9 times Singapore said ‘WTF’ this year

From left to right: Indian composer Joey Mendoza who says he wrote Count on me, Singapore, non-constituency member of parliament Leong Mun Wai being called ‘illiterate’ in parliament debate, and Night Owl Cinematics founders embroiled in their biggest scandal yet. Photos: Joey Mendoza/Facebook, MCI/YouTube, Night Owl Cinematics/YouTube
From left to right: Indian composer Joey Mendoza who says he wrote Count on me, Singapore, non-constituency member of parliament Leong Mun Wai being called ‘illiterate’ in parliament debate, and Night Owl Cinematics founders embroiled in their biggest scandal yet. Photos: Joey Mendoza/Facebook, MCI/YouTube, Night Owl Cinematics/YouTube

Another year full of eventful good and bad happenings went by quickly and with them came a whole lot of weird moments. Whether it was the scandals nobody saw coming, gripping incidents and oh-no-he-didn’t moments, let’s look back at how the year went.

The entertaining Night Owl Cinematics

At left, Night Owl Cinematics founders Sylvia Chan and Ryan Tan in a 2020 video, and alleged chat comments from Chan, at right. Photos: Night Owl Cinematics/YouTube, Sgcickenrice/Instagram
At left, Night Owl Cinematics founders Sylvia Chan and Ryan Tan in a 2020 video, and alleged chat comments from Chan, at right. Photos: Night Owl Cinematics/YouTube, Sgcickenrice/Instagram

The juiciest scandal in entertainment this year belonged to a mess that erupted at a successful YouTube channel, which became caught in a whirlwind of accusations in recent months, mainly sliming cofounder Sylvia Chan as an abusive and unfaithful exploiter. After weeks of damning allegations, she finally got a moment to tell her side and justify her actions with limelight hoarder Xiaxue for two long hours. 

Count on him, Singapore

Joey Mendoza in a February photo. Photo: Joey Mendoza/Facebook
Joey Mendoza in a February photo. Photo: Joey Mendoza/Facebook

Many of us may fibbed at some point and taken credit for something we shouldn’t, but it usually doesn’t provoke an international incident.

After song covers that sounded just like National Day anthem Count on Me, Singapore surfaced online, an Indian composer stepped forward to claim ownership of the soundalike We Can Achieve. He said he wrote the song three years before its Singapore debut and doubled down with a claim to have taught it to 250 orphans in Mumbai. But a dog ate the tapes; or perhaps it was a flood. It took Singapore’s Culture Ministry getting involved and sending legal threats flying for him to remember otherwise. The episode was so absurd that our April 1 report almost smacked of truth.

Parliament trash-talking

Leong Mun Wai at yesterday’s parliamentary session. Photo: MCI/YouTube
Leong Mun Wai at yesterday’s parliamentary session. Photo: MCI/YouTube

Parliament is a place for debating, posturing, voting, and even telling some lies. Now we can add spanking to that list after cameras were set up for public viewing this year.

Without them, we wouldn’t have caught September’s savage trash-talking during a marathon labor policy debate, a microphone picked up Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan calling Leong Mun Wai, a non-constituency member of parliament, “illiterate” and mocking his elite education. Both men forced smiles and called a truce, but it seemed an especially low blow that had to sting.

Liar, liar, Parliament on fire

Sengkang MP Raeesah Khan in Parliament on Nov. 1, 2021. Photo: MCI
Sengkang MP Raeesah Khan in Parliament on Nov. 1, 2021. Photo: MCI

It certainly wasn’t the first lie told by a lawmaker, but it proved the last for former MP Raeesah Khan this year. The once-promising member of the opposition dug her own political grave by fudging her role in a rape victim’s bad experience with police. While Khan said she was present during the encounter, it later turned out that she’d heard it in a support group and was trying to shield her own painful past as a victim of sexual violence.

That did little to stifle the rage directed at her. Even her own party boss threw her under the bus, saying that she chose to lie again to conceal her sexual assault. She has since stepped down and the entire opposition is under intense scrutiny by a parliamentary committee.

River Valley High School killing

The entrance to River Valley High School at Boon Lay. Photo: Google
The entrance to River Valley High School at Boon Lay. Photo: Google

Schools killings are extremely rare in Singapore, and the city-state was shaken this year by one involving an axe. In July, a 16-year-old senior stabbed a 13-year-old to death at River Valley High School. Police said they did not know each other. Singapore mourned his death for the next few days and the attacker is currently on trial and faces life imprisonment.

Girl on the train tracks

Screenshots show a girl lean from an elevated railing Monday afternoon. Images: Sgfollowsall/Instagram, Mrtsginfo/Twitter
Screenshots show a girl lean from an elevated railing Monday afternoon. Images: Sgfollowsall/Instagram, Mrtsginfo/Twitter

Photos and videos of a girl in a school uniform standing on a train track railing at Yio Chu Kang station gripped netizens in June. Train staff were commended for acting swiftly by radioing for help and urging her to not jump. 

‘Hwa Chong’ lady 

Screengrabs from a video of a woman who antagonized other MRT passengers. Photos: Ryan Kalmani/Twitter
Screengrabs from a video of a woman who antagonized other MRT passengers. Photos: Ryan Kalmani/Twitter

The infamous racist woman who made headlines with her degrading the non-Chinese on the train and frequent mentioning of her being an alumna of the prestigious Hwa Chong Institution was the most bizarre racist incident this year. What’s worse is that she had a whole (now-deleted) video library full of her chasing and terrorizing people during her commutes. 

She was taunted online by many and definitely scarred her victims from taking the public transport. 

8 times in 2021 that absurd racism burst into view in Singapore

No TV but a letter wishing him a ‘happy life’ instead

A Xiaomi LED television listed on Lazada, at left. The letter Cris Ng received from the seller, at right. Photos: Xiaomi, Cris Ng/Facebook
A Xiaomi LED television listed on Lazada, at left. The letter Cris Ng received from the seller, at right. Photos: Xiaomi, Cris Ng/Facebook

A man who thought he shopped smart by ordering a smart TV at a slashed off price learned the hard way that there’s no such thing as a really, really good deal. Not only did he get scammed, but the scammer further insulted his intelligence by sending a note that the TV wasn’t coming due to logistics problems. At least, the letter wished him “a happy life.

Changi Airport gone wild

A sedated black-maned lion is confined by cargo netting in Singapore.
A sedated black-maned lion is confined by cargo netting in Singapore.

We never thought we’d hear about two lions escaping their crates in Changi Airport. Soon leaked photos showed them drugged and bound in ropes as questions raced about where they came from and were going. Fueling fears, those in charge refused to divulge any information about the mystery lions, only saying it was legal. As it turns out, the legal trafficking of wildlife may be a bigger problem than the illegal trade.

Other stories you should check out:
8 times in 2021 that absurd racism burst into view in Singapore

Watch people in LA struggle to find Singapore on the map (Video)

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