What an eventful year it has been for so many of us confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. From influencer dramas to endless university scandals, and the coronavirus lifting the lid on filthy and cramped dorms across Singapore. It wasn’t all about the virus – really.
Before we head into the new year, let’s recall all the moments that shook the internet. Fingers crossed 2021 won’t be too bad.
Influencer drama: Cancel Xiaxue, minors call out ‘Dee Kosh’
Singapore influencers made headlines for all the wrong reasons this year. From radio DJ and YouTuber Dee Kosh being summoned by the police for allegedly soliciting sex from minors to Xiaxue being canceled after her attempts to smear election candidate-turn-MP Raeesah Khan went awry.
Police have yet to conclude investigations into Dee Kosh, who was accused by at least four people in August for allegedly offering them money for sex. His employer Power98FM has since placed him “on leave” and at least one of his talents from his YouTube channel has left his management.
His friend, veteran internet celebrity Xiaxue, has not been spared. After calling out the Workers’ Party politician investigated for posting offensive remarks online, Khan supporters hit back at Xiaxue by resurfacing racist remarks she had posted in the past and started an online boycott. The backlash worsened after long-time collaborator ClickNetworkTV dropped Xiaxue from hosting their program. Last month, the social media personality gained some form of vindication after successfully silencing a boycotter, who then issued a public apology saying she regretted her actions.
NUS – National University of ‘Sex’?
One of Singapore’s top universities fell from grace through and through this year amid back-to-back scandals involving sexual misconduct. The spate of such incidents has been worrying for what was meant to be the pride of the country’s education sector.
In the span of just one year, the institution took action against three touchy academics for allegedly behaving improperly towards students. They include Jeremy Fernando, who was fired from the university’s Tembusu College amid accusations he made sexual advances toward two students, Chinese research professor Zheng Yongnian, who resigned in the wake of investigations he allegedly molested a colleague, and political science professor Theodore Geoffrey Hopf, who was sacked for sexually harassing a student.
Filthy worker dorms
It took a pandemic to reveal how unliveable Singapore’s migrant worker dormitories had been. Cramped and filthy, it was only a matter of time those places became epicenters of the coronavirus, which they did.
Months after the outbreak began in Singapore, migrant workers quickly accounted for the bulk of the country’s COVID-19 cases, causing all of them to be isolated in those densely populated facilities for months. Even as Singapore enters the final phase of lifting its COVID-19 measures this week, worker movements remain largely restricted. One of the few good things to come out of this dreadful episode? Workers can expect slightly larger living spaces in the near future.
Worst election for PAP?
Last but not least, Singapore held an election in the middle of a pandemic this year, which resulted in the ruling People’s Action Party performing relatively poorly. The opposition from the Workers’ Party made further inroads by winning one more constituency since the last election and adding more opposition lawmakers in Parliament. The election even made way for Singapore’s first official leader of the opposition, Pritam Singh.