As the year comes to a close, we review some things that have come to an end in Singapore. By Sharifah Nursyafiqah
1. The passing of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew
The year started off sombre for many Singaporeans when Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away on 23 March 2015. Many words have been said, and many tears have been spilled, but it was undoubtedly a time of unity as Singaporeans shared in their grief and bade farewell to the founder of modern Singapore.
2. The Punggol Instagram tree
This famed photography spot in Punggol Waterway Park is no more, as the iconic “Punggol Lone Tree” was declared dead and removed on 16 December 2015. Now that this rustic spot is gone, shutterbugs and OOTD aficionados will be hard-pressed to find a place with similar character in our urban jungle.
3. Closure of popular cafes
It is hard to stay relevant and competitive in the highly-saturated market of cafes in Singapore. With high costs, and many cafes dishing out similar offerings, it takes more than artfully mismatched chairs and artisanal beverages to keep customers coming back. Some cafes that have unfortunately left the scene include Rouse on Dunlop Street, Loysel’s Toy at Kampong Bugis, and Spanish Doughnuts at Orchard Central.
Remember the heyday of CDs and the excitement of getting your hands on a band’s new album? Those days are, evidently, over, and so too are the days of HMV in Singapore. Their last remaining outlet at Marina Square spun its swan song on 30 September 2015. There have been talks of opening a new store at an undisclosed location next year, but it remains to be seen if the new place will suffer the same fate as its predecessors.
5. Malaysian Cup
Once more, the Lions XII team has been kicked out of the Malaysian league, with little warning, on 25 November 2015. The Football Association of Malaysia had cited travel costs as the reason for not extending the Memorandum of Understanding with the Football Association of Singapore, as it was expensive ferrying the Malaysian teams into Singapore for matches. Can the fate of domestic football pick up momentum after this?
6. The Flying Inkpot penned its last words
After 19 years, Singapore’s longest-running theatre and dance review site closed in June 2015. The independently-run website has been supporting the local arts scene with its reviews from volunteers, making the theatre scene more accessible to audiences. However, the site was unable to receive funding from the National Arts Council to support its operations, and it was difficult for the founders (Matthew Lyon and Kenneth Kwok) to juggle full-time jobs and the commitments of a professional site with accompanying social media accounts. The Flying Inkpot is now kept as an archive of past reviews and critical writing from 1996 to 2015.
The four furry marsupials that were on loan from Australia in April 2015 will be heading back home in 2016, and visitors to the zoo have until 3 January 2016 to catch them in action. Cantik, Sayang, Nila, and Manja were symbols of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Australia. From 5 to 27 December 2015, the zoo with be hosting a farewell party for the koalas every weekend, including fun games, face-painting, and story trails.
8. No more flagging an Easy Taxi
If you are a frequent user of taxi booking apps, you might have noticed the quiet disappearance of Easy Taxi from the taxi-booking scene in September 2015. While at one point of time in Singapore, they were able to have as many as 20, 000 drivers under their fleet, the Brazil-based start-up was, however, unable to compete against the likes of GrabTaxi and Uber.
9. Cosmopolitan and FHM Singapore
Perhaps sex does not sell in Singapore (not in print, anyway) as 2015 saw the closure of men’s read FHM in September and women’s magazine Cosmopolitan in October. The reasons? The changing consumption habits of men in recent years, and the crowded lifestyle market that rendered the women’s magazine unsustainable.
With all the pomp and circumstance leading up to this landmark year, we can now (finally) say goodbye to the festivities of Singapore’s 50th birthday. Like the one friend who’d never let you forget their birthday is coming up, Singaporeans have been enveloped in celebrations after celebrations this year, and with 2016 comes the relief of SG51 (which will most definitely pale in comparison to its rockstar predecessor).