Lianhe Zaobao readers pick Chinese character for 'terror' as word that sums up 2017

The character 'kong', which was also nominated in 2014 and 2016, dominated polls from the start.
The character 'kong', which was also nominated in 2014 and 2016, dominated polls from the start. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The Chinese character for terror, or 'kong', has been picked by Lianhe Zaobao readers as the word that best sums up 2017.

DJs from Chinese radio UFM100.3 and reporters from Lianhe Zaobao revealed the reader's choice at the Central Public Library on Saturday (Dec 9) at the conclusion of the seventh annual Character of the Year poll.

An editorial team from Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) Chinese flagship newspaper, as well as a panel of experts and academics, had nominated 10 characters for readers to pick.

They were the Chinese characters for: confrontation (zhi); nuclear (he); the character for barrier, which also means breakdown (zhang); the character for virtual, which can also mean fake (xu); home (ju); the character for race, which also means ethnicity (zu); youth (qing); terror (kong); intelligence (zhi, a character pronounced similarly as the one for confrontation); and the character for centre, which can also mean neutral or China (zhong).

The character 'kong', which was also nominated in 2014 and 2016, dominated polls from the start.

After three weeks and 4,000 votes, it emerged as the top word when voting ended on Dec 3.

At the library, the DJs and reporters spoke about news events related to each of the 10 characters in the poll.

These included the Istanbul nightclub shooting on New Year's day, the Westminster attack in London and the Manchester Arena bombing, when discussing the Character of the Year.

Mr Goh Sin Teck, Editor of Lianhe Zaobao and Lianhe Wanbao, said: "Recent terrorist attacks around the world seem to have left a deep impression on Singaporeans this year, as shown from the large number of votes cast for the character. It is also a reminder for us to remain vigilant at all times, and never to take the peace, stability and religious harmony in Singapore for granted."

Towards the end of the event, Mr Malik Mazlan, who practices Chinese calligraphy,was invited to draw 'kong' as a calligraphy.

Overseas voters, mainly users of Zaobao.com, had voted 'zhong' as the top word.

Last year, readers chose the character for change, or 'bian', as the top word. This was on the back of surprising global events including Donald Trump's US election win, Brexit, and Theresa May's appointment as the United Kingdom's Prime Minister.