1. Angeline Yap
Why you need to know who she is: She boldly appeared in this very raunchy, very violent and very dark film — which, by the way, censors passed uncut, albeit with an R21 rating, for last year's Singapore International Film Festival.
Check out this very frank interview.
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2. Yamaguchi Taro
Why you need to know who he is: He's been the mainstay cobbler next to Yishun bus interchange for the past 21 years. (By the way, his Japanese name comes from his Japanese father, but he is Singaporean, all right.) He's also fluent in English, Malay and Mandarin.
Not badass enough for you? His daughter's joining him in the business, too.
3. Josephus Tan
Why you need to know who he is: Because he's Singapore's Pro-Bono King — the lawyer who spends the most number of hours doing pro-bono work every year. Also, because of his very epic story that was turned into a drama series.
4. Melvin Chen
Why you need to know who he is: He starred in a badass film about teenage gangsters called "15", even cutting himself in front of the camera — Royston Tan's film, in fact, was based on his, and his friends', lives too.
5. Michael Palmer
Why you need to know who he is: He's our disgraced former Speaker of Parliament who resigned after being caught having an affair with one of his grassroots helpers. This triggered the 2013 Punggol East by-election, which propelled the Workers' Party's Lee Li Lian into parliament.
And while we are on the topic...
6. Yaw Shin Leong
Why you need to know who he is: Because he is essentially the Michael Palmer of the Workers' Party. Disgraced when he was caught having an affair, and vacated his single seat, triggering the 2012 Hougang by-election that brought current MP Png Eng Huat into parliament.
7. Lim Chin
Why you need to know who he is: Because he's
not the greatest CEO of the perenially-sad S. League, who makes ageist decisions and gets forced to make U-turns on them when players vehemently protest.
8. Zeng Guoyan
Why you need to know who he is: Because he is a former acupuncturist-turned-politician (if we can call him that), has a pet parrot, and is a
moderately amusing fixture at pretty much every single election and/or national event where he may get people's attention (the most recent one was at the late Lee Kuan Yew's memorial at Singapore General Hospital).
9. Ooi Boon Ewe
Why you need to know who he is: Slightly similar to Zeng (refer to number 8), Ooi is a perennial election candidate, who has since 1999 been trying and failing to run for Singapore's presidency. Little-known fact: he actually set up his own political party — four days after the nomination day for the 2006 election.
10. Kuo Pao Kun
Why you need to know who he is: The late Kuo Pao Kun was regarded as the pioneer of Singapore literature and theatre and wrote 24 plays that included The Coffin is Too Big for the Hole. Interestingly, he was detained under the Internal Security Act for alleged communist activites in March 1976 and was released four and a half years later.
11. Paddy Chew
Why you need to know who he is: He's the first Singaporean to publicly come out as being HIV-positive in December 1998. He died in August 1999.
12. ASP Ryan Koh
Why you need to know who he is: He's the living, breathing, 3D Yandao policeman, the real-life person whom all those cardboard standees are modelled after.
13. Roland Tay
Why you need to know who he is: The 70-year-old is well-known for providing free funerals for murder victims (including Liu Hong Mei and Huang Na) and the poor.
14. Hoon Thing Leong
Why you need to know who he is: The owner of Kim San Leng coffee shop chain, Hoon went from coffee boy to Coffee Shop King. He also co-founded The Bosses' Network, where SME bosses come together to share knowledge and network.
15. Phey Yew Kok
Why you need to know who he is: He's the "One That Got Away" — the PAP MP who was rising up the ranks, a promising "potential minister" etc etc who suddenly (now allegedly) grabbed himself some money (a huge sum in those days, certainly) and ran away for more than three decades, until he randomly decided to return home to face the music. Case still ongoing.
16. Grace Quek (aka Annabel Chong)
Why you need to know who she is: She's a Raffles Girls' School (also a GEPer, by the way) and Hwa Chong alumna, and a King's College law scholar, who also happens to be a legendary former porn star — the first, ever, to have sex with 251 men over 10 hours for "The World's Biggest Gang Bang" in 1995.
Now, she flies under the radar, and was last reported by The New Paper to be a web designer in California.
17. Tan Pin Pin
Why you need to know who she is: She's a pretty daring (and also awesome, because she's won a lot of international acclaim for her work) documentary filmmaker, and her most recent piece, To Singapore, with Love, is banned here because the government insists the people featured in it were telling lies.
18. Yeoh Lam Keong
Why you need to know who he is: He's a respected high flyer whose last full-time occupation was the GIC (yep, that one)'s chief economist, before he left to settle on fishing and lecturing part-time. He's a badass because he now goes round advocating expansions in social welfare in a host of areas, with the insider knowledge he possesses. Also, he went to school with DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the London School of Economics, stays in an HDB flat and dresses like that to give lectures to hundreds of people at conferences.
19. Donald Low
Why you need to know who he is: Another high flyer in the civil service who stepped out because he's just too much of a badass for the system. Also a respected economist, he gifts society with his pearls of wisdom in the occasional epic speech or essay challenging existing ideas of meritocracy, the rich and advocating dissent, just to name a few. More in the occasional Facebook notes he writes, or in a recent book he co-authored.
20. Lynn Lee
Why you need to know who she is: She's a badass documentary filmmaker, something like Tan Pin Pin (number 17), except arguably more badass, because she was the one person who discovered that two of the four SMRT bus drivers who went on strike said they were slapped and punched by police interrogation officers. She was also allowed to do a rare and pretty cool documentary in North Korea.
21. Sabrina Jabbar
Why you need to know who she is: She's on a one-woman mission to help Singaporeans understand that killing monkeys is not the solution to the "monkey problem", even running marathons to raise funds for her work with wildlife advocacy group Acres.
22. Tan Chade-Meng
Why you need to know who he is: He's the Google "Jolly Good Fellow (which nobody can deny)" (in fact, it says this on his name card). Also, he's the person every celebrity who visits the Google campus must take a photo with before leaving.
23. Lim Wah Guan
Why you need to know who he is: Lim's is the classic academic Cinderella story that teaches us all that we don't necessarily need to succeed in Singapore's academic system to be successful. He flopped his A levels twice, got rejected from NUS four times, went to Australia, excelled there, and went on to both Oxford and Princeton.
24. Thng Coeway Boulder (yes, that's his name according to his NRIC)
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Why you need to know who he is: Armed with just a guitar, he manages to sing his way to free ice cream, coffee, tea and even oysters — imagine the possibilities! He happens to be launching an EP next month, and is a third-year med student who runs a programme helping fellow medical students interact with foreign worker patients at a clinic.
25. Jolovan Wham
Why you need to know who he is: He does extensive amounts of work to right injustices suffered by foreign workers here, and also is currently one of the key figures of Singapore's civil society.
26. Teresa Hsu
Why you need to know who she is: She passed away in December 2011, but you shouldn't remember her just because she lived to 113, but what you should know is she spent almost all her modest savings on feeding and housing the poor and elderly — almost all of whom were younger than her — earning her the well-deserved title of "Singapore's Mother Teresa".
27. Theresa Goh
Why you need to know who she is: A Paralympic swimmer who puts most able-bodied people to shame, Goh set world records in various swim events and won numerous gold medals at scores of international meets, despite not being able to use her legs and being born with an undeveloped left ear.
28. Dr Lim Hock Siew
Why you need to know who he is: Lim passed away in 2012, but not many people know he was a founding member of the PAP before his 20-year detention without trial (under the Internal Security Act). His son was five months old when he went in, and was entering university when he was finally released. Prior to all this, as a doctor, he gave free medication and sometimes transport money to needy patients at his clinic. Also, this video recording of his first post-release speech is banned.
29. Chia Thye Poh
Why you need to know who he is: Chia was an actual elected member of parliament, but is enough of a badass to end up being banned from entering Malaysia because of a speech he is alleged to have made in Perak. He is the longest-held political detainee (23 years plus nine years of house arrest) in Singapore's history, and for some reason, this speech he did is rated NC16. More on his fascinating story here.
30. Joanne Poon
Why you need to know who she is: She wrote a book and staged a play based on her daughter's experience as a child battling cancer, in order to help other parents who have child cancer sufferers. (Want a copy? Go here) Now, the family collects donated items and sends them to communities in need around the region.
31. Dr Joseph Yeo
Why you need to know who he is: He's the NIE math prof responsible for the now-world-renowned "Cheryl's Birthday" teaser, although he insists it isn't a new logic problem — well, none of us have seen anything
quite as tough like it.
32. Benny Se Teo