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Singapore's best and worst of 2010
Marina Bay Sands, sexy celeb scandals and Tom Jones falls short, twice ... just some of the winners and losers of Singapore in 2010
Best bar with a view: Bob's Bar
In a year that saw a significant rise in rooftop bars, Capella's Bob's Bar, with its clear view of the jungle and the sea without a hint of the city or an oil tanker, won our vote.
The extras: good, strong drinks, polite, attentive service, comfy day beds and deep sofas, spacious verandah setting, delicious complimentary nibbles (olives, macadamias, dried apricots) and gorgeous sunset views.
It's tucked-away position in a quiet corner of Sentosa ensures that on certain days it feels as if you have the whole place to yourself.
Best celebrity gossip: Jack Neo
Making headlines this year was well known local filmmaker Jack Neo.
The attention he drew, however, was not for his latest movie but for his two-year affair with 22-year old model Wendy Chong.
The scandal broke when Chong, disgruntled that Neo was no longer returning her calls, decided to inform Neo's wife of 27 years, Irene Kng, about their clandestine relationship.
Other women subsequently came out of the woodwork, like Foyce Le, but none of their claims with Neo were ever fully substantiated.
Regardless, Neo’s cheery all-Singaporean image was dented. The news broke on the heels of the Tiger Woods scandal, the timing could not have been better, or worse.
Like Tiger, Neo lost numerous endorsement deals.
While all is apparently well now on the Neo homefront, it will be a long time before his indiscretions will be forgotten.
Best concert: LG Live at 2010 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix
The entertainment lineup at this year’s Singapore F1 held at the Padang was impressive, with stellar acts such as Adam Lambert, Sean Kingston and Stereophonics headlining.
But the true stars were two U.S. divas: Missy Elliott and Mariah Carey.
The ladies performed a rocking show to thousands of appreciative fans on the first night of the three-night race, leading some to declare that this was the best entertainment ever at the Lion City’s Grand Prix.
Even Carey’s fall did nothing to dampen the show; Elliott’s near-perfect high-energy performance sent fans wild.
Worst concert: Tom Jones
On the other end of the spectrum, Singaporeans got to hold onto their panties when Welsh crooner Tom Jones left hundreds of fans disgruntled when he postponed his concert at the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) not once, but twice.
On his first attempt to perform on March 26, the 70-year-old left the stage after only 10 minutes and two songs, citing acute laryngitis.
The concert was rescheduled for April 1, but that show ended up cancelled for the same reason, leaving fans irate. One fan, an Indonesian lawyer, is looking to sue RWS, its agent in Indonesia and Sir Tom himself.
The timing could not have been worse for RWS. Not only was Sir Tom the first big international act to perform there, but Battlestar Galactica, the main ride at Universal Studios, had just been forced to suspend operations due to technical problems.
Best fashion trend: Gladiator-style strappy heels
Whether or not you're blessed with Julia Robert-esque legs, these strappy ankle circlers were the runway hit of 2010.
Touted by fashion authorities as footwear that made your gams look longer, more slender and a whole lot hotter, it was worn by women all over the world.
Worst fashion trend: High-waisted skirts
You think designers would have learned something from the 1980s ... high waist anything is a big no-no. Unaccountably, high-waisted skirts are in.
Unless you're reed thin, wearing a high-waisted skirts instantly adds inches to your waist and chops your torso in an unflattering half, undermining all the long, hard hours spent at the gym.
And if the skirt has a bubble bottom, there's double trouble; now your rear end looks big, as well.
Best gadget: iPhone 4
No surprises here, the phone that every other person rushed out to buy this year wins the best gadget accolade.
With video calls, two cameras (front and back), a super high-resolution screen and a gazillion apps, it’s no wonder that this phone is a bestseller.
While the iPhone 4 has had problems, it swelled the number of iPhone devotees to unprecedented numbers and cemented the belief that once you get an iPhone, there’s no turning back.
Worst gadget: 3D TVs
What’s more annoying than wearing clunky, uncomfortable 3D glasses in a movie theatre? Wearing clunky, uncomfortable 3D glasses in your living room.
Which is what the makers of 3D TVs are expecting people to do. Are they serious? Not only do these glasses make your head ache, they are battery powered, cost a princely sum (each family member also has to have one) and nothing screening on TV right now is made for 3D.
Why do we need these again?
Best new acronym: NRI vs PIO
Oh, yes, we love our acronyms and with the influx of Indian immigrants to Singapore it's no wonder we came up with the terms NRI (non-resident Indian) and PIO (person of Indian origin) and incorporated both into our everyday speech.
NRI: A person of Indian nationality who has migrated to another country, i.e., Singapore.
PIO: An Indian who is not of Indian nationality.
While PIO is used less frequently, NRI is common. There’s NRI Singapore, an online magazine for the community, banks that offer targeted NRI services and even a matchmaking service for Indians in India looking for NRI spouses in Singapore.
Best new hotel: Marina Bay Sands
Well before it's April opening, speculation swirled around the swanky Marina Bay Sands.
The city eagerly waited for the opening of its breathtaking SkyPark, its restaurant/bar/club Ku De Ta, world-class entertainment, luxury shops, skating ring and, of course, fancy casino.
Okay, so we’ve all heard about the its teething problems, but these are fast being resolved, making this property the hottest place to stay in Singapore.
In 2011, the Broadway musical "The Lion King" will make its debut and the Art Science Museum will open. So will nightclubs Avalon and Pangaea.
Best outdoor party: ZoukOut 2010
Ten years on and ZoukOut is going as strong.
Its December 11, 2010 was sold out way before the day and the estimated 30,000 party goers that attended the massive event rocked on from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. to the sounds of superstar DJs such as Tiesto and David Guetta and homegrown spin maestros such as Aldrin, Andrew Chow and DJ KFC.
Like its parent club Zouk, this event has shown that it has staying power.
As its motto goes: "One World. One Music. One Tribe. One Dance."
Rave on ZoukOut, rave on.
Best retro revival: 'Ming Wong: Life of Imitation'
Staged at the Singapore Art Museum, the "Ming Wong: Life of Imitation" exhibition was retro-fabulous, with its retrospective look at the golden age of Singapore cinema (the 1950s and 1960s) in a series of videos, artworks and talks.
The videos, parodies and reinterpretations of films such as Douglas Sirk’s "Imitation of Life," Wong Kar Wai’s masterpiece "In the Mood for Love" and P. Ramlee’s films, expertly dealt with the themes of race and identity, crossing cultures and languages.
The exhibition also saw a rare display of cinema billboards from Neo Chon Teck (Singapore's last remaining billboard painter), archival footage of early Singapore cinema and a creative documentary by local filmmaker Sherman Ong.
At the 2009 Venice Biennale, where the exhiti was first presented, Wong was awarded a Special Mention by the Jury, the highest international accolade ever received by a Singapore artist.
Best global showcase of Singapore: 2010 F1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix
Into its third year, the 2010 Singapore F1 was better than ever.
The live acts at the Padang Stage rocked people’s socks off, the grandstands were packed to capacity, the road closures were better managed and the race itself had enough hair-raising moments for extra excitement.
The after parties saw the F1 drivers -- Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and the like -- celebrating with glitterati from the region, celebrities, models and heads of industry.
Amber Lounge, the mother of the F1 after parties, was staged over two nights and featured a fashion show where F1 third drivers walked the catwalk.
Worst global showcase of Singapore: Singapore Youth Olympics
When Singapore announced it was hosting the world’s first ever Youth Olympic Games, it knew it was taking a risk.
And while it was a wholehearted attempt, it was one that noticeably faltered on a number of areas.
Sponsors were hard to find, a number of major sporting countries, including the United States, sent very small teams and many events were under-represented.
The debacle with the certificates didn’t help.
Some 45,000 certificates, for volunteers and participants, were printed with a sample signature of the IOC president and the chairman of the YOG Organising Committee instead of their real signatures, due to "an oversight in the checking process."
Yes, we know what that means -- the wrong files were sent to the printer. Doh!
The event also ran three times over budget, costing taxpayers a whopping S$387 million instead of the S$90 million originally estimated.
Best social campaign: Breast Cancer Foundation - 'Are you obsessed with the right things?'
The images of this campaign speak for themselves.
Pictures painted on topless women, disguising their breasts as part of the picture. One shows a nipple as a pimple on a woman’s face; another shows breasts as big butt cheeks and a third depicts breasts as the crown of a woman’s head.
The tagline highlighting women's obsession with beauty and looks often means they miss the point, which is, there are other more important things to think about, like your health and breast cancer.
Incorporating these issues in such bold, clever and effective visuals makes this social campaign a clear winner.
Worst social campaign: Land Transport Authority -- 'Love Your Ride'
Queens of cabaret Dim Sum Dollies made a video with the Public Transport Council and the Land Transport Authority to promote good behavior on the MRT. They shouldn’t have.
"Love Your Ride" attracted reams of comments on YouTube such as “irritating,” “scary,” and “get heart attack, lah.”
The sight of the three dollies in full cabaret get-up swanning around our trains, singing "It’s so easy to love your ride, queue to get on, then move it, move it, move it inside … give up your seat, you’ll feel so good inside," is supreme cheese.
While Singapore is accustomed to tacky government campaigns, this one ranks right up there.
Stick to the stage, Dollies.
Best spot to people watch ... or be watched: Tanjong Beach Club
Singapore’s beautiful party people are a tough crowd to please, but they were kept more than happy in 2010 at Tanjong Beach Club.
The restaurant/bar/sun-loving beach babes and hunks playground is packed to its sexy gills every weekend and on their special party nights.
The attire is stylish and sometimes skimpy, and the attitude cool but not exclusive.
Come in your Sunday beach best and be prepared to strike a pose or two for their Facebook album.
Best sporting achievement: Singapore under-16 football team
With so many of our top athletes imported these days, it’s rare to hear of homegrown Singaporean sporting talent doing our country proud.
Not the under-16 Singapore football team. Made up entirely of a truly Singaporean rojak mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Eurasian, the squad thrilled fans at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games with their unbridled enthusiasm, fighting spirit and bulldog determination.
Queues for matches snaked round the stadium, supporter fervor was palpable and even though the boys got knocked out in the semi-final by Haiti, we’ll forgive them because they reignited a love for local football the S-League today cannot rival, showing that real Singaporean players can still kick ass.
Best stage performance: Blackbird
This psychodrama by Scottish playwright David Harrower has had audiences on the edge of their seats wherever it is performed.
It was no different in Singapore when local thespians Daniel Jenkins and Emma Yong took to the stage at Singapore Repertory Theatre’s DBS Arts Centre, directed by Tracie Pang.
Relying heavily on the ability of the cast, this play takes you through the twist-filled plot of two former lovers reuniting after many years.
Their forbidden relationship exposes the darker side of love that can destroy as much as it enlivens.
Jenkins and Yong both delivered powerful performances, with Yong showing that she can execute serious roles as well as the comedic ones she is better known for.
Disturbing and awesome.
Best TV program: 'The Noose'
Local Singapore television has finally produced a show that is actually funny, and clever.
Mediacorp's "The Noose," a spoof on news and current affairs, takes the mickey out of practically everything -- personalities, events, TV shows -- with a penchant for imitating accents to hilarious effect.
Chua En Lai does a brilliant job playing a South Korean-born news anchor named B. B. See who speaks with, no prizes for guessing, a clipped British accent; the talented Michelle Chong is ditzy U.S. presenter Adrianna Wow; Alaric Tay plays Andre Chichak, an Indonesian from East Timor making good in Singapore TV and Suhaimi Yusof is kampong-boy-turned-modern-presenter Jojo Joget.
The cast also rotates characters revealing their wide repertoire of accents and personalities.
The show is so successful that it now reports to have up to at least seven viewers.