8 things that made us go WTF last week in Singapore

Singapore can be pretty safe when it comes to anything sensational. But time and again, there’ll be several bits of news that are so whack, you just can’t ignore it. Here are the top stories that made us go WTF last week.

Another proud day for kaypoh citizens

Guys, this is why we can’t have nice things. Just a few weeks ago, we were excited to write about all the envelope-pushing shows at the upcoming M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, running Jan 4-15. The festival, incidentally, well reputed to be more risque than the other annual art events, has an R18 rating. But apparently that was not enough for some. A Facebook group of artless citizens wrote a post and a blog entry to protest the festival, questioning how “such decadent sex and LGBT-themed shows [can] be propagated” in Singapore, and urged Singaporeans to “take action to write to the Ministers to stop this pornography in Singapore disguised as art” in reference to Undressing Room by Singaporean artist Ming Poon and Naked Ladies by Canadian artist Thea Fitz-James. The festival then released a statement on Facebook to clarify its theme and programing, and how all their showcases undergo Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s strict application reviews. But alas, the IMDA followed up and has since instructed the organizers to either cut both shows from the line-up, or make changes to them before resubmission, because the two performances have “excessive nudity which included scenes of audience-participants tripping naked, and graphic depictions of exposed genitalia”. You know, you really don’t have to see it if you don’t want to. But don’t ruin it for others.

The three digits that Singaporeans have been talking about

The election of Donald Trump crashed the Canadian immigration website. Here in Singapore, it’s exam results that break the internet. Last week, a depressing community-based website where primary schools are “ranked” according to the highest scorer of that school for the year through crowd-sourcing information (the government stopped announcing these to remove the strong focus on grades) got so much traffic from kiasu parents that it crashed. Thankfully, before we had too long to feel sorry for the children and their stolen youths, an associate professor from NUS posted his old PSLE score on Facebook and told the Internet what he does for a living now, urging the public to do the same to spread the word and show young people that life isn’t defined by grades. Naturally, the post went viral and has raked up close to 4,000 shares over four days.

Local music goes international. Just don’t expect to hear it.

Internet radio service Pandora, which is available in the States, Australia and New Zealand, will now feature some of our best movers and shakers of the music scene like Gentle Bones, Charlie Lim, TheLionCityBoy and more, on a dedicated Singapore station curated by The Music Society, Singapore (SGMUSO). In a bid to reach out to wider audiences, this playlist will see about 90 songs by 30 different musicians. However, Singaporeans won’t be able to listen to it. In fact, we won’t even be able to use this U.S. music streaming service because it hasn’t been available since 2007 because of licensing issues. Thankfully, there are many other ways you can get your fix of great music made in Singapore: other music streaming services, vinyl, iTunes, live performances at bars… there’s just no excuse not to support local.

No more F1? No problem

Well, nothing’s confirmed at the moment but Formula One’s head honcho Bernie Ecclestone said in an interview with a German publication that Singapore doesn’t want to continue the famed Night Race because we’ve achieved whatever we wanted having the Grand Prix here, in terms of tourism. His comments quickly follow after this year’s edition of the race had the lowest ticket sales since its inception in 2008. The Singapore Grand Prix spokesperson declined to comment “on ongoing commercial negotiations”, but a day after that, Ecclestone clarifed his previous statement, saying that F1 still wants to be in Singapore. Negotiations for the fate of the Grand Prix are still going on, but according to a report by Channel News Asia, Singapore’s tourism industry won’t be too affected by the loss of this spectacle.

Singapore votes against a UN mandate to protect LGBT community

Singapore is one of the 77 countries that voted against having an Independent Expert on the protection of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). This position was mandated by a breakthrough resolution on June 30 this year, but was later challenged by an African Group that seeks to postpone the appointment so that there’ll be more time for consultations. When eight Latin American Countries (LAC 8) fought the postponement, 84 countries voted to support LAC 8’s amendment and Singapore and 76 other countries voted against. Given that just in June, the government promised to protect all citizens regardless of sexual orientations, the move is puzzling to say the least. Also puzzling is that major newspapers did not cover the news. Local website Popspoken has usefully run a transcript of Singaporean Ambassador Gafoor here, where he explains that his opposition is based on a technicality.

Scalpers ruin Coldplay

If you don’t already have a ticket to catch Coldplay on either nights, well, you might just have to find alternative ways to get it because all 100,000 tickets for both shows are sold out. When tickets for the British band’s show in Singapore next year went on sale, many netizens opted to air their frustrations on social media about not being able to check out even though they had the tickets in their cart, and how the website just kept crashing; not surprising for a band like Coldplay. But what took the cake was that there was a large number of tickets on the resale market that were going for ridiculous prices ($3,000 a pop), which led to a petition for a second night. 

Deliveroo delivers more than it should have

Sounds like an elaborate prank being played on Deliveroo, but the food delivery service, which arrived here in Singapore three years ago, found that some of their members’ accounts have been compromised following the recent hacking of its UK site. Customers here in Singapore have been charged with food orders that they didn’t place themselves. Those accounts have since been suspended and are being investigated. Messing with Singaporeans when it comes to their food delivery seems especially mean.

Fantastic beasts, and where to find them in Singapore

No, we don’t meant the Rowling sort. Apparently, they’ve been spotted in Lim Chu Kang fish farm, Marina Reservoir, Jurong West, and our local universities.The first instance was when a 2.5-meter estuarine crocodile was found stuck between a fence, some wood and machinery in the farm. However, four rescuers from the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) managed to carry it back to the natural habitat of Sungei Buloh nature reserve, which was nearby. Then, a week later, a creature that looked like a crocodile was sighted in the waters near Singapore Sports Hub, causing water sport activities in the immediate vicinity and in Marina Reservoir to be suspended pending investigations this weekend. Over in the western heartlands of Singapore, the popular hawker center at block 505 in Jurong West was closed for a day last week to deal with the rat infestation in the area. However, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has instructed the local town council to do more to curb this problem, especially after the NEA received 18 cases of rat sightings in the area this year. Last but not least, not one but two cute pangolins found their way into the dorm areas of NTU and NUS respectively, and was returned to its natural habitat by ACRES rescuers.