In the tradition of TIME Person of the Year magazine cover, we are doing a Singapore edition for everyone to vote for your favourite person in Singapore in 2016 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. we will announce the winner on New Year’s Eve, just before midnight 2017.
Without further ado, here’s our round-up of 10 individuals who created an impact to Singapore society this year (be it positive or negative):
The latest news to emerge over the past week is that he is now seeking political asylum in Donald Trump’s United States. If he succeed in doing so, he would have found an innovative method for Singaporean male citizens to dodge National Service legitimately and get out of Singapore. What a slap in the face for the Singapore government.
Wendy Lim (林婉丽), 41, is a logistic executive who allegedly had an extra-marital affair with People’s Action Party (PAP)’s elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency (SMC), David Ong, 54.
Ong announced his resignation from the PAP and as elected MP on 12 March, citing “personal indiscretion”. Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong accepted his resignation and had to call for a troublesome by-election to fill up the vacated SMC.
This woman’s charm single-handedly brought down a politician and caused a by-election. Everyone was clamouring to know more about her as the scandal unfolded early in 2016.
K. Muralidharan Pillai (Murali)
Murali is the newly elected MP of Bukit Batok SMC, winning the by-election in April caused by his fellow PAP cadre, David Ong who resigned abruptly.
In winning the election, Murali did something which the PAP always think is impossible – have a candidate from a minority race beat a Chinese candidate.
Murali secured 61.21% of the votes to win the Bukit Batok by-election, scoring a resounding victory against his more well-known opponent, Dr Chee Soon Juan, the secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party.
Who say Singaporeans vote according to our race?
Murali just proved it’s possible for minority candidates to win on their own merits.
In June, Alice Fong gained notoriety in Singapore, thanks to a viral video shared on Facebook of her berating a deaf and mute cleaner at a food court.
Neoh Yew Kim
Were you touched watching National Day Parade 2016? We were. This year, the highlight is a segment featuring performers with special needs and no one shone more brightly than deaf sign language instructor, Neoh Yew Kim, 22.
After the NDP live telecast, the internet is abuzz with comments on how elegant and inspiring she was, with many professing love at first sight and some even proclaiming their desires to marry her.
In August, Singapore swimmer, Joesph Schooling, 21, won the Olympic gold medal for the 100m butterfly event at Rio 2016, beating his childhood idol, Michael Phelps along the way.
This is the first time Phelps was beaten in any swim events in this Olympic games and Schooling was also the only swimmer who swam under 51 seconds, setting a new Olympic record for the 100m butterfly, leading all the other swimmers by a comfortable margin.
To add, this is also the first ever Gold medal Singapore won since the founding of the nation in 1965.
Heng Swee Keat
Singapore’s hardworking Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, 55, collapsed suddenly from a stroke attack on 12 May, during a regular Cabinet meeting.
He has since recovered but went into a coma for 6 days after the collapse, sending Singaporeans into panic mode when we realised how overworked some of our talented ministers are and how short of talent we are in the political sphere.
S. R. Nathan, was the sixth President of Singapore from 1999 to 2011, having been elected in uncontested elections in 1999 and 2005. In 2009, he surpassed Benjamin Sheares to become Singapore’s longest-serving President.
Nathan suffered a stroke on the morning of 31 July 2016 and was taken to Singapore General Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. He died in hospital on 22 August 2016, aged 92.
Chan Hon Meng
There were two hawker stalls in the list – Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle and Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle. The latter is headed by Chef Chan Hon Meng, 51, who now serves the cheapest Michelin-star meal in the world, starting from just S$2 for a plate of chicken rice!
Dr. Lee Wei Ling
Starting from April this year, Dr Lee Wei Ling, the daughter of the late founding prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, entered into various online disputes with his brother, Lee Hsien Loong, the current prime minister of Singapore, various editors from Singapore Press Holding (SPH), the largest media company in Singapore and many other elites figures in Singapore.