There were 7 people who sparked my admiration in 2018. With them, it seemed like a new dawn befell Singapore and the early sprouts of new hope for a new Singapore were born.
I shall name them one by one.
1. Leong Sze Hian
This guy rocks because he stood his ground, and refused to apologise on Lee Hsien Loong’s terms for what was a mere sharing of a link on facebook. With Lim Tean as his lawyer, he has vowed to fight for Singaporeans’ freedom of expression.
2. Jolovan Wham
Being the head of the organisation campaigning for all forms of civil and political rights in Singapore, this chap deserves a pat on the back for surviving so long, and persevering on despite all odds. Earlier in the year, he also had a 5-minute episode with the PAP’s Fake News Committee, in which he questioned the ridiculousness of the fact that he could not ask questions.
3. Terry Xu
If there is anyone most deserving of an award for the spirit of perseverance in working and toiling away at something probably without profits for the good and justice of Singapore and Singaporeans’ access to quality news coverage that the mainstream media refuses to take up – The Online Citizen – it has to be Terry Xu.
His work with TOC has seen ups and downs, and with very limited resources and a thin manpower base, he has stubbornly insisted on continuing the work of online news publication, with careful reporting and high-standard journalism. No one should be able to doubt that.
4. Lee Hsien Yang
This is one inconvenient and surprise hero that did so much this year. Following last year’s exposé together with sister Lee Wei Ling, of their brother (and the country’s dictator leader) Lee Hsien Loong’s dirty shit with regards to the Oxley Road house, this year saw Lee junior having breakfast with Tan Cheng Bock, donating to Leong Sze Hian’s countersuit against Lee Hsien Loong, and his continuous and relentless fight against the big brother in power by speaking up and speaking out.
5. Tan Cheng Bock
He could very well have chosen to fully retire and enjoy the rest of his largely-establishment life by keeping his mouth shut and closing his eyes to the happenings in the country brought about by the very party he had been MP for more than 30 years. But no, conscientiousness saved this man from the slumber of apathy, and awakened him to take on the devil at the helm, making him vow to do whatever he can to save us.
6. Tan Kin Lian
This man lost his deposit at the PE2011 4-corner match. Like Tan Cheng Bock, he was largely establishment, being NTUC Income’s head for over 20 years. Similarly an RI boy whose inner conscience got the better of him, he toils on to comment and fight the PAP’s rhetoric in his own way. Never mind if he lost the PE, lost his deposit, lost face when trolls and pappies and fake-neutrals attacked him, ridiculed him and chided him no end. This man stands by his sometimes-controversial opinion while respecting everyone else’s. Silly is the one who cannot see their own narrow-mindedness in front of this experienced man.
7. Chee Soon Juan
Defender of democracy and practitioner of actual street demonstrations in draconian and watertightly-controlled dictatorship-Singapore. Another proponent of the never-ever-give-up spirit. He lost his job at NUS for fighting against the PAP, got chased out of NTU for trying to speak with the students, got featured in NTU’s student newspaper for the episode and hailed by the student reporters, only to have that news censored by the university, got handcuffed, thrown in police custody with two to three other party members (Protests of below 5 were still technically ‘legal’ back then, making his arrests controversial.) Bankrupted and tried, smeared as a liar, a cheat, called a useless unemployed. And yet, this guy still insists on fighting clean and not calling names. No wonder people cried for him during his comeback speech in 2015. “I went to the rally expecting comedy central, only to have my entire impression of this man totally overturned – now I am his fan. How did we demonise and bankrupt this bright and intelligent person who in my eyes, has the calibre to be Singapore’s Prime Minister?” wrote a lengthy facebook post.
Astute yet nimble in decisions, he chose to withdraw from the 4-corner contest for Punggol East SMC, and let WP win hands down against PAP’s ass doctor Koh Poh Koon (and unfortunately, also RP’s Kenneth Jeyaretnam and SDA’s Desmond Lim). Critical of the PAP yet also humble and willing to work slowly and progressively for change in Singapore, Chee also organised the Opposition gathering of 2018 to ‘learn from Malaysia’s party takeover’, inviting Tan Cheng Bock to lead a coalition/pact, among others.