Singapore In The News

  

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I’m always pleasantly surprised when I read good things about Singapore in world newspapers. Everyday, there are people making their countries famous for all the wrong reasons. We’re fortunate to have people here in Singapore who make the best headlines AND make us look good to the world. No need to read between the lines – that’s surely something worth your time.

We’ve looked through the news archives and dug up some good stories. Here are 11 times Singaporeans felt proud to be on world news in recent years. 

 

1. “Singapore own goal as anti-gambling advert backfires” – BBC

 

During the 2014 World Cup, Singapore’s very own National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG) ran a large-scale ad campaign featuring a boy called Andy whose father had bet all his savings on Germany to win the tournament. 
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Of course, Germany then demolished hosts Brazil 7-1 en route to winning the World Cup.
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The ad then became world-famous for correctly predicting that Germany would win. Many congratulated Andy on his father’s windfall, including government ministers. Several parodies also appeared.
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That’s right, idSingapore is now home to the most famous anti-gambling ad in the world.

The NCPG had one last comeback to its critics, reminding us that gambling never stops:
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Oh well. Still, we hope Andy’s dad reveals his picks for Euro 2016 soon.  

 

2. “Cheryl’s Birthday: Singapore’s maths puzzle baffles world” – BBC

 

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This was initially thought to be a Primary 5 maths question. For those parents who have felt for years that their children are being overly stressed by Singapore’s tough examinations, this was like throwing gasoline on the fire.
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The original post sparked thousands of comments and shares before it was clarified that it was actually a Secondary 3 Maths Olympiad question. Still, this did not stop news readers around the world from trying their hand at a bit of logic. It even spawned a Wikipedia page aptly titled “Cheryl’s Birthday”. Sites like the BBC also released their own explanations of the solution.
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The more cynical ones also tried their hand at a bit of humour. 
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If you missed it, here’s the solution and a sequel by Nanyang Technological University. 

This question originally appeared on Kenneth Kong’s Facebook page. 

 

3. “Bizarre Sea Creature Caught In Singapore Looks Like Kraken Come To Life” – Huffington Post

  

Remember the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and how you thought the Kraken was just something you saw on movie screens? Today, Singapore is home to a Kraken-like mysterious sea creature.
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It was fished out from the Pulau Ubin waters by fisherman Ramlan Saim. According to Discovery News, it’s likely a basket star, a relative of the starfish. Did you also know that more than 95 percent of our underwater universe has not yet been explored? 
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It’s a weird and wonderful world under the sea. – here’s what Amanda had to say about the ArtScience Museum’s newest exhibition, The Deep.

 

4. “Here’s why Singapore’s incredible airport was just named best in the world again” – Business Insider

  

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We might only be the 190th largest country in the world, but we certainly have the World’s Best Airport, with over 400 accolades. Even when we’re not travelling, we still enjoy visiting the airport just to soak in the atmosphere. “Why yes, I can send you off,” you’d happily say to all your friends and family. 

Everyone recognises these touchscreens where you can easily indicate your satisfaction. No one ever presses the frowny faces. 
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There’s also a 40-ft slide – as long as you spend $10 at any airport shop, you’re eligible to ride the slide.
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It might not be groundbreaking news. But it’s something we Singaporeans have been consistently proud of for years. Winning awards every year just reminds the world how awesome Changi Airport is.

 

5. ‘I So Stunned Like Vegetable’ Could Become A Thing After This Video – TIME.com

 

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If you’re having a bad day, just remember that UN UN UN UN UNbelievable is what you are. Veteran actor Chen Tianwen’s now-famous MV has reached such levels of fame since its release it has eclipsed its parent show, Spouse for House 2. It’s so popular, I’m starting to find the song phrases used in everyday speech by the people around me. That’s not a bad thing.

Within one day of its release, it got 430,000 views on the Channel 5 Facebook page. The main video, on YouTube, now has over 1.7 million. 
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It was featured on TIME Magazine, as well as the Huffington Post. No one expected that a spoof of local 70’s songs would put Singapore on the world map, but it did. 
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Chen also performed his song at the 2015 Star Awards and filmed a special MV for the SEA Games with video clips of local athletes. It’s almost an anthem now. Take a bow, Chen Tianwen. Truly unbelievable. Presenting the one and only: 

 

6. “Southeast Asian Games open in Singapore with spectacular ceremony” – Reuters

 

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Singapore hosted the 2015 edition of the SEA Games, South-East Asia’s biannual sports event.  It was last hosted here in 1993. The dazzling opening ceremony featured 5,000 performers and 160 multimedia screens, and was held at the new National Stadium. It was quite the spectacle. 

 

7. “Schooling earns 9th swim gold medal at Southeast Asian Games” – Yahoo! News

 

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That’s known as a clean sweep. But the rest of the swimming team, including the Quah siblings, Tao Li, and Amanda Lim, also made it look just too easy. In a dominating performance, they bagged 23 golds – 12 more than the 11 they got in the 2013 SEA Games. It’s also worth mentioning the award ceremony for the 4×200 women’s freestyle relay event.. 

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During this medal ceremony, the overworked PA system sputtered into silence. Despite that, the crowd continued singing, even louder than before. The girls were pleasantly surprised – although the sound man must have been sweating blood.

 

8. Singapore construction worker rescues dangling baby – CNBC

 

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My friend called them the ‘Spidermen of Singapore’. When a three-year girl became stuck on the second floor, two men had tried to lift themselves up but failed as they were not strong enough.
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Two nearby construction workers came to the rescue. They climbed pipes swiftly, risking their own safety, but reaching the baby and averting any danger. The SCDF arrived soon after and cut the rails, freeing the toddler.
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After their selfless act, the two men were said to have “promptly went back to work”. The SCDF later awarded both men the Public Spiritedness Award for their actions. With chin-ups no longer being a part of IPPT, it’s going to be difficult finding people who can scale walls like these two. 

This incident was originally posted by blogger Alvin Lim on his blog, Alvinology.com.

 

9. Singaporeans aid Vietnam tourist victim of phone scam – Daily Mail

 

In November 2014, Vietnamese tourist Pham Van Thoai handed over $950 for a new iPhone 6 at Sim Lim Square’s “Mobile Air” store. If shops had criminal records, Mobile Air, with 18 complaints in 10 months, was more than just a criminal – it was a serial offender. 
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The staff then refused to give him the phone unless he paid another $1,500 in “warranty fees”. When he asked for his $950 back, they refused, saying he had already signed a contract. For a factory worker that earns just $160 a month, this was heartbreaking – he got down on his knees and tearfully begged for a refund, but he only got back $400 after CASE and police intervention. 
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In the next two days, Jover Chew would fully understand the term ‘internet vigilantism’.

Unflattering photos of him were posted online for the world to see. His home address and the addresses of all his businesses were posted online, as were his NRIC, wife’s personal details, and phone numbers. I can only assume he got a lot of phone calls from reporters – well, luckily for him, he used to own a mobile phone shop. 
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As a result, he was forced to close his shop, and police stepped up security in the area, making it harder for conmen to get away with scams. Jover Chew and four others recently appeared at the State Courts in May 2015 to face 33 charges, mostly of abetment by conspiracy to commit cheating. 

Meanwhile, Gabriel Kang, a Singaporean entrepreneur, started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. He aimed to raise $1,350 to buy Pham a new iPhone 6 and some goodie bags with local treats like bak kwa and kaya jam. He met his target in 56 minutes and eventually got more than 9 times that amount – over $12,000. 
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He managed to pass Pham a goodie bag before he left for Vietnam, although Pham politely declined the iPhone.
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There’s a new phrase going around – “in Singapore, I shopped till I dropped – to my knees!”  Hopefully, this will soon be a thing of the past. While we aren’t too proud of Jover Chew’s actions, we are proud that there are people in Singapore like Gabriel Kang who believe in what is right. 

 

10. Singapore’s ‘Pink Dot’ LGBT Rights Rally Sees Record Turnout – Reuters

 

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This year’s Pink Dot saw over 26,000 people attend the event at Hong Lim Park. Since the first Pink Dot SG in 2009, several other organisations around the world have modeled LGBT events to the Pink Dot concept, often borrowing the “Pink Dot” prefix. These included Pink Dots in Okinawa, Taiwan, and Utah. 
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While there has been strong opposition from some religious groups, the event organisers and its supporters have been undeterred and continue to promote the freedom to love. 
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Pink Dot SG was featured in the 2011 documentary Courage Unfolds, as well as Google’s “Legalise Love” campaign. Here’s what we had to say about last year’s Pink Dot.

 

11. ‘Father of Singapore’ Lee Kuan Yew Dies at 91 – TIME

 

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In March 2015, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew passed away at the age of 91. Even though I was aware of what he had done for Singapore, I had no idea that his influence had spread all over the world – that world leaders such as Barack Obama and Tony Blair, among several others, would join Singaporeans in paying their respects to Singapore’s founding father.
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Lee’s legacy was unparalleled. Barack Obama called him a “giant of history”, a “devoted public servant” and a “remarkable leader”. His economic policies in Singapore were said to have shaped those in the Asia-Pacific region, including China. 
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In Singapore, people queued for hours to pay their respects to his body in Parliament House – many queued overnight. The length of the queue stretched over 2 km at one point and waiting times were estimated at 5-8 hours.
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Even as the country was brought to a standstill, I noticed several acts of kindness by Singaporeans. That’s the Singapore spirit MM Lee would have been proud of. 

This year, Singapore celebrates her 50th year of independence. While the great man may be gone, he certainly will not be forgotten. The National Day Parade will feature a tribute segment to Mr Lee, including a video montage and a five star flypast. Even though he’s gone, his legacy will live on.

 

Bonus: “Are these the WORST-EVER dives? Filipino divers go viral with horrendous performances at South East Asia Games” – The Mirror UK

 

While not actually Singaporean, it is worth mentioning, as it happened at the recent SEA Games:
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It’s said that true friends don’t let friends do silly things alone. Ater Filipino diver John Fabriga executed a poor dive that got him zero points, his good friend JD Pahoyo had a good laugh..  

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He then followed in his friend’s footsteps by getting zero points from all three judges.ezgif.com-optimize-1.gif
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The divers have been featured on TIME.com, Yahoo Eurosport, and The Mirror (UK).

One of the divers took it in stride and left a comment on the Facebook video, saying that he was proud that “he could still laugh at himself even after getting embarrassed in front of thousands of people”.

Their light-hearted spirit certainly won my respect, although their boss, the Philippines Swimming President, may find himself in a bit of, um, hot water. He’s been asked to give an explanation of their performances.

 

Shining A Spotlight On Singapore

 

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There’s nothing quite like shining a spotlight on our little red dot and reminding the world that exciting and UNBELIEVABLE things do happen here. If you missed any of these as they happened, we also hope this article got you up to date on the biggest and latest news in Singapore. 

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!