Singapore’s biggest unintentional stars of 2015

The personalities that made unexpected headlines in Singapore this year 

Emma Lee aka “NDP chiobu”
Emma Lee aka “NDP chiobu”
18 Dec 2015

Emma Lee aka “NDP chiobu”

It was Singapore’s Golden Jubilee but the star of the republic’s largest National Day Parade (NDP) was not the Black Knights, fireworks or even songbird Kit Chan. Stealing the limelight was, instead, this lady in red, who made men go weak at the knees with her looks and smile.

Emma Lee, a Chengdu native, became an Internet sensation thanks to an enamoured camera crew who could not take their lens off her. The 29-year-old appeared multiple times on TV and was seen waving the Singapore flag and singing along to NDP theme songs. Netizens quickly CSI-ed her and after her fifteen minutes of fame, Emma was inundated with friend requests on her Facebook and Weibo accounts. Though she rejected all of them, don’t lose hope, guys. Emma is single and open to marrying a Singaporean. Jia you!

Related:
11 regular people who went viral for being hot

Juli ‘Bun Bun’
Juli ‘Bun Bun’
18 Dec 2015

Juli ‘Bun Bun’

Unlike Emma, Singapore beauty blogger Juli ‘Bun Bun’ became the talk of the Internet for all the wrong reasons. In September, the blogger, whose name is Juli Phang, got a bit too trigger-happy for her own good when she live blogged a wedding she attended. Nothing wrong with that, except that most of it was pretty negative and brutal, not to mention egotistic. Juli critiqued every aspect of the event from the bride’s gown to the wedding reception and unsurprisingly, her scathing remarks went viral beyond Singapore, earning her the label “worst wedding guest ever”. 

Baey Yam Keng
Baey Yam Keng
18 Dec 2015

Baey Yam Keng

It was meant to be a tribute to Paris after the November 13 terrorist attacks, but Tampines MP Baey Yam Keng’s Facebook post, which featured a seemingly Photoshopped image of him with the Eiffel Tower, soon spiralled into a meme and the infamous #BaeyforParis was born.

But it was not all jokes. Some netizens accused the MP of inserting himself into the picture and slammed him for being “narcissistic” and “tasteless”. Though Baey later clarified that the photo was taken in May when he was in the French capital - you can see a less heavily filtered version of it in his Facebook and Instagram – some netizens were skeptical. Sir, next time get a professional to edit your photos, okay?

Cuthbert Syn
Cuthbert Syn
18 Dec 2015

Cuthbert Syn

All he wanted was a rest on the MRT after work but Cuthbert Syn found himself caught in a seat storm and shamed on Facebook for not giving up the “reserved” seat he was occupying to a struggling mother with a baby boy. Commuter Celine Chia’s rant about his ungracious ways - and weight - went viral and Cuthbert became public enemy No.1. But it did not end there. Perhaps feeling misunderstood, Cuthbert responded to the uproar saying he had been feeling unwell and tired due to his heart condition. Hmmm so who is the bully now?

Benjamin Cheah and Mohammad Faidzul Muslim
Benjamin Cheah and Mohammad Faidzul Muslim
18 Dec 2015

Benjamin Cheah and Mohammad Faidzul Muslim

Police officers Benjamin Cheah and Mohammad Faidzul Muslim became instant heartthrobs in Singapore and beyond after a post about their good deed - and looks - on the Singapore Police Force’s Facebook page went viral. The pair had gone beyond the call of duty to rescue a cat that had been stuck on a six-storey high tree in Woodlands for two days. Hot, kind hearted and loves animals? Swoon… 

Photo: Singapore Police Force's Facebook

Lewis Loh
Lewis Loh
18 Dec 2015

Lewis Loh

Another hot cop who became an overnight sensation is Lewis Loh. Better known as the “singing cop”, the 19-year-old made waves online when a video of him performing this year’s National Day theme song “One Singapore” with the Singapore Police Force band went viral. The aspiring singer-songwriter, who was serving his national service with the force, not only earned praise from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for his “beautiful rendition” of the song, he also caught the attention of a producer from US reality TV singing competition The Voice, who invited him for an audition. Now, who says Singapore has no talent?

Speaking of talent…

Photo: Singapore Police Force's Facebook

Izwan Mahbud
Izwan Mahbud
18 Dec 2015

Izwan Mahbud

In Singapore, he is known as the national football team’s goalkeeper. But in Japan, Izwan Mahbud became a huge celebrity after he made headlines for his outstanding performance against the host nation in a 2018 World Cup qualifying clash in June (he even topped the search rankings in Japan after that fateful match). And when he returned to Japan for a training stint earlier this month, Izwan got the rockstar treatment and reception he rarely gets back home. The media greeted him at the airport and fans - some bearing gifts - thronged the pitch to get his autograph. If he keeps up his stellar performance, Izwan could sign with a J-League team and become the first Singaporean footballer to feature in top-flight Japanese football.

Photo: Epson

Lui Tuck Yew
Lui Tuck Yew
18 Dec 2015

Lui Tuck Yew

Despite announcing his retirement from politics, former Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew became one of the unlikely stars of this year’s General Election. Like any politician worth his salt, he was photographed carrying kids, helping out with the PAP’s campaigns and even ushering crowds during rallies - and all this sudden attention even spawned the hilarious parody blog Tuck Yew Diaries – a must-read if you haven’t!

Mr Unbelievable
Mr Unbelievable
18 Dec 2015

Mr Unbelievable

Sure, Mr Unbelievable is not even a real person but his rise to fame - or infamy, depending on how you see it - is, for the lack of a better word, unbelievable. A character played by actor Chen Tianwen, his cheesy “Unbelievable” music video for Channel 5 sitcom Spouse For House went viral and even caught the attention of the foreign media. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Even after the series ended its second season, Mr Unbelievable was still very much sought-after, making appearances at events from the Star Awards and roadshows to homegrown singer JJ Lin’s concert, and even starred in his own self-titled movie. And to cap the year off on a high, the “Unbelievable” MV topped YouTube's list of the top trending (non-music) videos in Singapore this year.

Watch Spouse for House on Toggle.

Celebs of the animal kind
Celebs of the animal kind
18 Dec 2015

Celebs of the animal kind

Otters

Step aside Daehan, Minguk and Manse, otter pups which were believed to be born in Singapore in February this year, are now the nation’s favourite triplets. The “SG50 triplets” have been wandering around Singapore with their parents and charming the public with their antics. The family of five have been spotted at Marina Bay, St Andrew’s Junior College, Punggol Waterfront and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, where they have made their home.

Koalas

Another group of animals that called Singapore home, albeit for just six months, are the koalas which were on loan to the little red dot from Australia as part of celebrations for SG50, and the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations. The furry quartet of Chan, Idalia, Paddle and Pellita were undoubtedly the biggest stars at the Singapore Zoo during their stay there and even adopted local nicknames - Cantik, Sayang, Nila and Manja. If you haven’t seen them in the flesh, you might want to do so soon. The foursome will bid Singapore farewell on Jan 3.

Crimson Sunbird

The crimson sunbird just cannot catch a break. Since 2002, it has been unofficially touted as Singapore’s national bird and just when it thought its status has been promoted - the Nature Society's bird group announced on Nov 1 that it is now the "official national bird of Singapore" - there was one more hurdle to cross. Turns out that the society has yet to get approval from government authorities to make the status official and it is still not clear on who will rule on the matter. Let’s hope it doesn’t have to wait another 13 years for it to be declared “official”.

Photos: Singapore Bird Group, Wildlife Reserves Singapore and NParks' Facebook

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