What do former Malaysia PM Najib Razak, undergraduate Monica Baey and the Hong Kong protests have in common? They were among the people and developments that riveted internet users in Singapore this year, according to Yahoo’s 2019 Year in Review (YIR).
The YIR is Yahoo’s annual recap of the top search trends, events and happenings over the year, based on the daily searches across its platforms in 2019.
Top Happenings That Riveted The Nation
Crime and tragedy were all-consuming topics in Singapore this year.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is mired in the scandal involving the 1MDB fund that he founded and chaired, was the subject of intense interest among Yahoo users.
Netizens were also shocked by the brutal Orchard Towers murder allegedly committed by a group of young adults. Natalie Siow, the only female accused in the case, made the list of top searches on Yahoo.
28-year-old actor Aloysius Pang and his tragic death following an accident during his army reservist training led many to search online about ‘training safety’ problems and solutions. Actress Jayley Woo, who made her relationship with Aloysius public after the accident, also emerged as one of Yahoo’s top searches.
Monica Baey, a victim of a Peeping Tom case at the National University of Singapore, was in the spotlight as she sparked a national debate on campus safety and the penalty meted out to sex offenders.
The frosty relations between China and the US remained on top of the minds of internet users, who closely monitored the moves by the superpowers against each other throughout the year and their adverse impact on the global economy. The trade war and tariffs, in addition to Chinese tech giant Huawei, which is reeling from a component supply ban imposed by the US government, were among the top search topics.
The socio-political unrest in Hong Kong has also captured Singapore’s attention. With the world watching, the unprecedented protests led to the withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill as tensions ratcheted up between China and the West, particularly the US, over perceived interference in the Chinese city’s affairs.
In Southeast Asia, all eyes were on the Indonesian general elections. As 80 million people cast their vote, Yahoo users were keen to know whether the country would maintain its identity as a secular state amid rising Islamic fundamentalism.
London emerged as the third most popular holiday destination after Bangkok and Tokyo. This might be due to the ease of passing through customs as the ePassport gates (automated) were extended to Singapore passport holders in May at 15 airports across the UK.
Singapore, blessed with myriad cultures and cuisines, saw a few intriguing keywords most commonly searched on Yahoo this year. Dim sum emerged at the top of the list, followed by the ever popular Hainanese chicken rice.
The Singapore Sling also made a showing in tandem with the relaunch of Long Bar at Raffles Hotel, where the iconic drink originated in the early 1900’s, after an extensive renovation. Bubble tea, fish bee hoon and bak kut teh were also among the most popular food cravings in the past year.
In Sports, football again dominated the list of top searches, with people looking for news about the English Premier League, the UEFA Champions League and the Asian AFC Champions League.
Top English clubs Manchester United and Liverpool were also widely searched as excitement intensifies in the competitive EPL.
Singapore’s F1 Grand Prix continues to attract attendees – this year, the three-day action-packed event saw close to 270,000 people come together at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The world’s only F1 night race made the list, along with the ever sensational NBA.
Most Searched Celebrities
While the late Aloysius Pang and Jayley Woo were two of the top searched celebrities, Pang’s manager Dasmond Koh, who helped front media interviews alongside Pang’s family, piqued Singapore’s interest too. The wildly popular JJ Lin, who held a concert back home with tickets re-sold at inflated prices, was also among Singapore’s top searches.
Actor Dennis Chew triggered heated debates about casual racism when he appeared in a controversial ‘brownface’ ad, where he portrayed an Indian moustached man.
An Instagram direct message exchange between Ian Fang and Carrie Wong where they badmouthed fellow actor Lawrence Wong in between flirtatious texts, piqued the curiosity of Yahoo users and elevated the celebs to the top of the search list.
For the biggest moments online and other surprises from the year, take a detailed look at Yahoo Year in Review 2019.