The new year and new decade is here, and that means the introduction of a host of brand new trends and fads—or does it? As much as we might hope to leave some things behind (and perhaps secretly hope that others stay relevant), there’s no doubt that certain viral trends are not going anywhere any time soon.
Is the internet going to get wiser in 2020? We sure hope so. But as we set new goals and seize the chance to start the year on a clean slate, we round up some of the strangest trends we’ve seen from 2010 to 2019, of which some may wish had never seen the light of day.
Text: Melissa Goh / AsiaOne / December 2019
Additional text: Zoe Zeng
Image: Instagram, Pixabay
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Bubble tea (BBT) has been around for decades, with Sweet Talk the OG, to me at least. Its popularity has had its ups and downs, but over the past years the BBT craze has somehow taken off once again, with people thinking it’s clever to put boba in every single thing they can think of.
Don’t get me wrong, we love a cup of boba milk tea, but bubble tea milk hot pot and boba milk crab is just pushing it.
With the resounding success of The Bubble Tea Factory featuring IG-worthy multi-sensory installations that opened this year, and the countless openings of new overseas bubble tea brands sprouting up across the island, we don’t think we’re anywhere close to seeing the boba trend dying down.
Remember the Gong Cha-LiHo saga, which saw one of Singapore’s bubble tea giants closing down and reopening six months later? That’s how resilient BBT is in Singapore.
And just as we begin the new year, we’ve received news that yet another BBT brand is landing in Singapore. This time it’s Machi Machi, said to be Taiwanese singer Jay Chou’s favourite, which was featured in his Won’t Cry music video. The store will reportedly be opening in Singapore this month at Arab Street. Cue the snaking lines.
Before the trend took off, the only places we knew that sold salted egg yolk dishes were zi char stalls—how the golden sauce got slathered on everything beats me.
There was salted egg yolk in croissant, salted egg yolk in toast, salted egg yolk in prata, salted egg yolk ice cream, and suddenly every cafe, restaurant and eatery wanted a share of the gold mine.
Just when we thought the food trend was dying down, it made a come back when McDonald’s launched its salted egg yolk fries, and Ikea added a twist to their classic fried chicken wings.
The next big thing that dominated our food scene was mala, which set our tongues and hearts on fire.
The Sichuan cuisine found its way to Singapore, warming us up with hot pots and xiang guo (stir-fry pots). Soon, we saw fish skin and potato chips seasoned in the numbing, divisive spice.
Many took to it well, but some just couldn’t handle the heat.
Our only gripe was when Playmade decided to create a limited edition mala boba pearl to accompany its drinks. Let’s hope there won’t be any more weird mala creations after this.
For the uninitiated, mukbang means “eating broadcasts” and it’s usually filmed with a host eating and interacting with the audience. It was made popular in Korea in 2010 and is now adopted by YouTubers across the world.
We find mukbang videos oddly satisfying to watch, especially if they’re done in autonomous sensory meridian response (AMSR) style, and when the host ingests large portions of food.
But some people think otherwise about the trend, because of the amount of food wasted during the filming if it can’t be finished. That, and it begs the question—why tho?
Are you camp yay or nay for mukbang?
Perhaps one of the more peculiar trends of this century that looks set to stay is ASMR.
Most people turn to ASMR to relax as the soft whispering and stimulating sounds will purportedly trigger a tingling sensation to ease you up, and can even lead you to deep sleep.
But to some, ASMR is annoying and somewhat creepy, no matter if the person responsible for the sounds is a dude who looks like a K-pop idol.
Started in 2010, there are about 13 million ASMR videos on YouTube in April this year and more are added every day. This is one trend that’s definitely following us into the new decade as ASMRists (yes, that’s what they’re called) come up with more creative ways to trigger the senses.
While there’s really no wrong in changing up your lifestyle for a healthier diet, how people have suddenly turned to it like it’s a religion can be off-putting.
At one point in time, the juice cleanse was also all the rage, with people shelling out hundreds of dollars on cold-pressed juices, when really, all you needed to do was invest in a machine to do it yourself or just eat the fruit whole, which is more nutritious.
Another diet that rose to popularity over the past year is the ketogenic diet.
There’s no doubt new diets and health trends will come and go, but the plant-based and keto diet are ones that will definitely follow us into the new decade.
This year, the golden arches launched some special pyjamas and the internet went wild trying to get their hands on it, which caused the fast-food chain’s app and website to crash.
It’s not the first time McDonald’s has launched limited-edition merch, early this year they dropped an exclusive hoodie in Singapore that saw a long queue forming overnight at the Springleaf Tower outlet.
And then there were the Sanrio My Melody and Hello Kitty food holders.
If there’s anything we learnt from the Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel plush toy release of 2000, it’s to avoid collecting these novelty items as they’re just going to end up collecting dust or be tossed in the bin eventually.
One can only wonder what was on the designer’s drawing board when Balenciaga dropped its Bazar Shopper tote at the Fall/Winter 2016 runway show, which looks like the nylon canvas bag seen in the markets.
More recently, Bottega Veneta rolled out bags that resemble ketupats for a 2019 collection.
And yet, fashionistas the world over are still willing to fork out more than $1,000 on these designer items.
Which brings us to the next point: hypebeasts and hypebaes are most definitely here to stay, looking at how people are willing to splurge on streetwear brands such as Supreme, Off-White and Anti Social Social Club.
Don’t know these brands? Then you’re probably not cool enough.
While the term is derived from an eponymous online magazine, it’s mainly used to describe trend-chasers and fashion collectors including sneakers, clothes and accessories.
TikTok is the latest social network sensation in Singapore, which is a video-sharing platform to create short-form videos, from lip-syncing to dancing and make-up transformations.
Be warned though, that content on the app ranges from cute to banal, and the low barrier to entry means anyone can do it, from schoolchildren to domestic helpers.
And unless you’re creative like the Katong Chicken Rice hunk or adorable like the twirling cat on the app’s nine-camera split filter, as a creator, you’ll constantly be judged by us the masses who are on the app.