Singapore

1.3; 103.8

Republic of Singapore
新加坡共和国 (Chinese)
Republik Singapura (Malay)
சிங்கப்பூர் குடியரசு (Tamil)
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: 
“Majulah Singapura”  (Malay)
“Onward, Singapore”
Anthem: Majulah Singapura
“Onward, Singapore”

Location of  Singapore  (red)
Capital Singapore
(Central)1
1°17′N 103°50′E / 1.283°N 103.833°E / 1.283; 103.833
Official languages English
Malay
Chinese
Tamil
Official scripts Roman script
Simplified Chinese
Tamil script
Demonym Singaporean
Government parliamentary republic
 -  President Tony Tan Keng Yam
 -  Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
 -  Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer
 -  Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon
Legislature Parliament
Formation
 -  Founding 6 February 1819[1] 
 -  Self-government 3 June 1959[2] 
 -  United Kingdom 31 August 1963[3] 
 -  Merger with Malaysia 16 September 1963[3] 
 -  Separation from Malaysia 9 August 1965[3] 
Area
 -  Total 710 km2 (189th)
274 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.444
Population
 -  2012 census 5,312,400[4] 
 -  Density 7,3153rd)
18,943/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $314.911 billion38th)
 -  Per capita $59,7113rd)
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $259.849 billion38th)
 -  Per capita $49,27013th)
Gini (2009) positive decrease 47.829th)
HDI (2011) Increase 0.86626th)
Currency SGD)
Time zone UTC+8)
Date formats dd/mm/yyyy
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code SG
Internet TLD .sg
Calling code +65
1. Singapore is a city-state.

Singapore (land reclamation.

Part of various local empires since being inhabited in the 2nd century AD, Singapore hosted a trading post of the busiest ports in the world. The economy depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods, especially in manufacturing, which constituted 26% of Singapore’s GDP in 2005.

Singapore is a People’s Action Party has won every election since self-government in 1959, and governs on the basis of a strong state and prioritising collective welfare over individual rights such as freedom of speech.

In terms of Commonwealth.

Contents

Etymology

The English name of Singapore is derived from the Malay word Singapura ([10]

History

Victorious Japanese troops marching through Singapore City after British Battle of Singapore

The earliest known settlement on Singapore was in the second century AD. It was an outpost of the Sumatran Srivijaya empire, named Temasek (‘sea town’). Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, it was part of the Sultanate of Johor. In 1613, Portuguese raiders burnt down the settlement and the island sank into obscurity for the next two centuries.[11]

In 1819, [12]

During [17]

Singapore’s first general election in 1955 was won by the pro-independence David Marshall, leader of the Labour Front. Demanding complete self-rule he led a delegation to London but was turned down by the British. He resigned when he returned and was replaced by Lim Yew Hock, whose policies convinced Britain to grant Singapore full internal self-government for all matters except defence and foreign affairs.[18]

During the May 1959 elections, the [21]

On 31 August 1963, Singapore declared independence from Britain and joined with [23]

Singapore gained independence as the Republic of Singapore (remaining within the Commonwealth) on 9 August 1965[3] with Yusof bin Ishak as president and Lee Kuan Yew as Prime Minister. Every one who was present in Singapore on the date of independence was offered Singapore citizenship. In 1967, it helped found the Association of Southeast Asian Nations[24] and in 1970 it joined the Non-aligned movement. In 1990, Goh Chok Tong succeeded Lee as Prime Minister. During his tenure the country faced the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the 2003 SARS outbreak and terrorist threats posed by Jemaah Islamiyah. In 2004, Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, became the country’s third prime minister.[25]

Government and politics

Singapore’s Parliament House.

Singapore is a [28]

Executive power rests with the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, and the President.[20] The president is elected through popular vote, and has some veto powers for a few key decisions such as the use of the national reserves and the appointment of judges, but otherwise occupies a ceremonial post.[29]

The Parliament serves as the legislative branch of government.[20] Members of Parliament (MPs) consist of elected, non-constituency and nominated members. Elected MPs are voted into parliament on a “first-past-the-post” (plurality) basis and represent either single-member or group-representation constituencies.[30] The People’s Action Party has won control of Parliament with large majorities in every election since self-governance was secured in 1959.[26] However, in the most recent parliamentary elections in 2011, the opposition, led by the Workers’ Party, made significant gains and increased its representation in the House to 6 elected MPs.[31]

The [40]

Geography

Outline of Singapore and the surrounding islands & waterways

Singapore consists of [42]

There are ongoing [44]

Singapore has a [49]

Climate data for Singapore
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34.3
(93.7)
35.2
(95.4)
36.0
(96.8)
35.8
(96.4)
35.4
(95.7)
35.0
(95.0)
34.0
(93.2)
34.2
(93.6)
34.3
(93.7)
34.6
(94.3)
34.2
(93.6)
33.8
(92.8)
36.0
(96.8)
Average high °C (°F) 30.1
(86.2)
31.2
(88.2)
31.6
(88.9)
31.7
(89.1)
31.6
(88.9)
31.3
(88.3)
30.9
(87.6)
30.9
(87.6)
30.9
(87.6)
31.1
(88.0)
30.6
(87.1)
30.0
(86.0)
31.0
(87.8)
Average low °C (°F) 23.3
(73.9)
23.6
(74.5)
23.9
(75.0)
24.4
(75.9)
24.8
(76.6)
24.8
(76.6)
24.6
(76.3)
24.5
(76.1)
24.2
(75.6)
24.1
(75.4)
23.7
(74.7)
23.5
(74.3)
24.1
(75.4)
Record low °C (°F) 19.4
(66.9)
19.7
(67.5)
20.2
(68.4)
20.7
(69.3)
21.2
(70.2)
20.8
(69.4)
19.7
(67.5)
20.2
(68.4)
20.7
(69.3)
20.6
(69.1)
21.1
(70.0)
20.6
(69.1)
19.4
(66.9)
Rainfall mm (inches) 243.2
(9.575)
159.9
(6.295)
185.7
(7.311)
178.9
(7.043)
171.3
(6.744)
162.1
(6.382)
158.7
(6.248)
175.4
(6.906)
169.2
(6.661)
193.8
(7.63)
256.9
(10.114)
287.4
(11.315)
2,342.5
(92.224)
humidity 84.7 82.8 83.8 84.8 84.4 83.0 82.8 83.0 83.4 84.1 86.4 86.9 84.2
Avg. rainy days 15 11 14 15 15 13 13 14 14 16 19 19 178
Mean monthly sunshine hours 173.6 183.6 192.2 174.0 179.8 177.0 189.1 179.8 156.0 155.0 129.0 133.3 2,022.4
Source #1: National Environment Agency (Temp 1929-1941 and 1948-2011, Rainfall 1869-2011, Humidity 1929-1941 and 1948-2011, Rain days 1891-2011) [50]
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory (sun only, 1982—2008) [51]

Economy

The port of Singapore, one of the world’s five busiest,[52] with the skyline of Singapore in the background

Before independence in 1965, Singapore was the capital of the British [57]

Today, Singapore has a highly developed Corruption Perceptions Index, Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, along with New Zealand and the Scandinavian countries.

Singapore is the 14th largest exporter and the 15th largest importer in the world. The country has the highest trade-to-GDP ratio in the world at 407.9 percent, signifying the importance of trade to its economy. The country is currently the only Asian country to have AAA credit ratings from all three major credit rating agencies – [66]

Singapore also possesses the world’s eleventh [69]

The Singaporean economy depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods, especially in manufacturing,[72]

[78]

Singapore is a world leader in several economic areas: The country is the world’s fourth leading [85]

Singapore skyline

As a result of [88]

Singapore has the world’s highest percentage of millionaires, with one out of every six households having at least one million US dollars in disposable wealth. This excludes property, businesses, and luxury goods, which if included would further increase the number of millionaires, especially as property in Singapore is among the world’s most expensive.[91]

Acute poverty is rare in Singapore; the government has rejected the idea of a generous welfare system, stating that each generation must earn and save enough for its entire life cycle. There are, however, numerous means-tested ‘assistance schemes’ provided by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports in Singapore for the needy, including some that pay out SGD 400 to SGD 1000 per month to each needy household, free medical care at government hospitals, money for children’s school fees, rental of studio apartments for SGD 80 a month, training grants for courses, etc.[96]

Foreign relations

Then William Cohen during Lee’s visit in 2000

Singapore’s foreign policy is directed to maintaining a secure environment in Southeast Asia as well as the surrounding territories. An underlying principle is political and economic stability in the region.[100]

In general, bilateral relations with other ASEAN members are strong; however, disagreements have arisen,[104]

The first diplomatic contact with [66]

Military

RSS Vigilance sailing line-abreast.

The Singaporean military is arguably the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia.[113]

On independence, Singapore had two infantry regiments commanded by British officers. This force was considered too small to provide effective security to the new country, so the development of the military became a priority.[115]

A great deal of initial support came from [120]

The SAF is being developed to respond to a wide range of issues, in both conventional and unconventional warfare. The [112]

Singapore has conscription for all able-bodied males at age 18, except those with a criminal record or who can prove that their loss would bring hardship to their families. Males who have yet to complete pre-university education or are awarded the Public Service Commission scholarship can opt to defer their draft. Though not required to perform military service, the number of women in the SAF has been increasing: since 1989 they have been allowed to fill military vocations formerly reserved for men. Before induction into a specific branch of the armed forces, recruits undergo at least 9 weeks of basic military training.[121]

Because of the scarcity of open land on the main island, training involving activities such as live firing and amphibious landings is often carried out on smaller islands, typically barred to civilian access. This also avoids risk to the main island and the city. However, large-scale drills are considered too dangerous to be performed in the area, and since 1975 have been performed in [112]

Due to airspace and land constraints, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) maintains a number of overseas bases in Australia, the United States, and France. The RSAF’s 130 Squadron is based in [127]

The SAF has sent forces to assist in operations outside the country in areas such as Iraq[112]

Demographics

High-rise Bishan Park

As of 2011, the population of Singapore is 5.18 million people, of whom 3.25 million (63%) are [132]

The median age of Singaporeans is 37 years old and the average household size is 3.5 persons. Due to scarcity of land, four out of five Singaporeans live in [132]

The [138]

As of 2009, about 40% of Singapore’s residents were foreigners, [142]

In 2009, the government census reports that 74.2% of residents were of [144]

Religion

Religion in Singapore[145]
religion percentage
Buddhism
  
33%
Christianity
  
18%
No religion
  
17%
Islam
  
15%
Taoism
  
11%
Hinduism
  
5.1%
Others
  
0.9%

Buddhism is the most widely practised religion in Singapore, with 33% of the resident population declaring themselves adherents at the most recent census. The next most practised religion is Christianity, followed by Islam, Taoism and Hinduism. 17% of the population did not have a religious affiliation. The proportion of Christians, Taoists and non-religious people increased between 2000 and 2010 by about 3% each, whilst the proportion of Buddhists decreased. Other faiths remained largely stable in their share of the population.[145]

There are monasteries and Dharma centres from all three major traditions of Buddhism in Singapore: [147]

Languages

Native languages of Singaporeans[148]
language % of first language speakers
Chinese
  
49.9%
English
  
32.3%
Malay
  
12.2%
Tamil
  
3.3%

Singapore has four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.[149] English is the common language of the nation and is the language of business, government and medium of instruction in schools.[150][151] Public bodies in Singapore conduct their businesses in English, and official documents written in a non-English official language such as Chinese, Malay or Tamil typically have to be translated into English to be accepted for submission. The Singapore Constitution and all laws are written in English,[152] and translators are also required if one wishes to address the Singaporean Courts in a language other than English.[153][154] However, English is the native tongue for only one-third of all Singaporeans, with roughly a third of all Singaporean Chinese, a quarter of all Singaporean Malays and half of all Singaporean Indians speaking it as their native tongue. Twenty percent of Singaporeans, or one out of every five, is unable to read or write in English.[155][145]

Many, but not all, Singaporeans are bilingual in English and another official language, with vastly varying degrees of fluency. The various official languages ranked in terms of literacy amongst Singaporeans are: English (80% literacy), Mandarin Chinese (65% literacy), Malay (17% literacy) and Tamil (4% literacy).[158]

Chinese is the language which is spoken as their native tongue by the greatest number of Singaporeans, half of them.[160]

Malay was chosen as the “national language” by the Singaporean government after independence from Britain in the 1960s to avoid friction with Singapore’s neighbours — Malaysia and Indonesia — both of which are Malay-speaking.[161] It has a symbolic rather than functional purpose.[149][162][163] It is used in the national anthem “Majulah Singapura[164] and in military commands. Today, in general, Malay is spoken within the Singaporean Malay community, with only 16.8% of all Singaporeans literate in Malay[165] and only 12% using it as their native language.[148]

Around 100,000 or 3% of Singaporeans speak Tamil as their native language.[148] Even though only Tamil has official status, there have been no attempts to discourage the use or spread of other Indian languages.[166]

Education

The Administrative Building of public universities in Singapore

Education for primary, secondary, and tertiary levels is mostly supported by the state. All institutions, private and public, must be registered with the Ministry of Education.[173]

Education takes place in three stages: primary, secondary, and pre-university education. Only the primary level is compulsory. Students begin with six years of primary school, which is made up of a four-year foundation course and a two-year orientation stage. The curriculum is focused on the development of English, the mother tongue, and maths.[178]

Some schools have a degree of freedom in their curriculum and are known as autonomous schools. These exist from the secondary education level.[176]

Educational attainment of non-student Singaporeans above 15 years old in 2005[179]
Highest qualification Percentage
No education
  
18%
Primary school
  
45%
Secondary school
  
15%
Post-secondary diploma
  
8%
Degree
  
14%

National examinations are standardised across all schools, with a test taken after each stage. After the first six years of education, students take the [179]

Singaporean students consistently rank in the top five in the world in the two major international assessments of mathematics and science knowledge. Singaporean students were ranked first in the 2011 [183]

Health

Singapore has a generally efficient healthcare system, even with a health expenditure relatively low for developed countries.[186]

The government’s healthcare system is based upon the “3M” framework. This has three components: Medifund, which provides a safety net for those not able to otherwise afford healthcare, Medisave, a compulsory health savings scheme covering about 85% of the population, and Medishield, a government-funded health insurance scheme.[188]

Culture

Singapore is a very diverse and young country. It has many languages, cultures and religions for a country its size.[189] Due to the many different languages and cultures in the country, there is no single set of culturally acceptable behaviours.

When Singapore became independent from the United Kingdom in 1963, most of the newly minted Singaporean citizens were uneducated labourers from China, Malaysia and India. Many of them were transient labourers who were seeking to make some money in Singapore and they had no intentions of staying for good. A sizeable minority of middle-class, local-born people, known as the Peranakans also existed. With the exception of the Peranakans (descendants of late 15th and 16th-century Chinese immigrants) who pledged their loyalties to Singapore, most of the labourers’ loyalties lie with their respective homelands of China, Malaysia and India. [190][191] After independence, the process of crafting a Singaporean identity and culture began. Both the former Prime Ministers of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, have stated that Singapore does not fit the traditional description of a nation, calling it a society in transition, pointing out the fact that Singaporeans do not all speak the same language, share the same religion or have the same customs.[189][192] Even though English is the first language of the nation, according to the government’s 2010 census 20% of Singaporeans, or one in five, are illiterate in English. This is a marked improvement from 1990 where 40% of Singaporeans were illiterate in English.[193][194]

Unlike many other countries, languages, religions and cultures among Singaporeans are not delineated according to skin colour or ancestry. Among Singaporean Chinese, one in five is Christian, another one in five is atheist, and the rest are mostly Buddhists or Taoists. One-third speak English as their home language, while half speak Mandarin Chinese as their home language. The rest speak other mutually unintelligible Chinese languages at home.[193] Singaporean Indians are much more religious. Only 1% of them are atheists. Six in ten are Hindus, two in ten Muslims, and the rest mostly Christians. Four in ten speak English as their home language, three in ten Tamil, one in ten Malay, and the rest other Indian languages as their home language.[193] Each Singaporean’s behaviours and attitudes would therefore be influenced by, among many other things, his or her home language and his religion. Singaporeans who speak English as their native language tend to lean toward Western Culture. While those who speak Chinese languages as their native language tend to lean toward Chinese culture and Confucianism. Malay-speaking Singaporeans tend to lean toward Malay culture, which itself is closely linked to Islamic culture. Those who speak Indian languages as their native language would probably lean toward Indian culture.

Singapore, as a country, in general is conservative socially, but some liberalisation has occurred.[200]

Due to scarcity of land, four out of five Singaporeans live in [205]

Foreigners also make up 42% of the population[207]

Cuisine

Dining, along with shopping, is said to be the country’s national pastime.[209]

Arts

The durian-shaped Esplanade, performing arts centre, stands out in front of the Marina Square area.

Since the 1990s, the government has been promoting Singapore as a centre for arts and culture, in particular the performing arts, and to transform the country into a cosmopolitan “gateway between the East and West”.[215]

Sport and recreation

National Stadium of Singapore

Popular sports include football, basketball, cricket, swimming, sailing, table tennis and badminton. Most Singaporeans live in public residential areas near amenities such as public swimming pools, outdoor basketball courts and indoor sport complexes. Water sports are popular, including sailing, kayaking and water skiing. Scuba diving is another popular recreational sport. The Southern island of Pulau Hantu, particularly, is known for its rich coral reefs.[216]

Singapore’s football (soccer) league, the [219]

Singapore began hosting a round of the [222]

Singapore also hosted the inaugural 2010 Summer Youth Olympics.[223]

Media

Companies linked to the government control much of the domestic media in Singapore.[229]

Singapore’s media industry has sometimes been criticised for being too regulated and lacking in freedom by human rights groups such as [230]

The [234]

Transport

The Sentosa island in the background

Since Singapore is a small island with a high population density, the number of private cars on the road is restricted so as to curb pollution and congestion. Car buyers must pay for duties one-and-a-half times the vehicle’s market value and bid for a Singaporean [235]

Electronic Road Pricing gantry at North Bridge Road

Most Singaporean residents travel by foot, bicycles, [237]

Singapore has a road system covering 3,356 kilometres (2,085 mi), which includes 161 kilometres (100 mi) of expressways.[7][238][239] The Singapore Area Licensing Scheme, implemented in 1975, became the world’s first congestion pricing scheme, and included other complementary measures such as stringent car ownership quotas and improvements in mass transit.[240][241] Upgraded in 1998 and renamed Electronic Road Pricing, the system introduced electronic toll collection, electronic detection, and video surveillance technology.[242]

Singapore is a major international transport hub in Asia, positioned on many sea and air trade routes. The [243]

Singapore is an aviation hub for Southeast Asia and a stopover on the [246]

Ships in the ocean with Singapore visible in the background

See also


References

Notes
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Bibliography

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Singapore, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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