By Isabelle Liew
In a year inundated with controversies, there have been those who have used their voices to start conversations, spark change and inspire. Here are Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore’s picks for the top five quotes by local celebrities and influencers who have spoken up this year.
“My modesty was discussed crudely in forums….. It was as if I was no longer worthy of being a daughter, a friend or an individual with any right to privacy.” – Christabel Chua on cyberbullying
In an emotional article published by Harper’s Bazaar, local influencer Christabel Chua spoke up about facing sexual harassment on social media after private videos with ex-boyfriend Joal Ong were leaked on the Internet and caused an influx of verbally abusive messages into her inbox. She condemned the sharing of private videos, and urged other victims not to “let what has happened to you define you but shape you.”
“I’m not saying don’t study. I’m saying have the character to give whatever you do — whether studies or in life — your best. Character. We have different paths in life. Discover it, and do not ever let your grades define you.” – Joakim Gomez on the Life Beyond Grades campaign
The Life Beyond Grades campaign took off in September, with celebrities and influencers jumping on board by holding up a card showing their PSLE scores in social media posts. Started by a group of parents, the initiative that aims to alleviate the pressures of school on students prompted Christopher van Huizen and Andie Chen to share their grades. Radio presenter Joakim Gomez revealed his modest aggregate score of 197 – a T-score of all four subjects, and encouraged his followers to find their “paths in life”.
“A straight person never has to sit down with a close friend one day, and pluck up all their courage and go, “I have something to tell you; I’m straight.” So until the day that a gay person doesn’t have to sit down and come out to another person, we’re not equal.” – Pamela Oei on Pink Dot/LGBTQ representation
The conversation about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) representation escalated in 2018, as the annual LGBTQ rally Pink Dot celebrated its 10th anniversary and India decriminalised consensual gay sex. Singaporean actress and comedian Pamela Oei, debuted her one-woman show Faghag, showcasing her experiences with the gay men in her life. A Pink Dot ambassador, Oei is a prominent advocate for equality and has been an LGBT activist since the early 2000s.
“…A repeal on its own will not be enough to dismantle the barriers that prevent women from reporting sexual assault. It is crucial that we also see state-led, widespread public education on consent and gender roles….” – Corinna Lim, executive director of AWARE, on the repeal of marital immunity for rape
Following the long awaited repeal of marital immunity for rape, Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) executive director Corinna Lim called for comprehensive public education aimed at chipping away at harmful expectations around spousal sexual relations. AWARE had spent more than a decade advocating for the full, unqualified repeal for marital immunity for rape.
“Being beautiful is to be kind, truthful, honest and helpful.” – Dawn Yeoh on mental health and body image
Celebrities live their lives in the spotlight, coming under scrutiny and pressure to be someone else’s version of perfect. Insecure about how she looked, Mediacorp actress Dawn Yeoh starved herself for two weeks at one point, shedding 4kg. She eventually turned to family and friends for help. Following a spate of celebrity suicides, several other Singapore celebs, including Evelyn Kok and Stefanie Sun, have also opened up about their personal struggles with depression.