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If the Apocalypse Happens and CNN Isn't There, Did It Really Happen?

Anya grew up in Singapore and moved to Melbourne to study law. After a few years of legal practice in Australia, she went back to school to study graphic design. She's now a designer in an ad agency in Melbourne, working in branding, illustration, copywriting, and digital projects. Off hours, Anya freelances and writes. She can be found on Twitter at @anyasy.

The apocalypse happened to Singapore at 3 am EST on a Thursday. The bridges linking the tiny island-state to Malaysia were severed in half. The few cars on the still-existing side of the bridge crawled to a halt before the void. There were screams. Images were tagged on Instagram. Some went viral. #ApocalypseLAH.
The international news media descended. Sweating in the equatorial heat, they took photographs and interviewed local people.
"It's the End Times," said Sara (54). "Maybe Singapore is only the start." The start of the whole world becoming a void? "Yah." Why did it start with Singapore? "Why not? Maybe a higher power wanted to punish them." Punish them? What for? "Claiming that their version of nasi lemak is better? Who knows." Was it better? "What?" The nasi lemak. "No, no."
"It was probably aliens," said Eliza (36). Why would aliens decide to make a pinpoint strike on an island-state that was careful to be friends with everyone? "Dunno. Maybe it was a pre-emptive strike." Before diplomatic attempts? "Yah."
"I was home sick today or I would've been working in Singapore," said Mahmoud (41). "Scary." Did he think it was aliens? "No lah, what aliens? Why would Aliens attack Singapore? Aliens would attack New York." What did he think happened? "I heard the Singapore gah'men has a secret government lab in Fusionopolis. Maybe something went wrong." But Fusionopolis wasn't a secret. "That's what they want you to think. They'll be back. Maybe they already are." Where? "Dunno. Did you people check Antarctica?"
"My friends live in Singapore. This is so horrible. All those people," said Leane (24). What did she think happened? "Terrorists!" No terrorist faction had claimed responsibility. "Secret terrorists. You really have to be careful nowadays."
"This is the darkest timeline, so maybe they just moved to another one," said Tony (32). They? "It's something the government might have done." Through Fusionopolis? "It's a very precise disappearance, don't you think? Right around the boundary." Moved to where? "I don't know, somewhere where the world isn't going to end in 12 years." Why do you think the world is ending in 12 years? "Isn't that what you people think?" No? The '12 years' news was just the UN saying-- "Well, that's what I heard. On Facebook. Singapore just moved on ahead of time, that's all. They're always like that."
After a week, the void disappeared and left open sea in its wake. No further voids occurred. It now appeared safe to commiserate with moderate displays of grief. Flowers were left to rot on the severed edge of the causeway and outside shuttered embassies in other countries. There was a token minute of silence during a UN council meeting. The international news media decamped gratefully away from the humid heat and returned to covering carnivorous political arenas. Global maps were tentatively altered. There was not much to alter. There had been 5.6 million people where the void was, but death was just a number.
In other areas of the world where the apocalypse had already happened in messier ways, life crabbed on among IEDs and carpet bombs, in indigenous communities with uranium-poisoned water, along rivers choked with dead fish. No one of note took photographs. There were no interviews.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Author Comments

The first time I saw Singapore mentioned in an American speculative setting was in Mark Waid's Irredeemable, where a character who was once the world's greatest superhero sinks it into the ocean to make a point. It's not mentioned much for the rest of the comics save as part of a point about this character. It was funny to read at the time, in a sort of "Hey! American comics know we exist!" way. It's the same feeling I still get whenever I see Singapore pop up now and then on international news for whatever reason. Whatever it is, we're usually forgotten quickly.

I'm a news junkie, and I've always been interested in what tends to get extensive international coverage and what doesn't. As at the time of this story being published, Buttah Windee has fixed their uranium-tainted water situation themselves via donations (the Western Australian State Government told them it was too expensive to fix), and the mass fish dying is still ongoing. Stay tuned... if you can even read about it anywhere.

- Anya Ow
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