Zaobao readers choose 'terror' to sum up the year

The Chinese character for terror, or ''kong'', has been picked by Lianhe Zaobao readers as the word that best sums up this year, with 4,000 votes.
The Chinese character for terror, or ''kong'', has been picked by Lianhe Zaobao readers as the word that best sums up this year, with 4,000 votes.

Paper's editor says it is reminder to be vigilant; last year's choice of character was 'change'

The Chinese character for terror, or "kong", has been picked by Lianhe Zaobao readers as the word that best sums up this year.

DJs from Chinese radio station UFM100.3 and reporters from Lianhe Zaobao revealed the readers' choice at the Central Public Library yesterday at the conclusion of the seventh annual Character of the Year poll.

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

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

The character "kong", which was also nominated in 2014 and last year, dominated polls from the start.

After three weeks and 4,000 votes, it emerged as the top word when voting ended last Sunday.

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."

Last year, readers chose the character for change, or "bian", as the top word.

This was on the back of surprising global events including Mr Donald Trump's United States presidential election win, Brexit and Mrs Theresa May's appointment as Britain's Prime Minister.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 10, 2017, with the headline 'Zaobao readers choose 'terror' to sum up the year'. Print Edition | Subscribe