9 other notable things happening in the world other than the Lee family saga

We gotta be honest, we’re getting slightly weary of writing about the internal conflicts of a family that maybe shouldn’t have been made public to begin with. Or maybe its good that it did get out there, just to humanize the members of Singapore’s first family and show that all’s not that clean and sparkling among the successors of Lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister.

But in a bid to stay on top of things, every little tidbit about the internal tiff regarding the fate of their family home is being excruciatingly reported and scrutinized — so much so that the saga is distracting us from the other, more impactful things that are happening in the world.

Sure, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings are alleging that Singapore’s leader has been abusing his power for his own agenda, but like what one of ’em said, the country has to be bigger than one family. And the world’s way bigger than the Little Red Dot, but you already know that (we hope).

In any case, here’s one for all the folks who’re fatigued by all the famiLEE drama: nine other noteworthy things that are happening here, the region, and the world.

1) The GIF turns 30 years old

As anyone who grew up on the internet would attest, GIFs are the shit. On June 15, three decades ago, software writer Steve Wilhite found a way to compress images without degrading visual quality and developed a flexible bitmap image format that supported animation as well. It paved the way for early internet viral images like Dancing Baby and Hamster Dance, if you guys are old enough to remember that.

Thirty years on, the GIF (it’s officially pronounced JIF OK?) is a cultural staple, and the primary communication among the internet savvy — via reaction GIFs of course. Crack a cold one and LeonardoDiCaprioCheers.gif to the internet’s favorite format.

2) An awesome video game about pirates is being made in Singapore

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo came and went, and what a great time it was! We got to see the anticipated likes of Beyond Good & Evil 2, the remastered Shadow Of Colossus, BioWare’s new co-op RPG Anthem and… oh wait, you’re asleep.

In case you don’t speak nerd, at least be proud that an epic pirate-themed video game is being made on our very shores. Gaming studio Ubisoft Singapore unveiled Skull & Bones, the game that lets you pirate it up across the open sea with warships, yarr-worthy crews and intense naval battles. From the reception so far, it’s looking pretty good, too.

3) Scientists on Twitter debate the nastiest smell in the world

What is the worst smell in the world, other than your BO-stricken office colleague who refuses to use deodorant? Apparently, it’s dead turtles according to scientists who debated the topic on Twitter. That, or decomposing long-tailed weasels which, in case you’re not aware, have anal glands that produce super-stanky oily discharge that’s nauseating to humans. Sniff out the worst scents in this article on The Verge.

4) An explosion at a kindergarten in China leaves 8 dead, 65 injured

Photo: Video screengrab

A horrible explosion killed eight people outside a kindergarten in eastern China, while 65 others were injured — including children. The blast, which occurred in  Jiangsu province, is believed to have been caused by a makeshift bomb made by a 22-year-old man, who died at the scene.

Reports have been saying that the man suffered from an autonomic nervous system disorder, with symptoms including depression and anxiety. No motives were provided, but police found carvings on the wall of his rented home near the kindergarten that said “death”, “kill and “extinct”. Investigations are underway.

5) Nearly £3 million has been raised for the victims of London’s Grenfell Tower blaze

Volunteers prepare supplies for people affected. Photo: Neil Hall / REUTERS

A massive fire broke out at Grenfell Tower — a 24-storey tower block in Kensington, West London — yesterday, leaving at least 30 dead, 74 hospitalized, and many others missing or displaced. Less than 48 hours since the incident, however, almost £3 million (about US$3.8 million) was raised for the victims, and donations continue to flood in various charities and crowdfunding campaigns.

Community efforts have been phenomenally massive. Community centres, mosques, churches and temples nearby have been overwhelmed by the donations of food, drinks, clothes, furniture and more — so much so that collection centers had to stop accepting contributions to sort things out first. A good problem to have really, and one that restores your faith in humanity a wee bit.

6) iPhone 8 will most probably support wireless charging

Apple really took their bloody time on this. After finally making their phones water-resistant, rumors are saying that their upcoming iPhone 8 will feature wireless charging. Which is what so many other non-Apple phones have already since a while back, but hey, better late than never. No news of them putting back headphone jacks though, so, bleh.

7) UberBOAT launches in Croatia

Here’s one feature of Uber that we may never see here — UberBOAT. Croatia welcomed the ride-booking app’s latest service, and they probably needed it too, especially since there are approximately 1,2000 islands in the country. Ignoring the fact that Uber’s been having a very rough past couple of months (intellectual property thefts, asshole-esque corporate culture, sexual harassments, privacy concerns, etc), but still, boats on demand sounds pretty nifty.

8) Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor fight confirmed

The match between undefeated boxing champ Floyd Mayweather (the dude who beat beloved Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao) and Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Conor McGregor is set to go down in Las Vegas come August 26. It’s an anticipated fight because it’s the world of boxing vs the world of MMA, plus it’s a chance to see two famously arrogant figures pummel each other in the face.

9) Thai foodies are going crazy for a poop-shaped pudding

A famous Thai dessert shop — known for their weird creations — is selling a poop-shaped pudding made of coconut milk and fruit syrup, and it’s selling like shit-shaped hotcakes. As in, people really love it. ‘Nuff said.

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