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7 unbelievable Singapore moments in 2016 you probably didn't see coming

SINGAPORE - Who ever said Singapore was boring?

At least that wasn't the case this year, as there certainly weren't a lack of stories that left us shocked, bemused and scratching our heads all at the same time.

We take a look back at seven of the most unbelievable stories that took the local Internet by storm in 2016.

1. Four digits = buy 4D


Joseph Schooling in action during the men's 100m butterfly final at the Rio Olympics. PHOTO: ST FILE 

As the rest of us were still celebrating Joseph Schooling's Olympic gold medal feat, the hardcore punters were already making their way to the nearest Singapore Pools outlet in record time.

The golden number - 5039 - was sold out at within hours of Schooling's historic 50.39secs swim in the 100m butterfly.

2. Hougang, new tourist attraction?


Pokemon Go players gathered in front of Block 401, Hougang Ave 10 on Aug 13, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

The Pokemon Go hype was real - so real at Block 401 at Hougang Avenue 10 that police had to step up patrols and issue a road safety reminder to the hundreds of players who camped there for hours on end.

While there were other more glamorous places to catch rare Pokemon, Hougang's heartland appeal - helped by three Pokestops in close proximity and a popular coffee shop - was a real winner.

3. Here kitty kitty

Cute kitten, heart-stopping rescue - the key ingredients to any viral video. Sprinkle a dash of local flavour - a backdrop of Housing and Development Board flats - and you get one of the most memorable videos of the year.

It didn't take long for the video of the high-rise rescue by SPCA Singapore and the police to go viral, but as the SPCA pointed out, such high-rise rescues are in fact quite common in Singapore.

4. Field to nowhere


An SMRT bendy bus stuck in a field at Kim Keat Avenue on Sept 29, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE 

Just when you thought it couldn't get more outrageous than a bendy bus getting stuck on - of all places - a field, it does.

Two months after an SMRT bus had to be extricated after 10 hours on the Kim Keat Avenue field, an ambulance suffered the same fate. In the end, the rescue vehicle, ironically, had to be rescued. The patient in the ambulance was conscious and alert when he was sent to the hospital by another ambulance.

5. More Milo jokes please

There are some things you simply shouldn't joke about, like treating the nation to iced Milo if you win a singing competition. Within the same day that Nathan Hartono's passing comment was published online in an interview with The Straits Times, Nestle responded with a promise to mobilise its vans.

Even though the crooner didn't win in the end, Nestle still deployed its fleet of vans three times, treating hundreds of Singaporeans to the iced beverage.

6. Gone 'missing' - for love


A photo of Ms Cheryl Yap and her mother with Romanian police officers. PHOTO: POLITIA ROMANA/FACEBOOK

It was a trip that caused much distress to her father, after 25-year-old Cheryl Yap and her mother left secretly for Romania to meet a man she had met online. They were uncontactable for 10 days, leading to her father fretting that the pair could have fallen for a scam.

Perhaps a phone call next time would help?

7. Otter-ly cute

No, it's not the Merlion. Singapore's animal icon is - wait for it - the smooth-coated otter. Our very own celebrity otter family, the Bishan 10, was voted in a Straits Times poll as the 51st object that best represents Singapore in its 51st year. They were also featured in an online BBC documentary.

The otters have even attracted an enthusiastic following of amateur photographers and wildlife researchers.