraordinary Singaporeans!

By extraordinary, I mean those noble individuals who have enriched our lives by sacrificing their own. Not all heroes wear capes or rescue cats from trees. Some merely chose to behave in so surprising a fashion that the rest of us are entertained for days. Or however long it takes for you to poop.

Since I got a lump of coal for Christmas, I am doubling down on the snark. Join me in a retrospective of 2018’s highs, lows and absolute rock bottoms, because there’s no better way to welcome 2019 than a comprehensive list of how we failed 2018.

Best Influencer: Jade Rasif’s Unborn Child

Image credit: Millennials of SG/Youtube
2018 witnessed the pregnancy of many an influencer in Singapore, including Kim Lim, Naomi Neo and Han Hui Hui. Congratulations all. However, there can only be one pregnancy to rule them all and let’s be real, it’s the Influencer Jr. growing inside Jade Rasif.

Although the baby has yet to be born, he/she is already flexing on social media. When his/her existence was announced on Realtalk, COE prices rose by 17% and so did the rent at Beauty World. Men and women of all ages and income brackets spent months marvelling at Ms. Rasif’s midriff, which remained as flat as our CPF interest rate despite being in the ninth trimester.

Is her sister the greatest trainer since Ash? Or is Jade’s womb a Tesseract that can bend time and space and should thus be destroyed before Thanos seeks us out? Whatever the case, I’m sure Minister Josephine Teo is happy because someone has finally taken her advice to heart.

Tan Cheng Bock Award For Biggest Political Cockblock: Tharman v. Tommy Koh

Many want Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam to be the next Prime Minister, before he ruled himself out (Image: CNA)
In 2018, Dr. Tommy Koh, who seems to be experiencing a belated mid-life crisis, turned on his PAP overlords. He publicly challenged—and embarrassed— them on 377A, minimum wage and the ST’s pro-government bias.

While it is always hilarious to see ST journalists defend their neutrality, I cannot award best pain-in-the-ass to Tommy Koh whilst Tharman is still alive. As long as he lives, Tharman will always be the PAP’s biggest political minefield. Every possible leadership decision will be met with loud, deranged howls for MORE THARMAN, followed by angry disappointment when they offer the Turkey Bacon that is Chan Chun Sing as a substitute.

Photographer of the Year: Daryl Aiden Yow

The Artbox Award For Most Instagram-friendly Waste of Time: Rainbow Works Flaming Unicorn 

$9.90 can go a long way. At a hawker centre, you can get a lamb biryani, a drink and chendol for dessert. You can also get an upsized extra value meal, a whole rotisserie chicken from Cold Storage or even cai png for three, if you skimp on the meat.

$9.90 is also the amount of money that Rainbow Works will charge you for its Flaming Unicorn—a soft serve ice cream which doubles as a harbinger of the end times. For $9.90, you get a purple mush that passes for ice cream if you’re drunk, a handful of stale marshmallows and a fucking balloon planted precariously into your ice cream because why not? If Instagram loves it, we must do it.

I hate everything about this photogenic disaster of a dessert. It stands as living proof that our online personas matter more than our real selves, who would rather consume another hit of ephemeral social validation instead of eating real food. This rainbow unicorn is no magic pony, it’s the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse: Vanity.

Greatest Waste of Taxpayer Money: CNB Investigates Escobar

Image credit: Facebook/Escobar
Pablo Escobar was the leader of Colombia’s Medellin Cartel. He is also the ‘antagonist’ of Narcos season 1 and 2, a popular Netflix program which no doubt inspired the name of this bar in the CBD. Colombians were, of course, incensed to discover that Singapore has a bar named after a mass murderer. For them, it was incredibly bad taste, kinda like opening a Syonan Izakaya or a Mahathir Bottled Water Company.

I can understand the cultural insensitivity. What I cannot understand is why the CNB chose to investigate Escobar for possible ‘illegal drug activities’. Are you guys for real? Did your parents smoke too much yaba while you were in the womb? Lord help us if this is what passes for police work in Singapore, cracking down on pop culture references. What’s next? Shall we crack down on Netflix? Or perhaps Post Malone as well? I don’t want to be a Snitch, but I think Yeyo might be a street name that cool kidz use for drugz.

So Singaporean Walter White wannabes beware, take care not to put a ‘Secret Meth Lab’ sign outside your secret meth lab, because CNB will show no mercy.

Best True Crime: Chew Eng Han’s Great Escape

Image credit: redwiretimes
As ridiculous events go, it’s hard to top Chew Eng Han fleeing Singapore on a sampan with $5000 in cash and brand new fishing gear. This is the kind of shit you attempt in GTA V… after you’ve completed the mission and saved your game. This madman actually attempted it in real life.

Whatever the case, bless the man for listening to the voices in his head. Justice-wise, the City Harvest Scandal had been completely unsatisfactory, until Mr Chew decided to be the captain of his destiny, and promptly crashed into a proverbial iceberg.

Best Group Project: Keppel Haka Cheer

Image credit: Youtube
Nothing like a good Haka to distract from your corruption scandal.

Scandal of the Year: AHTC v. Halal Subway

According to the mainstream media, the biggest scandal of the year was WP’s AHTC trial, an ‘event’ marketed more aggressively than Avengers Infinity War. It squatted on ST’s front page for what seemed like an interminable month and Mothership even built a new micro-site just to twist the knife a little deeper.

Unfortunately, nobody gave a shit. Deep-down, everyone had a feeling that the negative coverage was politically-motivated, even if the wrongdoing was genuine. So we turned our attention to the ‘real’ scandal: Subway going halal.

Except Halal Subway wasn’t much of a scandal either, just a bunch of people whining over bacon as if it was a birthright as important as universal suffrage or habeas corpus.

Honestly, I even didn’t realise Subway used pork until social media started grieving openly, as if  LKY was a ham sandwich. I thought those tasteless pink waxing strips were some kind of dehydrated turkey product all along, because calling it ‘bacon’ would be fake news at best and potentially libellous at worst. Anyway, many pointless tears were shed and the only thing I learned is how many people have never tasted real bacon.

Juiciest Internet Beef: Deekosh v. Deekosh

When the internet doesn’t give you enough drama to work with, take a page from Deekosh’s book and create your own. Conventional thinking dictates that you must respond to the news as they happen. Disruptive thinking is when you create your own news, respond to it, then respond to other people responding to you, and then calling it a ‘social experiment’ when everyone is sufficiently confused.

Anyway, that’s the short version of ‘BTS Army v. Deekosh’, a one-act play where a music critic (played by Deekosh) gets his YouTube Channel deleted by an internet mob (also played by Deekosh). This story was supposed to teach us a lesson about the dangers of mob mentality, but all it did was make BTS fans look mature and measured—a feat which no one believed possible until Deekosh proved the world wrong.

Best Non-existent Singaporean of the Year: Hung Nila Utama

Image credit: Dan Hyperion Fellatius Wong/A Good Citizen
Historians are divided on the subject of Sang Nila Utama. They cannot decide if the prince is a real historical figure or a mythical character. They also cannot decide if Sang Nila Utama drank 12 protein shakes for breakfast or 26.

Not that artist Joseph Tay and A Good Citizen gave a damn. Erasing historical ambiguity from the picture, their version of Sang Nila Utama looks like Dwayne Johnson, if Dwayne Johnson was good-looking, not bald, and bought a penis pump to make his Johnson the size of a forearm. Later iterations of the Hung Nila Utama reduced his Little Prince to more sensible proportions, but fuck that shit. For the bicentennial, we should just replace Raffles with a life-size replica of the Sang Nila Utama’s princely penis.

Most Relatable Tragedy: 9% GST


Morally Ambiguous Selfie Prize

Image credit: Vivian Balakrishnan/Facebook
I hate selfies. I find them pointless and maddeningly ubiquitous. However, I have a special place in my bile-filled spleen for the selfies taken by politicians. Surely there’s no need to take a bloody selfie when you are constantly surrounded by professional photographers who are already photographing you, from every possible angle, for every waking moment of your fake photograph-able life.

That’s why critics are not wrong to call this selfie despicable. It serves no purpose except to show that Kim is one of us, just another regular, un-genocidal guy on social media, am I right, folks? I mean, if Stalin was alive, we would most def get a selfie with him too, right? Right?

Most Annoying Foreigner of the Year: Nas Daily

Image credit: Danamic.org
Every year, there is at least one annoying foreign person who justifiably triggers everyone in Singapore. This year, the award goes to Mr. Nas Daily, a zionist Casey Neistat who makes shouty one-minute videos and shoots down any pesky locals who dare criticise him or his totalitarian brand of positivity.

Mr. Daily is so impressed with Singapore that he called our country “perfect”. He is even “going into politics” because we are just so damn inspiring. In any case, we wish the best of luck to him. I can’t wait to see how Israel will implement a GRC system.

Best Public Meltdown: Fantasy Desserts

Speaking of defamation, Fantasy Desserts, an ice-cream shop in Orchard Gateway which sells unicorn-rainbow desserts of the Artbox/Geylang Bazaar variety. It gained notoriety earlier this year when its owner, one Sara Shantelle Lim, had a very public meltdown over a customer’s bad review.

Review squabbles are nothing new in Singapore but this one truly takes the cake because it happened just days (hours?) after the shop’s opening and Ms. Lim got her lawyer—yes, lawyer—to send a cease-and-desist letter to the customer, alleging that her review was “fake” and “defamatory”. She also sent long rambly accusations to the customer on FB, tried to call her repeatedly, and generally behaved like every psycho ex-girlfriend in a sitcom.

The shop limped on for a few more months (I visited) but it was a dead man walking. The banner ads outnumbered the customers, and its cheery, rainbow-dotted facade looked sad and alone with no one to instagram it.

OCS Platinum Bayonet For Most Garang Singaporean of the Year: The 76-Year-Old Uncle Who Requested To Be Mobilised

Sexiest Accidental Thirst Trap of 2018

Image credit: SCDF/Facebook
Some people think that we should celebrate SCDF for the noble work of saving lives, for sacrificing their weekends and public holidays so that we might live in peace.

Those people are obviously Americans. This is Singapore, so we are 100% celebrating the SCDF… for its attractive people. Chief among them is Jun Kai, an SCDF officer so hot that most fire hydrants explode into fountains when he looks their way. Life for Jun Kai is incredibly hard because most female victims do not recover when he performs CPR, and his recent posting to Bedok has increased the local occurrence of fires by 300%, predominantly in the homes of single gay men.

Seriously though, why do we enjoy discovering ‘hot people’ going about their ordinary lives, when the internet has so many professionally attractive hot people? Is it the sense of wonder and discovery? Or the mistaken belief that their ordinariness, as implied by a regular job, would make them more accessible to us and thus, even more sexy?

Asshole(s) of the Year: Obike Founders Shi Yi & Edward Chen

Reading back what I’ve written, I’m tempted to give myself asshole of the year for all that snark. I am also tempted to give it to that cyclist, or perhaps that asshole who said “shit Malay” and then defended his racism by professing a love for ondeh ondeh.

However, those incidents are petty misdemeanors compared to what Obike founders Shi Yi and Edward Chen did in 2018. Assholes seem too mild a label for those criminals, who collected more than $6 million in deposits, transferred the money to Hong Kong and vanished without a trace because oops, apparently bike-sharing was not a valid business model after all.

Where did the $45 million dollars they raised in 2017 go? Was it a scam to begin with, or a legitimate business scheme which they abandoned once things started to go awry?

There’s really nothing to say except fuck you. Obike’s founders deserve to die. Their families deserve to have their fingernails pulled off. If there’s any justice in the world, Mr. Shi Yi needs to be dragged before a firing squad, have those stupid bangs cut off, and then shot.

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