17 Reasons Why (We Loved 2017)
Happy 2018! We thought it would be fun to look back on 2017—widely touted as a horrible year by many—and uncover some bright spots of the recently departed year that sets us on the right footing for 2018.
Turns out Singaporeans are a generous bunch! Collectively, the nation has raised over $100 million in funds since Giving.sg first opened in December 2015, and signed up for over 240,000 volunteering hours.
Just one of the many rays of sunshine that shows Singaporeans will actually lend a helping hand to their neighbors. Remember not to just stop and stare (or Stomp!) but take action instead.
Bangladeshi workers—just one group of unsung heroes in Singapore—were given a moment to shine thanks to Channel News Asia’s micro-documentary on some of the work they do. But what caught the attention of Singaporean netizens was one comment by a Ronon Anapana, a Bangladeshi worker who has been in Singapore for 11 years. He expressed his thanks for CNA and locals for highlighting the work they do, and that sparked an outpouring of thankful and grateful posts from locals for the work Bangladeshi workers do. A small story, but heartwarming nonetheless.
Bicycle Hero in Singapore
After 2017’s many tragic tales of rental product abuse and how we just can’t have nice things, it is nice to see that a man (not even local!) is willing to step forward and do something about it rather than just complain. His social initiative, Volunteer Bike Patrol, is a Facebook group which encourages volunteers to take screenshots of damaged bikes in their area. Bike vigilante, Zhivko Girginov, will come around with his lorry and pick them up. What a hero!
Leaving a Generous Legacy in Singapore
Charities got a much needed boost from an extremely generous posthumous donation. This British-turned-Singaporean couple really demonstrated unconditional generosity by giving a gift of SGD$2 million to the SPCA, $2 million for a new NKF dialysis center in Marsiling and finally $2 million to Assisi Hospice. The Esserys left a mark of generosity and kindness in Singapore, one much lauded by appreciative locals (http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/public-response-to-a-couples-posthumous-donation-of-6-million-overwhelming). Kindness and generosity always bring on a smile!
Pony Therapy Available in Singapore
Who can say no to an animal story? These beautiful ponies lend a hand to vulnerable youths, their care becoming a form of therapy. Equal-Ark, creates opportunities to develop social skills and teaches troubled youths how to handle their emotions. This equine-assisted learning educates and counsels those in need by pairing them with horses and taking them through grooming, feeding and caring for the ponies. But it is not just the youths who benefit from the program: many of the horses are former race horses, which are commonly put down once their racing years are over. The charity has given them a new lease on life and a new home.
Happy, Long-serving Aunties in Singapore
While you sit at your desk bemoaning your job, these cheerful housekeepers have been at their job for 45 years! Three housekeepers at Mount Alvernia were lauded for their dedication to their role at the hospital. All three put it down to generous benefits and good working relations.
Energy-Saving Community Centre in Singapore
As the rest of the world makes strides in green efforts, Singapore seems to be crawling along. So it’s such a pleasure to see results from the little we do do! Bukit Panjang Community Club was awarded a Green Mark Gold Plus certification by the Building and Construction Authority by installing 150 solar panels and over 50 sensors to monitor energy usage. This has led to a 31 per cent reduction in energy usage.
More Greenery In Singapore
While green, golf courses don’t count towards nature preservation. In fact, they threaten nature areas. Thanks to Singapore’s green initiative, more parks in public housing estates, the new 24km Rail Corridor and more green trails will give our recovering flora and fauna population a space to grow.
Pangolin Repopulation Plan For Singapore
Speaking of Singapore’s fauna, the critically endangered pangolins (a rare, magical-looking armored creature) are now subjects of a repopulation program, courtesy of Singapore’s Wildlife Reserves (WRS). Currently housed at the zoo is Sandshrew (named, adorably, after the similar-looking Pokemon creature). The orphan was rescued and will be rehabilitated till it can be released into the forest. Last year there were only 100 wild pangolins in Singapore, this program hopes to up those numbers.
Better eyesight amongst Singaporeans!
Amidst rising myopia rates around the world, Singapore’s level has remained stable. Sure, it might be one of the highest rates in the world, but at least it’s been kept at a stable 65 per cent amongst Primary 6 students for the past decade. Little victories everyone, little victories.
Possibilities of Reviving the Great Barrier Reef Rise
In other parts of the world, efforts to save the environment are ramping up, starting with one of the world’s natural wonders. Portions of the Great Barrier Reef are being studied, with experimentations on coral transplants to potentially revive this great underwater playground. Perhaps we’ll see color brought back to that part of the ocean again one day.
Otter Pup Rescued By Singaporeans
Who can resist the these slippery critters? The famed otter families of Bishan and Marina Bay have birthed wildlife watching groups, and now a 12-minute documentary on the rescue of one of their pups. It showed the dedication of volunteers who rescued and treated an injured little creature that had been caught in barbed wire. Heartwarming, it never fails to bring a smile to our faces.
Free Taxi Rides for These Students In Singapore
Ordinary people who go to extraordinary lengths to help someone in need are always worth a mention, and these two cabbies are no exception. The first story is of a helpful Grab driver who went the extra mile. Rather than leaving his two student passengers to fend for themselves at ACRES (they had gone there after rescuing an injured pigeon) in Choa Chu Kang, he waited for them to complete their mission before driving them back to the main road. Another cabbie played good Samaritan by giving four young students a free ride. The four secondary school boys, stuck at Singapore Zoo after missing the shuttle bus, had hoped $10 would get them to Khatib MRT Station, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Thankfully, the kind cabbie decided to send them all the way home instead without taking payment. The next time you complain about taxi drivers in Singapore, think about these two guys!
Urban Gardening In Singapore
Our cookie-cutter high-rise apartments are getting some color with the help of urban farming. More gardeners are starting to experiment with different methods and it has led to some very unique fruits and vegetables. For those looking to bring some greenery into their own homes, NParks holds talks occasionally.
Underfunded Athlete Finally Gets Help from Singaporean Scholarship
Unfortunately 2017 was not a great year for Singapore athletes, what with the drama going on with the higher-ups at Singapore Athletics. The quarrels affect some of Singapore’s best and brightest. But with the help of separate foundations and brands, underfunded and overlooked athletes, such as self-funded powerlifter Matthew Yap, are now getting the help they need. We hope to see more support for our athletes in 2018!
by Dawn Seow