SINGAPORE – Nothing sparked curiosity among Singaporeans this year quite like the haze, according to Google.
The haze topped not only the technology giant’s overall Trending Searches chart, but also the Trending Singapore News chart this year, which the firm compiles from the country’s top searches via its search engine.
Hazy conditions in September sent the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) to the “unhealthy” range for the first time since 2016. Firefly cancelled flights between Singapore and Malaysia and there were concerns, unfounded in the end, that the Formula One race would be affected.
Singaporeans also wanted to know more about the Hong Kong protests, which came in second on the Trending Searches chart.
But there was more than just serious news on Singaporean minds this year. Hollywood superhero movies Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel came in at third and fourth place on the Trending Searches chart.
As expected, Singaporeans also liked to follow trends, as they often Googled the newest hot spots around town.
Newly opened shopping destinations Jewel Changi Airport and Funan Mall were No. 2 and No. 4 on the Singapore news chart, while glitzy club Marquee Singapore came in at No. 7 and fast-food chain Shake Shack was ninth.
Netizens also wanted to learn more about student Monica Baey, who was the fifth-most searched item on the Singapore news chart.
Ms Baey, 23, sparked a national debate about sexual misbehaviour when she took to social media to vent her frustrations that the National University of Singapore had been too lenient in its punishment of a fellow student who had filmed her in her hall shower.
Singaporeans were also interested in overseas milestone events. The fall of the Berlin Wall came in No. 7 in overall trends, and No. 2 in the chart for Trending International News.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the historic moment when the wall dividing communist East Germany from West Germany came down in 1989, paving the way for the unification of Germany the following year.