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The Big Global News Stories of 2022

As we usher in a new year, it is worth recapping which 2022 news stories stuck with us the most. From high profile controversies to the death of icons, from the heavily criticized World Cup to the War in Europe, any thought that 2022 would be a calming time after the pandemic proved not to be the case.  

Blackbox and ADNA spoke to over 9,000 respondents across the key ASEAN countries in December 2022—Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam—for their views on what made the last year memorable for them. 

If the sheer trauma, grief, and devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t enough, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which turned into a full-fledged war, dashed the hopes of a world desperate to heal. Little wonder then that the highest number of respondents in our survey (37%) consider this to be the most significant event of 2022. 

In world divided by conflict though, if there’s one thing, or rather emotion, that unites people, it is sport. While the World Cup 2022 in Qatar proved to be the crowning glory in an illustrious career for Lionel Messi, football’s other modern icon, Cristiano Ronaldo, occupied more of the news space for many, due to his unceremonious exit from Manchester United F.C. At 26%, the Ronaldo-Man Utd fallout took second spot in the top news stories of 2022, proving Southeast Asians’ endless passion for football. Ronaldo, though, continues to be in the news—more recently for this record-breaking contract with Saudi Arabian Club, Al Nassr, in what is widely reported as the “largest-ever salary in the history of the sport”.  

Celebrities and entertainers earning millions and billions however doesn’t change the plight of the common man, and record inflation—the kind not seen in decades—has the average citizen concerned, and rightfully so. Global inflation features on third spot (23%) on our top news stories list. The reasons for this range from the Russia-Ukraine war that stoked energy and food price rises worldwide and pandemic-related economic woes coupled with supply chain disruptions.  

The passing away of Queen Elizabeth II was met with an outpouring of grief from across the world, given her popularity and stature. In our survey, 20% of the respondents voted the Queen’s demise as the most significant event of 2022. Unfortunately, the same year also witnessed the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, triggering outrage for what was eventually seen as a major security lapse.   

The year 2022 also brought mental health back into the spotlight, aided partly by the infamous ‘slapgate’ incident at the Oscars where actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock for making a joke on his wife, and later apologised citing reasons such as “bottled rage”, “growing up in an abusive household”, and “childhood trauma”. While Smith has been banned from the Oscars for a decade, the incident also brought attention to what is acceptable humour and where boundaries may need to be drawn as the world gets more sensitive about topics such as body shaming. 

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Author: Blackbox Research Team


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