If you tread the waters of Singapore’s online forums often, you’ll notice a recurring pattern. Complaints about the unbearable weather, train faults, CPF and everything the government does. But once in a while, netizens can expect to chance upon weird conspiracy theories posted about our little red dot.
Much like the plot that unfolds in Stranger Things, sometimes we do wonder if bizarre events do happen beneath the surface of our country. Although we can experience The Upside Down in Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) 8 at Universal Studios Singapore this year, is there any basis to conspiracy theories in Singapore?
You’d be surprised with the imagination of some netizens here. Here are some of the most believable conspiracy theories that lurk beneath sunny Singapore.
1. It never rains on National Day
Popular supernatural encounter website Hungzai (formerly known as SFOGS) suspected the use of cloud-seeding every year on National Day. This is also largely echoed on other forums such as Reddit, HardwareZone and has even been published on some other local news sites. Many netizens are suspicious of the fine weather which never fails to present itself on 9 August.
Cloud-seeding in simpler terms involves spraying chemicals and particles over clouds to ‘force’ rain from the clouds at an earlier date. This would then reduce the chances of rain the day after, in this instance, National Day. However, this conspiracy theory has been debunked by the government.
Furthermore, rain has indeed poured down before at the NDP back in 1968 which drenched everyone who attended, but the show still went on.
After being refuted, some netizens then went on to be as imaginative as they could. Some suspected witchcraft or the powers of bomohs to be behind the weather. We don’t think the government would entertain this variation of the conspiracy based on witchcraft or bomoh magic any time soon.
2. The McDonald’s Boys are still alive but not in Thailand
If you recall the last article in our Stranger Things, Singapore Edition, one of the biggest unsolved mysteries was the McDonald’s Boys case. The official status of the case still remains unsolved as the boys, Toh Hong Huat and Keh Chin Ann, are still yet to have been found. However, you can always rely on the internet to brew a cocktail of rumours and stories.
As reported in Stomp (the post has been taken down), the boys are alive and well as hooligans in Johor Bahru (JB). The original post on Stomp was adapted from Shin Min Daily News which allegedly claimed that the boys were actually abducted by Toh’s father. According to the claim, Toh’s father then brought them up in a rundown area of JB which led them to grow up into hooligans. If that is true, the boys would be 36 years old today.
There were also rumours of the boys being kidnapped by human trafficking syndicates and them ending up in Thailand as handicapped beggars. This of course, like many other rumours, are only based on anecdotes or hearsay. Wherever the boys are, we hope they’re in good hands and return to Singapore one day.
3. Military underwater tunnel to Sentosa
This next one comes from the reality show “Hey Singapore!” back in the 1990s. The show pranced around the idea of a secret underwater tunnel in Labrador Park which connected to Sentosa. The show also showed pictures of the “entrance” of the tunnel which happens to be blocked by debris and bricks.
Considering that the British set up gun batteries along the area which we now know as Labrador Park and Fort Siloso on Sentosa, at first, it sounds believable. However, like many good rumours, sometimes it doesn’t make much sense upon closer inspection.
The rumour has been debunked by a British historical expert and a professor from NUS. Simply because the “underground tunnel” connects to a location in Sentosa which is strategically unsound. The supposed exit of the tunnel in Sentosa would be exposed to enemy fire which would make it redundant. To add, the tunnel will be far too expensive to build and would be a waste of supplies.
4. Secret walkway underneath Oxley Rd
With its limited land size, Singapore’s underground is extensively used for many purposes which would otherwise take up a lot of land space. MRT systems, petrochemical storage, utility pipes and even ammunition facilities form extensive networks underground in Singapore.
According to a post by an alumni from Nantah University, a secret underground walkway was constructed from former PM Lee Kuan Yew’s residence at Oxley Rd to the Istana. Although the post in Mandarin includes many other questionable accusations, it claims that the walkway was used for Mr. Lee Kuan Yew to avoid heavy traffic should he be needed at the Istana at a moment’s notice.
A post by Sean Lee on Quora argued against the plausibility of such a tunnel existing. He drew examples from the existing underground maps of that area which already houses an MRT track, the Stamford Canal and the Central Expressway (CTE)
With all these in the way, Sean argues that the walkway would be narrow like a slide (imagine Wild Wild Wet’s sliding tubes). The type of soil in the area also makes the walkway too costly and dangerous to build. I doubt any politician in their right mind would like to travel in that manner just to avoid heavy traffic but you never know considering the reality of underground passageways which have been used by politicians in other parts of the world
5. The Bukit Ho Swee Fire was no accident
Back in 1961, a big fire broke out in Kampong Bukit Ho Swee which claimed four lives. 100 acres of property we razed to the ground. Houses turned into rubble and ash leaving 16,000 people homeless.
As a result, there was a nationwide crowdfunding for the victims with some donations even from the Malaysian government back then. To ensure that the victims were safe and sound, then PM Lee Kuan Yew planned for their relocation into complete public flats or those that were near completion. The relocation process was done swiftly which raised some eyebrows online.
Some speculate that the fire was caused intentionally to push the stubborn residents of Kampong Bukit Ho Swee out. Apparently, the residents of Kampong Bukit Ho Swee were unwilling to be relocated to make way for redevelopment in the area.
On the other hand, the quick relocation is a prime example of the government’s swift response in times of emergency which we still observe today making this theory believable but highly unlikely.
It is tough to differentiate between fact and fiction when things remain unknown. But some conspiracy theories you find online are downright bizarre and implausible. Maybe it is our fear of the unknown creating these stories and myths. Although you can never be too sure if Singapore has its very own The Upside Down being covered up.
This article originally appeared on BeScene SG.
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