SINGAPORE - Readers of Lianhe Zaobao picked the word "pan", or hope, as the Word of the Year in its annual poll.
The poll, which is in its 11th edition, invited readers of the flagship Chinese newspaper of SPH Media Trust to reflect on the past year and choose a Chinese character out of 10 that best represented local and international news in 2021.
The 10 characters were nominated by a panel of five professionals in relevant fields and included words like "kun" (trapped) and "yi" (perseverance).
More than 12,000 votes were cast between Nov 22 and Sunday (Dec 12).
"Pan" received 3,393, of the total votes, while "bian" (change) came in second with 2,109 votes. "Ju" (gather) was third with 1,094 votes.
Mr Goh Sin Teck, editor of Lianhe Zaobao and Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao, said that he was not surprised that readers chose "pan" because "our biggest hope is for the epidemic to be over".
He added: "The word 'hope' is forward looking and it is filled with positivity. As we bid farewell to 2021 and get ready to welcome 2022, we should not give up hope. Judging from the various signs, dawn is indeed approaching after a long period of darkness."
Ms Han Yong May, NewsHub editor of the Chinese Media Group, said that "pan" was a reflection of people's minds, "starting with our hope to receive vaccination in the beginning of the year, hoping for safe management measures to be eased, hoping to travel overseas, hoping that the economy will improve and for life to be back to normal", she said.
The winning word was announced on Wednesday during an online programme hosted by Mr Ken Low, NewsHub correspondent and creative lead of Chinese Media Group.
Local graffiti artist Anthony Chong, who is known as Antz, was invited to create an artwork of the winning word.