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Henry Chauncey

Singapore Country Overview

Singapore is an island country off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula located approximately 137 kilometers north of the equator, in the Southeast Asian region of the Asian continent. It comprises the main island of Singapore and some 63 offshore islands. The main island has a total land area of 682 square km.

History

The first records of settlement in Singapore are from the 2nd century AD under the rule of Emperor Sumatran Srivijaya and originally had the Javanese name Temasek ('sea town'). Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Singapore was part of the Sultanate of Johor. In 1613, Portuguese raiders burnt down the settlement at the mouth of Singapore River and the island sank into obscurity for the next two centuries.
The British entered Singapore in 1819 to develop the southern part of Singapore as a British trading post and settlement. It officially became a British colony in August 1824 by a treaty signed by the British East India Company and Malay Sultan who was controlling the Island Territory.
Singapore declared independence from Britain unilaterally in August 1963 and officially gained sovereignty on 9th August 1965.

Economy

Singapore has a highly developed market-based economy. Along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The economy depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods, especially in manufacturing and includes significant electronics, petroleum refining, chemicals, mechanical engineering and biomedical sciences sectors.

Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world and is the world's fourth largest foreign exchange trading centre after London, New York and Tokyo. The World Bank ranks Singapore as the world's top logistics hub.
Singapore's economy has been ranked amongst the world's ten most open, competitive and innovative. Rated as the most business-friendly economy in the world, Singapore is a hub of many Multinational companies.

Climate

Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. Temperatures range from 22 to 34 °C (71.6 to 93.2 °F).
May and June are the hottest months, while November and December make up the wetter monsoon season. However, there is rainfall throughout the year. From August to October, there is often haze, sometimes severe enough to prompt public health warnings, due to bush fires in neighbouring Indonesia.

Culture

Due to its diverse population and immigrant background, Singaporean culture has often been described as a mix of cultures – British, Malay, Chinese, Indian and Peranakan. Foreigners also make up 42% of the population in Singapore and they play an important role in influencing Singaporean culture.

Food

Singaporean cuisine is an example of the country's diversity and cultural diffusion; with significant influences from British, Chinese, Indian, Malay, Tamil cuisine, and Indonesian cuisine. Typical Singaporean food includes the satay, nasi lemak, fish and chips and the famed Hainanese chicken rice.
While there are fancy restaurants offering every kind of cuisine, there are also fast food chains, hawker centers where you can have a very satisfying meal for a few dollars. You can have Chinese noodles, with an Indian curry & a Malay side dish followed by a French dessert.

Public Holidays

  • New Year’s Day – January 1st
  • Chinese New Year – 1st and 2nd days of Chinese calendar
  • Good Friday – varies every year
  • Labour Day – May 1st
  • Vesak Day (Birth of Buddha) – varies every year
  • National Day – August 9th (Singapore Independence Day)
  • Hari Raya Puasa (End of Ramadan month) – varies every year
  • Deepavali (Hindu Holiday) – varies every year
  • Hari Raya Haji (Feast of the Sacrifice) – varies every year
  • Christmas Day – December 25th

Time Zones

Singapore Standard Time (SST) – 2:30 hours plus IST
* IST – Indian Standard Time

Facts

  • Full name: Republic of Singapore
  • Population: 49,87,600 (2009 estimates)
  • Capital: Singapore
  • Area: 710.2 sq km
  • Official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil
  • Major religion: Buddhism
  • Life expectancy: 78 years (men), 82 years (women)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Singapore dollar SGD)
  • Main exports: machinery and equipment, electronics, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and mineral fuels
  • GNI per capita: $47,940 (World Bank, 2008)
  • Internet domain: .sg
  • International dialing code: +65