Singapore is an island country that may be found close to the Malay Peninsula’s tip. The little state is 728.6 km² in size, with 193 km of coastline (119.9 mi). This country’s land area is around 0.90 times that of New York City.
Singapore is the 52nd-smallest nation in the entire world. Almost everyone now resides in a city as the nation has grown increasingly urbanized.
Singapore is one of the lowest-lying countries in the world, with an average elevation of just 15 meters above sea level.
At Timah, the area’s highest point is barely 164 meters above sea level. In addition to the main island, the nation is made up of 62 smaller islands. Malaysia is the only direct neighbor of Singapore.
Singapore’s weather conditions
Due to Singapore’s proximity to the equator, there aren’t many seasonal temperature variations. With daily highs between 29 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it is always extremely hot.
The months with the lowest temperatures and most precipitation are November to January. Although the monsoon is evident, it doesn’t provide the same level of cooling as it does in other parts of Southeast Asia.
The busiest travel seasons are from June through October because of the still-cold temperatures and lack of precipitation. The humidity increases at the end of the year, producing an uncomfortable, oppressive heat.
Although time has distorted the oldest historical records of Singapore, a Chinese story from the third century refers to it as “Pu-luo-chung,” which in Malay means “island at the end of a peninsula.”
The name of this tiny but advantageously situated island changed in the fourteenth century. The story goes that Sang Nila Utama, a prince from Palembang, the capital city of Srivijaya, was out hunting when he saw an animal that had never been seen before.
He dubbed the area “The Lion City,” or Singapura, which is derived from the Sanskrit terms “simha” (lion) and “pura” (city), since he saw it as a good omen.
A Brief History
The city was ruled by the five kings of ancient Singapura. Due to its location close to the Malay Peninsula’s tip, where numerous maritime routes converge, the city developed as a trading port for Chinese junks, Arab dhows, and Portuguese vessels.
Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles
In the 19th century, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, politics, and trade all helped to make Singapore what it is today.
The British empire sought a port in this region at the time so that it could base its trading fleet there and thwart Dutch expansion.
Raffles landed in Singapore on January 29, 1819, while serving as the Lieutenant Governor of Bencoolen (now Bengkulu), a Sumatran island.
He saw that the island had a lot of potentials and helped the local leaders reach a deal to make Singapore a trade station.
As a trading hub, the city grew quickly, bringing in people from China, India, the Malay Archipelago, and other places.
The Jackson Plan, commonly referred to as the Raffles Town Plan, was put into action by Raffles in 1822 in an effort to address the growing chaos in the colony. Based on ethnicity, four distinct residential zones were established.
The ethnic Chinese dwelt in the current Chinatown to the southeast of the Singapore River. While European merchants, Eurasians, and rich Asians resided in the European Town.
Similarly, Ethnic Indians lived in Kampong Chulia, which is north of Chinatown. Furthermore, Muslims, ethnic Malays, and Arabs who had immigrated to Singapore lived in Kampong Gelam.
War and Peace
The Japanese invasion of Singapore on December 8, 1941, significantly harmed the nation’s economy during World War II. The British military leaders weren’t expecting the onslaught to arrive from the north; they expected it to come by sea from the south.
On February 15, 1942, the Chinese New Year, the Allies surrendered to the Japanese despite having numerical superiority. It was the biggest surrender in the history of the armies under British command.
The island was once called Syonan-to, in Japanese which means “Light of the South Island” and it was thought to be an impregnable stronghold.
When the Japanese surrendered in 1945, the island was given to the British Military Administration. British ruled until Penang, Melaka, and Singapore’s incorporation into the Straits Settlement. In April 1946, Singapore became a British Crown Colony.
Road to independence
The nation’s first general election and self-government followed the emergence of nationalism in 1959. After the People’s Action Party (PAP) won a majority of 43 seats in the legislature, Lee Kuan Yew was chosen as Singapore’s first Prime Minister.
Malaysia was created in 1963 as a result of the union of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, and North Borneo (now Sabah). The goal of the action was to improve relationships.
But the merger didn’t work out, and on August 9, 1965, less than two years later, Singapore broke away from Malaysia and became a free and democratic republic.
Today, Singapore’s multi-cultural, colonial, and wartime past are preserved in a number of ways throughout the city. A trip down memory lane can be taken by walking along a heritage trail or by visiting monuments, museums, and memorials.
Lee Kuan Yew
Singapore’s success has been attributed to Lee Kuan Yew, who is regarded as an economic genius. Dr. Albert Winsemius developed Singapore’s economic policy and counseled Lee Kuan Yew on financial matters for ten years.
Winsemius convinced Lee Kuan Yew to give up the economic theories that many newly independent countries used at the time. Thus they switched to free-market theories that predicted their success.
In trying to persuade Philips, a Dutch electronics company, to open a manufacturing facility in Singapore, he visited with the company’s top executives (paving the way for other giants like Texas Instruments).
Lee along with Winsemius is also known for trying to get the British government to give Singapore its naval base instead of destroying it as the law required so that Singapore could use it as a port.
Singapore had a population of 5.45 million as of June 2021. Of the 5.45 million people who will be living in the country overall in 2021, 4 million will be residents—citizens and permanent residents (PRs)—and 1.45 million will be non-residents, including people with various work permits and foreign students.
After Macao and Monaco, it has the third-highest population density in the world (7,908 people per square kilometer).
Religions include Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. With 31.1% of the resident population identified as Buddhists as of 2011, Buddhism is the most common religion in Singapore.
As a multiracial, multi-ethnic, and multicultural Asian society since 1965, Singapore has been categorized by its people using the CMIO (Chinese-Malay-Indian-Other) system.
Chinese people make up the vast bulk of the population (74.9%), followed by ethnic Malay people (15%) and ethnic Indian people (7.5%). “Others” and Eurasians make up the remaining 1.6% of the population.
The four official languages of Singapore are English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. Although English is the dominant working language.
Politics and Government
As was already mentioned, the rise of nationalism in 1959 sparked the establishment of self-government and the first general election in the country.
Lee Kuan Yew was chosen as Singapore’s first Prime Minister after the People’s Action Party (PAP) secured a majority of 43 members in the legislature.
Since then, politics has been controlled by the People’s Action Party (PAP), which was presided over by the late Lee Kuan Yew, from 1959 until 1990.
Singapore’s uni-chamber legislature has terms of five years. 13 members of parliament (MPs) are elected directly from single-member constituencies; the remaining 76 are chosen to fill the 15 group-representation seats in teams of four to six (GRCs).
Because Singapore is a parliamentary democracy, the Prime Minister and cabinet are appointed by the President, who holds them accountable to the legislature.
The President’s main power is choosing the Prime Minister, but that’s about it. The policies of the country are decided by the Prime Minister.
Halimah Yacob won a six-year term as President on September 14, 2017. Because she was perceived as the sole candidate qualified to run because she was Malay.
Besides, she had experience in public life, she was elected President without a vote. As a result, protests occurred during the election.
The People’s Action Party (PAP) received 69.9 percent of the vote in the election held in September 2015. (or 83 seats in parliament). The current Prime Minister is Lee Hsien Loong, the oldest child of Lee Kuan Yew.
International Political Position
The 6.2 million-person island nation is a regional superpower despite its modest size. Singapore was the founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and Singapore supports Southeast Asian regionalism.
Despite having strong relations with China, Singapore is a significant strategic ally of the United States in Southeast Asia.
It has made an effort in recent years to maintain a balanced foreign policy in order to avoid becoming entangled in the rivalry between the two nations.
Singapore is one of the most pro-neutral nations in the world. However, Singapore hosts a number of international conferences and events in addition to the Secretariats of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Singapore also participates in the East Asia Summit, the Non-Aligned Movement, the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the World Trade Organization.
Strong relations exist between Singapore and the West, particularly the UK. Through the Five Power Defense Arrangements, the UK maintains close ties with Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand (FPDA).
As part of its participation in the UN, Singapore held a rotational membership in the Security Council from 2001 to 2002. It participated in UN peacekeeping and monitoring missions in Timor-Leste, Kenya, Kuwait, and Angola.
One of the richest nations in the world is Singapore. The unemployment rate is quite low, and it has regulations that make it simple for businesses to operate.
The government has been led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong since 2004; he has suggested a change in power soon.
Despite the fact that some civil liberties continue to be curtailed, the People’s Action Party (PAP) has backed economic liberalization and international trade.
Singapore controls one of the biggest ports in the world and is a prominent producer of chemicals and electronics. The top exports are computers, refined petroleum, and integrated circuits.
Economic Freedom Index
Singapore has the freest economy in the 2022 Index, with a score of 84.4, according to the index. Among the 39 countries in the Asia-Pacific, Singapore is placed first, and its overall score is greater than the average for the region and the world.
The highly developed free-market economy of Singapore is mostly successful. That is because of its sensible monetary and fiscal policies, and a reasonably open and free-of-corruption corporate environment.
In Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, Singapore came in third place out of 180 nations. One of the least corrupt nations in the world, according to popular opinion.
The top rate of corporate tax is 17 percent, while the top rate of individual income tax is 22 percent. A sales tax on goods and services is one of the additional taxes.
In the previous three years, government spending accounted for 18.2 percent of GDP, while budget deficits accounted for an average of 0.5 percent of GDP.
Singapore’s business-friendly laws and tariffs, robust infrastructure, and well-established regulatory framework all contribute to the country’s favorable economic climate.
According to the IMF, in 2021, capital infusions, grants, subventions, and subsidies from the government to businesses and other organizations will make up around 17% of GDP. For Singapore, there are now 27 preferential trade agreements in force.
There are 182 non-tariff measures in effect, and the average trade-weighted tariff rate is 0%. Almost all economic sectors allow for 100% foreign ownership.
Currently, 4% of Singapore’s gross domestic product comes from the tourism sector. Singapore’s tourism industry does a lot to boost its reputation as a successful global city that brings in money, businesses, and people.
Additionally, it raises the standard and diversity of citizens’ leisure opportunities and helps create a community that Singaporeans can be proud to call home.
Singapore had 330,000 international visitors and $1.9 billion in tourist receipts in 2021 and 2022, respectively. In comparison to the same three-quarter period in 2020, IVA increased by 221% in 2021.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is a government agency that works with Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry to promote the country’s travel and tourism industry.
Defense of Singapore
“Total Defense” refers to Singapore’s approach to national defense. It is predicated on the notion that each aspect of society makes a contribution to the overall defense of the state.
Singapore is a small, multicultural, and multi-religious nation that relies on free trade and has access to the rest of the globe by air, sea, and the internet. This implies that Singapore will always be impacted in some way by happenings worldwide.
Total Defense, which was established in 1984, has brought Singaporeans together in the face of challenges to the island nation’s safety and independence, including terrorism and economic downturns.
Accordingly, Singapore can currently be divided and weakened by cyber-attacks, campaigns to disseminate untruths, and fake news.
Therefore, in addition to the five preexisting pillars of “Military, Civil, Economic, Social, Digital, and Psychological Defense,” Singapore have introduced a sixth pillar named “Digital Defense.”
These pillars outline the actions Singapore can take to combat a variety of military and non-military threats. The Ministry of Defense’s MINDEF plans to spend $1 billion, or 6.5 percent, more overall in FY2022 than it did in FY2021, totaling $16.36 billion.
This includes $600.75 million in development costs and $15.76 billion in operating costs (96.3%). (3.7 percent).
Singapore’s top security worries are transnational terrorism and maritime piracy in the Malacca Strait.
More than 120,000 ships sail through the Malacca Strait each year, making it one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. It connects important nations like China and Japan.
The Malacca Strait, where piracy and armed robberies have been on the rise recently. It is one area of Southeast Asia where the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) conducts routine patrols to prevent piracy close to Singapore’s territorial waters.
Climate Change efforts
Singapore has been a pioneer in promoting coordinated international action to reduce carbon emissions, such as the Paris Agreement of 2015. Global climate change is a major issue for Singapore and the city-state.
Singapore is a low-lying island and is particularly vulnerable to coastal flooding because a third of the island is less than five meters above mean sea level. In response, the government has set aside millions of dollars to fight rising sea levels.
In order to ensure the country’s water supply, plans call for the development of low-lying reclaimed land regions to lower the risk of floods as well as the growth of its reservoirs and underground drainage system.
Fascinating details about Singapore
- One of the three lone remaining city-states is Singapore. The other two are Monaco and Vatican City.
- Singapore has 63 other islands in addition to its main island, the majority of which are deserted.
- Singapore is one of the world’s twenty smallest countries. The size of the US is almost 15 thousand times greater.
- The red and white colors of Singapore’s flag stand for universal kinship and equality of all people, respectively.
- The five stars stand for democracy, peace, progress, justice, and equality, while the crescent moon represents a nation that is just getting started.
- More tree species can be found in Singapore’s Bukit Timah Nature Reserve than there are on the entire continent of North America.
- Buildings in Singapore are limited to a maximum height of 280 meters. This height is presently shared by the OUB Centre, UOB Plaza, and Republic Plaza.
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Singapore set the record for the longest human domino chain on September 30, 2000. It was 42 kilometers long and was built by 9,234 pupils.
- The road system in Singapore spans more than 3,000 kilometers. If they were laid end to end, they would stretch from Singapore to Hong Kong.
- Malay is the official language of Singapore. The four official languages of the nation are Malay, Tamil, Chinese, and English.
Singapore is a fantastic place to live due to all of the aforementioned characteristics. Based on these developments, Singapore will still be Asia’s economic hub and prosper going forward.