2011 is finally drawing to a close.
What a year it has been! So many significant events have happened across the world in the last 12 months, where do I even start to list them?
1. Earthquake in New Zealand (22 February)
A 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch in New Zealand, taking a total of 181 human lives.
2. Earthquake/ Tsunami in Japan (11 March)
An earthquake of magnitude 9.0 on the Richter scale hit the east coast of Japan on 11th March, triggering a colossal tsunami that took lives, destroyed buildings, and caused a nuclear meltdown that threatened a nuclear disaster of a scale comparable to the 1985 Chernobyl accident. Images of people running for their lives as the cruel waves washed ashore will always be etched to my mind. Images of people who are homeless, hungry, desperate and bereaved, wandering in the freezing cold and dark– they haunt me. Images of the brave men of the Fukushima 50, laying down their lives to work in areas with dangerously high levels of nuclear radiation, desperately trying to cool the nuclear reactors that were threatening to explode– these will always remind me of the strength of the human spirit; for the love of one’s country and people, these Japanese men sacrificed themselves like matyrs.
3. The Royal Wedding (29 April)
An absolutely beautiful fairytale wedding. The prince finally weds his chosen princess and sealed it with 2 kisses! The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton looked absolutely stunning in her Sarah Burton dress and Prince William was dashing in his bright red officer uniform. The wedding was witnessed by 2 million people across the world, and the best part? I was part of the huge crowd at Trafalgar Square watching the wedding and celebrating the British monarchy at the amazing street parties that bank holiday weekend! The prince that I always wanted to marry may be “off the market” now, but hey, at least he’s married to someone who seems befitting enough to be a princess!
4. Osama Bin Laden killed (2 May)
10 years ago, Osama bin Laden earned himself notoriety across the world for masterminding the September 11 tragedy that saw 2 planes crash into the twin towers of New York. How bloody his hands were from the number of innocent lives he had ruthlessly taken away! The 10 years of fruitless searching thereafter left the world feeling pessimistic about ever being able to capture him. But finally, 10 years on, we can rejoice and breathe a sigh of relief at the words of President Barack Obama who announced the death of this terrorist leader. Osama vs Obama- the latter has won, Osama is no more.
5. WP wins a GRC in the Singapore General Elections (7 May)
The ruling party of Singapore, the PAP, has lost the support of its people. For the first time in many years, the PAP was returned to power only by a marginal victory. To add salt to its wounds, the opposition has claimed the Aljunied GRC. For the first time, Singaporeans are starting to vocalise their discontent at governmental policies that have left the common people hurting. They are starting to realise that blind obedience is no longer a fashionable option in this day and age. They are beginning to use their power, as a people, to inform the ruling party that they have a right to be listened to, that Singaporeans have a right to be looked after (over their foreign counterparts) within their own country. I have never seen my people so angry before, or seen them so vocal about their political ideas before. Political apathy is on its way out. Change seems to be knocking on the doors of Singapore.
6. Steve Jobs died (5 October)
The genius behind Apple loses his fight against pancreatic cancer. RIP Steve, thank you for the Macbook, ipod, ipad, iphone, itunes. Technology is made better because of your ingenuity.
7. Muammar Gaddaffi died and Libya is freed (20 October)
Muammar Gaddaffi– the corrupted, iron-fisted dictator of Libya. After being overthrown and after months of hiding, this man was finally found in a drain- like a rat. He offered his captors a whole load of cash for his life, but even money wasn’t going to buy him forgiveness from his people. He was shot and kicked and dragged along the ground before finally breathing his last. His corpse was then put on display in a marketplace, so that the people he oppressed could come and witness how he had finally died the gruesome death he deserved.
8. The world population reaches 7 billion (31 Oct)
7 billion people. Now, how many zeros are there exactly?
9. Debt problem in Europe
I don’t really know much about this to be honest, but the issue has been on the news every single day. First it was Greece needing a bail out, then Italy… all I know is that there is a major debt problem that the EU countries are trying to resolve, and the UK isn’t too keen on getting its hands dirty.
10. The USA ended war in Iraq (15 December)
After 9 years of fighting, after capturing and hanging Saddam Hussien, the war is finally over. The last of the US troops have finally left Iraq. Hallelujah.
11. North Korea’s Kim Jung-Il has died (17 December)
The enigmatic North Korean leader is said to have died of a “heart ailment” whilst travelling on a train. I don’t know much about him, except that he ruled the isolated and communist N. Korea with an iron fist. I also know that he channelled his country’s scarce resources to building up his military troops, even when his own people were starving. He had nuclear ambitions that led George Bush to describe his country as part of the “axis of evil.” I don’t know what great good he had done behind the closed doors of his self-alienating country, or perhaps it is all down to propaganda, but I’ve just watched a video of large masses of North Korean people weeping, wailing and mourning the death of their “dear leader.” I have never before seen grieving of such scale for any political figure.
All in all, so much has happened in this past year. The earth has been plagued with natural disasters, some wars have started, but others have ceased, and certain evil men have finally come to meet their end. The world is getting bigger, but it is far from being better. If only every man would be a little less selfish, a little more considerate, a little less greedy, and a little more loving… perhaps we can then finally make that one little step forward towards the “world peace” that we all so desire.