In the tradition of TIME Person of the Year magazine cover, I am doing a Singapore edition for everyone to vote for your favourite Singaporean in 2014 as the year draws to an end (the voting box is at the end of this post).
Note that this poll is not officially endorsed by TIME Inc. I will announce the winner on New Year’s Eve, just before midnight 2015.
Without further ado, here’s my round-up of 10 individuals who created an impact to Singapore society this year (be it positive or negative):
Blogger turned Hong Lim Park regular, Roy Ngerng, is known for being sued for defaming Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore, in one of his blog post. Roy created news when he managed to raise fund quickly for his legal fees through crowd-sourcing. He was in the news again in September when he heckled at special needs children during a performance at Hong Lim Park.
China tour guide Yang Yin would have been a very rich man soon if he was more patient and waited his time. Instead, his fraud got exposed and he now faces potential jail time for his attempt to scam his multi-millionaire Singaporean old lady friend.
At one point, Briton Anton Casey was public enemy number one in Singapore and his name as well as his wife’s name were both among the top ten most searched name on Google for 2014. Casey had to leave Singapore in a hurry with his wife, former Miss Singapore Bernice Wong and his child, due a major uproar he caused in Singapore when he posted a picture of his son online with the caption: “Daddy where is your car and who are all these poor people?” There are rumours that he is back in Singapore.
Andy and his dad got Singapore mentioned in international news coverage on the 2014 Brazilian World Cup. Andy appeared in a video ad where he said he hoped Germany will win the World Cup because his father bet all their family saving on the team. Germany went on to win the World Cup… and Andy was actually promoting anti-gambling.
Singapore model turned actress, Angeline Yap was the talk of the town the last couple of weeks for taking the plunge to appear topless in a made-in-Singapore thriller, Lang Tong. Some applauded her decision while others blasted her as a porn star wannabe.
A*Star scholar, Dr Eng Kai Er, courted controversy when she funded an arts scholarship with her own pay to make a statement on her being forced to work in a job which she has no passion for. If you find her name familiar, she was the A*Star scholar who streaked naked along Holland Village back in 2009.
Dr. Yaacob bin Ibrahim is a busy man this year as Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information. First, he had to save two children’s books on penguins from getting pulped by the National Library Board. Next he had to answer why a documentary by Singapore filmmaker, Tan Pin Pin, had to be given the odd classification, “Not Allowed for All Ratings”. His ministry is also the one tasked with regulating the internet. Good luck.
If not for the curious case of Dr Susan Lim complaining about being overcharged by lawyers in a court case triggered by her overcharging her patient, we would not get to know of all the overcharging going on in both the medical and legal professions, two of the most respectable professions in Singapore.
Businessman Jover Chew became famous overnight when his mobile retail shop, Mobile Air, in Sim Lim Square, refunded a customer S$1,010 in bags of coins and went on to make a Vietnamese tourist kneel and beg for refund. He replaced Anton Casey as public enemy number one in the later part of 2014.
The real identity behind the satirical facebook page, SMRT Ltd (Feedback), has never been revealed. The page turned Internet vigilante recently to bring down Jover Chew and Mobile Air. Many praised them for their actions; filling in the gap when the authorities were slow to react against rogue businesses which were harming the reputation of Singapore and Singaporeans. Others felt they have overstepped.
Cast your vote: