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Wednesday December 31, 2008

Sayonara, ’08!

PHEW, what a year 2008 has been! Come on now, you cannot deny that the last 365 days have been anything but unexpected, eventful, a little crazy and very exciting.

With one memorable moment after another, it was quite difficult to keep track of them all and live life at the same time. And yet, we did.

Remember that little survey we did at the end of last year, in which we asked 100 youths what they predicted would happen in 2008? Guess what? They predicted wrongly! Well, kinda.

The pob (hairstyle made famous by Rihanna in her Umbrella music video) is no longer in fashion, Britney is still alive (and seems to be getting her life back in order), and the power-celebrity union that is Brangelina didn’t go kaput. In fact, they added two more members to their brood.

The past 12 months have been nothing short of amazing, and we wonder if 2009 holds as much promise.

In the meantime, we got some of our readers to help us make this trip down memory lane.

It’s called democracy, baby

The 12th General Election was anything but boring, and March 8 will go down in history as a significant date for this country. Unexpected wins (and losses) shook the country’s political front, and now five states are governed by Opposition parties.

Malaysians voted, hoping for a change and, boy, did we get what we voted for. New and younger voices were heard on the political ground, and people were ready for some action.

“I’m going to remember 2008 as the year I first cast my vote. I missed my chance during the previous elections due to my exam schedule. But this year, I managed to make myself free to vote. It’s a great feeling to know that I’m part of the reason for a ‘new’ Malaysia.” – Mohamad Afzal Arifuddin, 26, IT consultant

“2008 was a big year for me. Getting married in the first month, nominated in the second and then running for election in the third was truly a whirlwind experience.

“Having to introduce myself to the people of Subang Jaya, Petaling Jaya, was probably the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced, apart from tackling many serious issues in my constituency. I had to climb a steep learning curve, which I am still climbing!

Hannah Yeoh

“This year was like an alarm clock. It awakened so many from their slumber of indifference. The utmost awakening would be seeing the older making way for the younger, and the youth now have a role to play in governance. Our youth need direction, role models, a sense of belonging to this land and, most of all, hope. I want to see 2009 provide just that!” – Hannah Yeoh, 29, Subang Jaya state assemblyman

The ground also moved in other parts of the world. Most significantly was the election of the first African-American president of the United States. Democrat Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain on Nov 4 on the promise of bringing change to the country and, hopefully, the world.

“The highlight of 2008 for me was definitely the US elections because of the immense hype surrounding it. OK, it’s also because I am sometimes deluded and consider myself a pseudo-American citizen.

Just look at the election.

Lim May Zhee

“The world ‘elected’ Barack Obama as President even before the voting started! It was also this particular US election that developed my interest in politics so the Asian society has one less apolitical person now.” – Lim May Zhee, 17, author

Sportsmanship pride

The Beijing Olympics 2008 was undoubtedly one of the greatest shows on Earth. Malaysia’s Datuk Lee Chong Wei did the nation proud by winning its sole medal, a silver, in the international event but our other Olympians cherished the opportunity to compete at one of the world’s biggest sports event.

Datuk Nicol David also did the country proud by winning the Hong Kong Open tournament, the title which ensured that she ended her professional season on a perfect note. She won 10 consecutive Women’s International Squash Players Association crowns for the first time since turning pro in 2000.

“Throughout this year, we (with doubles partner Tan Boon Heong) have been struggling to get our game back on track. The highlight for me was winning the Super Series Masters Finals recently.

National shuttlers Koo Kien Keat (right) and Tan Boon Heong.

“Another highlight for me this year was also playing in the Olympics – the first for Tan and myself. It felt very different from other Super Series tournaments. We were very upset that we lost to the Indonesians because we had never lost to them before. It was frustrating.

“Next year, I want to win again in the All-England. We will work on our weakness, and strengthen our strong points.” – Koo Kien Keat, 22, national shuttler

Daniel Bego, national swimmer

“The highlight that defined 2008 for me was definitely the Olympic Games in Beijing. It was such an awesome experience, from the beginning to the end. I anticipate a good year (in 2009) and hopefully I’ll continue doing well in everything I do. This may sound a little clichéd but I also hope there will be more peace in the world because we really need it.” – Daniel Bego, 19, national swimmer

Shows worth watching

The Dark Knight! Stellar performance by (the late) Heath Ledger! A spectacular performance by an outstanding actor. He was one with the character he played and definitely stood out from the rest. His death is a great loss to the entertainment world. The best movie I watched in 2008.” – Emily Goh, 26

Twilight. Robert Pattinson was just so dreamy in it!” – Sharmili Gunasegaran, 18, student

Mamma Mia! (both the movie and stage show). The songs and dance numbers definitely got the ‘Dancing Queens’ (or Kings) out of everyone.” – Jayden Soong, 19, student

Iron Man, The Hulk, The Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire ... the list just goes on. It seems as if the Hollywood movie producers just waited for 2008 to arrive before they released all these great movies.” – Izwani Kamarul Ariffin, 22, personal trainer

Most shocking incident

“Cyclone Nargis, the Sichuan earthquake, the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide ... I can’t pick one. Too many nasty incidents this year.” – Yamini Velmurugan, 23, student

“Madonna and Guy Ritchie breaking up. I expected them to stay together forever!” – Aaron Lim, 21, student

“Britney Spears ... she’s not dead!” – Anusha Menon, 17, student

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