Singapore is a place that people seem to either love or hate. Those that love it, love it for its affluence, security, shopping opportunities and Disneyesque tourist sights. Singapore is one of the richest nations in Asia and best-educated nations in the world. Those that hate it, consider it sterile, boring and suffocatingly repressive and have described it as “Disneyland with capital punishment” and an irritating “little red dot.”
Singapore is arguably the cleanest, safest, most efficient and well organized place on Earth. It boasts one of the world's highest-rated airlines and airports, the best-educated eighth graders, the best-made ball bearings, and the most corporate-friendly authoritarian government. And, it's attractions include glitzy shopping malls with flashing lights and designer labels, well-manicured parks and blockbuster theme parks.
But Singapore's good qualities are tied to some of its more unattractive features. One of the reason why Singapore is so clean is that people receive hefty fines for littering or for forgetting to flush a toilet. The crime rate is low because vandals are beaten with a rattan cane until the flesh splits open and drug traffickers are hung.
The entertainment tends to be squeaky clean because censors cut anything that hints of social vice (Playboy magazine is illegal and the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album was banned until 1993 because of its pro-drug lyrics). And, if that isn't enough, police are posted on the roofs of building looking for litterers and illegal gum chewers.
It has always been a mystery to me how Singapore attracted so many tourists from North America and Europe. Yes, the shopping malls are modern and impressive, having a night zoo safari is a good idea and the rides at the theme parks are fun, but why anyone would spend a $1,000 or more for a plane ticket and endure a seven yo 15 hour flight across the Pacific or Asia to do the same things they can do at home only in a more hot and humid climate is beyond me. The repressive laws are actually one of Singapore's more interesting features: at least they are different and have a humorous side.
But that is not say that Singapore isn't a bad place to stop if you are on your way to somewhere else. After some rough weeks in Indonesia or Thailand, it is nice to stop in a place where there is a McDonald's at the airport, the air conditioning works, the subways are on time and taxi drivers obey the speed limit and the highways are planted with pink bougainvilleas and proud angsana trees. There are also lots of restaurants with A-list chefs, fabulous gardens and world-class architecture and events such as the only nighttime Formula One race.
And, the entire city isn't sterile. In the Chinese, Muslim Malay, and Hindu Indians ethnic neighborhoods you can find Chinese medicine shops, quirky museums, street opera, gambling dens, temples, mosques, famous hotels with famous drinks, turbanned Sihk policemen, markets with tropical fruits and food hawkers that serve up delicious snacks, satay and noodle soups. And laws that often seem silly often have a logical reason for being in place. The harsh laws about having water in buckets are there to stave off dengue fever, a nasty disease caused by mosquitos that bred in still water. Before Singapore introduced its draconian drug laws, opium addiction was a severe, nation-draining plague.
Singapore is both a city and a republic. The entire country is almost entirely urban and suburban and there is little distinction between Singapore and Singapore City. Singapore has a land area of about 721square kilometers, making her one of the smallest countries, hence its nickname “The Little Red Dot”. Although small in size, Singapore commands an enormous presence in the world today with its free trade economy and highly efficient workforce. Also, it strategic location in the region has enabled her to become a central sea port along major shipping routes. At present, Singapore’s population is about 5.6 million people. English is the main language of instruction in school and the lingua franca of Singapore diverse ethnic groups
Brief History of Singapore
The modern city of Singapore was established in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles of the British East India Company. Earlier, it had been known as Temasek, or "Sea Town." According to legend, its current name was given by a prince of the Indonesia-based Srivijaya empire who, upon landing at Temasek, saw an animal resembling a lion; hence the name: Singa Pura, or Lion City. One of the city’s main landmarks is the Merlion, a fountain statue of a mythical beast with the head of a lion and the tail of a fish. The last wild tiger in Singapore, roaming in Choa Chu Kang area, was killed in the 1930s.
According to “Cities of the World”: “The settlement begun by Raffles attracted enterprising merchants and industrious immigrants from throughout the Malay peninsula and the islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Soon came the Chinese, Indians, British, Arabs, and Ceylonese whose descendants comprise today's Singaporean population. Separate areas were designated for the many and varied ethnic groups who came to seek new and better lives and, although there has been considerable assimilation and resettlement, Singapore retains areas where traditions of the past continue. Narrow roads, vibrant street activity, mosques and temples, and unique sights and sounds all add to the color and fascination of this exotic city. The harbor, the parks and gardens, and the colonial heart of Singapore create still another, but equally interesting, aspect of this Southeast Asian melange.” [Source: Cities of the World, Gale Group Inc., 2002, adapted from a U.S. Department of State report]
Singapore became part of the Straits Settlements (British crown colony) in 1826. During World War II, Singapore was under Japanese occupation for three-and-a-half years. It was made a separate British colony in 1946. Originally Singapore and Malaysia were supposed to be a single country and Singapore was a state in the Federation of Malaysian from 1963 to 1965, but concerns about what would happen to Singapore’s mainly Chinese population in mainly Muslim Malay Malaysia at least in part led to Singapore becoming an independent republic in August 1965. Being a major port in a busy maritime region and having a sound business infrastructure, favorable economic climate and stable, competent and business-friendly ruling government spurred Singapore’s rapid growth and transformed into one of the world's great commercial centers. Singapore is a parliamentary republic and a democracy — more or less in name only. The current ruling party in government is The People’s Action Party (PAP), which has dominated the political process since self-government in 1959 and was led for a long time by Lee Kwan Yew and is now led by his eldest son Lee Hsien Loong.
Visiting to Singapore
David Lamb wrote in Smithsonian magazine: “It was 3 a.m. and I was fresh off a Singapore Airlines flight from Newark—at 18 hours, the longest regularly scheduled, nonstop commercial flight in the world. Jet lag was playing havoc with my system. So I left the hotel and headed over to Boat Quay, not expecting to find much except fresh air and solitude. This, after all, was Singapore, long ridiculed as a prissy, soulless place, with no DNA for fun, culture or the arts. Singapore? Isn't that where chewing gum is illegal and Cosmopolitan magazine is banned as too racy? Where bars close before anyone starts having a good time, and everyone is so obsessed with work that the government launched a smile campaign to get people to lighten up? [Source: David Lamb, Smithsonian magazine, September 2007]
“Located just north of the Equator, Singapore has never recorded a temperature lower than 66 degrees Fahrenheit, and tropical heat hung heavy the night I returned. I turned onto the stone promenade that followed the Singapore River. Glass-fronted tourist boats were moored at the docks, but there was not a sampan in sight. Boat Quay, renovated, ablaze in lights, startled me. Outdoor restaurants with tables under colorful umbrellas stretched along the waterfront. Across the river, floodlights illuminated the old colonial British post office that has been transformed into the Fullerton Hotel and voted the best hotel in Asia in a recent international survey. The shoulder-to-shoulder bars in the quay were packed with hip young Singaporeans and European expatriates, drinking Guinness and Old Speckled Hen on draft and cheering a replay of the Liverpool-Reading soccer game on flat-screen TVs.
“The time between my first and last visits to Singapore spanned 37 years. The changes had been unimaginable. There was the obvious: the stunning skyline and growing prosperity; the absence of pollution and traffic gridlock, thanks to an exorbitant tax on cars and a system that turned major streets into toll ways during peak hours; the landscaping that gave the entire city a garden-like atmosphere and, like everything else in Singapore, was intended to provide something practical—shade, a deterrent to pollution and a reduction in temperatures of a degree or two.
“On my way out of town, speeding along a road whose grassy shoulders are as carefully manicured as the fairways at Augusta, I saw an unusual sight ahead. The gardeners had forgotten to mow a little patch where the grass stood a foot high. Ahhh, I thought: even in Singapore people can get lackadaisical. But wait. As we passed the patch, a neatly lettered sign informed me: "This grass has been purposely left long to permit insect life."”
Singapore: A Land of Surprises?
Some say Singapore boasts a bit of everything, sometimes in the most unexpected of places Rosemary McClure wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Yes, it's a tourist trap. Yes, I had to queue up in a long, steamy line to reach the bar. And yes, I paid $50 for a couple of drinks. But I'm a traditionalist. And skipping a Singapore Sling here would be akin to snubbing scotch in Scotland, Cognac in France or vodka in Russia. So I waited my turn, took a seat in the storied Long Bar at Raffles Hotel and ordered the pretty pink drink that bartender Ngiam Tong Boon concoted 101 years ago. As the tale is told, the Raffles' mixologist created the fruit-juicy cocktail for ladies, mixing gin with pineapple and lime juices, grenadine, Benedictine, cherry brandy and Cointreau. It still looks — and tastes — like spiked fruit juice, and the Long Bar, a clubby-looking dark mahogany space, adds just the right amount of colonial-cool atmosphere to complete the illusion. I was transported to another place and time. Surprisingly, it was well worth the wait and hassle.[Source: Rosemary McClure, Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2016]
“Singapore is like that: always surprising visitors. The wealthy island city-state, off southern Malaysia, has attracted a lot of attention, not all of it good, since gaining independence from Britain in 1963. Its rigid laws and heavy penalties for minor infractions — you can be fined $500 for dropping gum — sometimes make it the butt of international jokes. Despite this, it has thrived on high-tech industry, financial services and the success of its busy port. And tourism has become increasingly important to the economy. The multicultural background of its residents, diverse cuisines and outstanding airport, which is often called one of the best in the world, have made it a prime Southeast Asia tourist destination, drawing more than 15 million annually.
“Now the city has more to brag about. Besides being applauded for its head-turning architecture, Singapore's new National Gallery houses the world's largest public display of modern Southeast Asian art, showcasing a vast collection of 19th and 20th century works. Singapore's reinvention from colonial backwater to high-tech art center didn't come cheaply: It took the government 10 years and $375 million to build what CNN calls "The Louvre of Southeast Asia." When I visited Singapore earlier this year, the new showplace ranked high on my list of must-sees. But like many travelers, I have eclectic interests and was also eager to visit the city's fantastic gardens, Little India and Chinatown. And do some tippling at the legendary Long Bar.”
Geography of Singapore
Located on the southern tip of the Southeast Asia, about 100 kilometers north of the equator, Singapore is a New-York-City- size island and city-nation on the western side of the South China Sea. Ranked as the 192nd largest country in the world, it covers 725 square kilometers (about 280 square miles) and is 40 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide at its widest point. It’s getting bigger all the time as more and more land is reclaimed from the sea. With around 7,800 people per square kilometer, it is the third most densely populated territory or country in the world after Macau and Hong Kong. Singapore is about 3.5 times the size of Washington D.C.
Singapore is located in Southeast Asia between Malaysia and Indonesia at the narrowest point of the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s strategic sea routes connecting the Indian Ocean with the South China Sea. Lying off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore is connected to Malaysia by a causeway, which crosses the mile-wide Straits of Johor between Singapore and and Malaysia. Singapore is also only a few kilometers away from the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Between Singapore and Sumatra is the eastern end of 890-kilometer-long Straits of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. It is no surprise therefore that Singapore has been ranked as the world's busiest port.
An island nation with no land boundaries, Singapore is comprised of one main island and 58 islets. The total coastline in 2005 was 193 kilometers. The land area claimed by the government in 2004 was 699 square kilometers; the water area was 10 square kilometers, for a total national area of 709 square kilometers. Between 1988 and 2005, the coastline increased by 55 kilometers and the total land area increased by some 63 square kilometers as a result of extensive land reclamation and landfill projects. Singapore claims a territorial sea area of three nautical miles, as well as an exclusive fishing zone beyond the territorial sea as defined in treaties and practice.
Singapore is mainly flat and low-lying, with some rounded granite hills, especially in the island’s center. At 166 meters (581 feet) above sea level, the highest point is Bukit Timah Peak. The western and southwestern regions are composed of a series of northwest to southeast tending ridges, which are low but quite steep. To the east is a large region of generally flat alluvial soils where streams have cut steep-sided valleys and gullies. The island is drained by a large number of short streams, some of which flow into the sea through mangrove swamps, lagoons, or broad estuaries.
The island originally was covered with tropical rain forest and fringed with mangrove swamps. Since the founding of the city in 1819, the natural landscape has been altered by human hands and machines. As the island urbanized, hills were leveled, swamps drained and land was reclaimed from the sea, a process that was accelerated in the 1970s and 1980s. By 1988, Singapore's land area was 49 percent built up. By 2005 forest covered only about 4,000 hectares, or 6.6 percent of the land area.
Reclamation projects have increased Singapore’s size by more than 10 percent. So much reclamation has been done that roads that once ran along the coast are now more than a kilometer inland. Most of the urban, residential and industrial zones are around the perimeter of the island, particularly in the south. The gently undulating plateau at the center of the island has been preserved as a nature preserve a water catchment area to ease Singapore’s dependence on Malaysia for drinking water.
The Strait of Malacca is the shortest sea route between India and China. Singapore’s major natural resources are its location and its deep-water harbor. Today, only 1.6 percent of Singapore is good for agriculture (compared to 21 percent in the United States). The city of Singapore occupies about a third of the island. Singapore's small size and large urban population is why it is one of most densely populated places in the world. Most Singaporeans live in government-controlled but individually-owned apartments in multi-story high rise buildings that occupy large areas of the urban landscape. The townships are self-contained and have high-rise apartment blocks, shops, medical and social service buildings, religious buildings, and schools; they are well connected by the Mass Rapid Transport System (MRT), which circles the island.
Three water reservoirs and their reserve catchment area, which preserves a fragment of the original tropical forest, occupy the center of the island. Extensive land reclamation between 1965 and 1987 increased the size of Singapore Island from 586 square kilometers to 636 square kilometers; further reclamation has been done since then. Many of the fifty-odd small islets and reefs have been enlarged or joined to form new larger islands suitable for industrial uses. In 1989 three of Singapore's five oil refineries were on offshore islands, and other small islands were used for military gunnery or as bombing ranges. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the municipal authorities made great efforts to establish parks and gardens as land became available and to plant tens of thousands of ornamental trees and shrubs, thus completing the transformation of the natural landscape.
Principal Rivers: The Singapore River is only 4.1 kilometers in length but historically was an important resource for early settlers and traders. The Singapore River has five tributaries: the Geylang, Kallang, Pelton, Rochor, and Whampoa rivers. Also there are other small streams, some of which flow directly into the sea through mangrove swamps, lagoons, or broad estuaries. Several of the large streams have been damned at their mouths to form freshwater reservoirs. Singapore has 10 major reservoirs, both coastal and inland. Some of the larger streams were dammed at their mouths to form fresh-water reservoirs, and the major stream courses through built-up areas were lined with concrete to promote rapid drainage.
Climate and Weather of Singapore
Only two degrees north of the equator, Singapore has a hot, humid, tropical climate the year round. High temperatures are moderated somewhat by sea breezes and high humidity. There are two monsoon seasons, the northeastern (dry) monsoon from December to March and the southwestern (wet) monsoon from June to September. Even between the monsoon seasons, afternoon and early evening thunderstorms frequently occur.
The weather in Singapore can be so steamy that outdoor air conditioners are used for events like concerts. Never has a temperature below 19 degrees C (66 degrees F) been recorded. When sightseeing try to get out and in early and avoid the mid afternoon heat. The nighttime is a pleasant time to wander around. The average daytime temperature is 31ºC (88ºF), dropping to around 24ºC (75ºF) in the evenings. The relative humidity averages 70 to 80 percent in the afternoon. Vegetation is lush and tropical. Seasons are nonexistent. For its location, however, Singapore is not as hot as might be expected thanks to the sea breezes.
Rain falls throughout the year, but is heaviest during the early northeast monsoon from November through January. The driest month is July in the middle of the southeast monsoon. The intermonsoon months of April-May and October are marked by thunderstorms and violent line squalls locally known as Sumatras. The average annual rainfall is 237 centimeters (about 100 inches), and much of the rain falls in sudden showers. Singapore is generally free from typhoons, which usually strike further north. The greatest natural hazard comes from local flash flooding, the threat of which has increased as buildings and paved roads have replaced natural vegetation, and hazy smog produced by the burning of forests in nearby Sumatra and also further away in Borneo. .
The rainy season is very humid. Most of the rains falls in one- or two-hour long downpours in the afternoon. Sometimes there is a pleasant wind. In the dry season it is still humid and rains occur from time to time. The rainy season in Singapore coincides more or less with the rainy seasons in Borneo, Indonesia and the east coast of Malaysia but it is different from the rainy season on the west coast of Malaysia (from September to November) and from Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia (from June to October). Cyclones and or typhoons are very rare in Singapore.
Best Times to Visit are in the dry season if you don’t like rain and the wet season if you like cooling showers in the afternoon and a green landscape. The main holiday seasons are around Chinese New Year in February, Christmas and New Year, the Islamic holidays, which change every year, the May-Day-Golden Week holiday in May and the summer holiday in July and August.
Clothing in Singapore
Singaporean are tolerant people and almost any clothing style is acceptable as long as it is not outrageously sexually-suggestive. Some Singaporean dress smartly and fashionably. Others dress in jeans. You don’t see many people in shabby clothes though. Wearing shorts and jeans in Singapore is okay, but don't wear clothes with a lot of holes or go without a shirt.
Women in shorts skirts, jeans or tights and men in short pants and informal clothes are common. Keep in mind also that shorts, exposed shoulders and short skirts are may be regarded unacceptable in mosques and some temples. You see the odd punk and a few people are heavily tattooed or have brightly-dyed hair but not that many.
In hot weather, wear loose cotton garments are best. Try to avoid synthetic fabrics; they can be hot and scratchy. White or light-colored garments are better than dark ones. Wear a hat and sunglasses and use sun screen for protection from the sun. Sandals are often more comfortable than shoes and easier to slip on and off when entering temples. It advisable to carry a sweater, sweatshirt or long-sleeve if you can because sometimes the air conditioning can be too cold..
Lightweight trousers, shirt (long-or short-sleeved) and tie are appropriate office wear. Many men keep a jacket and tie on hand only for more formal events. In the office, women wear dresses or pantsuits Singaporean women tend to dress conservatively but stylishly and are not usually seen in bare-shoulder or bare-midriff dresses during the day. Shorts are worn for sports and leisure activities but are considered inappropriate by at least in restaurant, shops and especially offices.
People in Singapore
People from Singapore are called Singaporeans, which simply defines the citizens of Singapore not a particular ethnic group. The term was little used until Singapore became independent in 1965. There are 5.6 million people in Singapore as of 2019, about twice the number there were in 1995. One hundred percent of all Singaporeans live in urban areas and the population is growing at the rate of one percent a year, one of the lowest rates in Asia. The Singaporean government is currently trying to encourage citizens (especially Chinese Singaporeans) to have more children to prevent the island from becoming a nation of retirees and immigrants. The average life expectancy is 82.3 years; about 15 percent of all Singaporeans are under 15: and 11.2 percent are 65 and over. For some time now, most of the population growth has been as a result of immigration rather than births.
Singapore is a multi-cultural stew with people primarily from Malaya, southern Chinese provinces, Indonesia and India. Some 74 percent of Singaporeans are Chinese, 13.4 percent are Malays, 9 percent are Indian (including Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Sri Lankans) and 3.2 percent are a hodge podge of different nationalities. The Chinese have traditionally been from Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan in mainland China while Indian have traditionally been Tamils. There are currently about hundreds of thousands guest workers in Singapore. Most of them are from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lankans and Nepal), or Southeast Asia. Indonesian maids and South Asian construction workers are among the most well-known groups of foreign workers.
The adjective Singaporean refers to the people of Singapore and not a particular ethnic group. Many of the Chinese are descendants of people originally from Fujian Province in southern China. Malays are a predominately Muslim ethnic group that make up a large portion of the populations in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. There are relatively few poor people in Singapore. A massive urban renewal program, begun in the 1960s, replaced virtually all of Singapore's slums with modern housing units. Many foreign workers live in small-unit or dormitory housing and live at their place of employment.
In a multi-ethnic Singapore, each ethnic group stresses its traditions to preserve its individuality and makes some effort to not disrespect the traditions and customs of other ethnic groups. Thaipusam, a Hindu religious observance, that is dying in India is widely observed in Singapore. Chinese New Year, in January or February, is a two-week festival marked by feasting and parties is celebrated by Chinese and non-Chinese alike. Muslims celebrate Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji.
Language in Singapore
Malay, Chinese, English and Tamil (the language of southeastern India) are all official languages. Almost everyone speaks English, which is the business and administrative language. Most of the school curriculum is also in English, which was selected as a national language partly as a way of unifying Singapore's different ethnic groups and to make Singapore competitive in the English-dominated world of business and commerce..
Many Chinese Singaporeans speak southern Chinese dialects such as Hokkein, Teochew and Cantonese at home. Hokkein, the Southern Min dialect of Fujian, has traditionally been the primary dialect of Singapore as well as many overseas Chinese communities in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Baba Malay a fusion of Hokkein and Malay is spoken in Singapore and Malaysia. Mandarin, the most widely spoken language in China, is also spoken by many people in Singapore. Bahasa Melayu (also known as Bahasa Malaysian or Malay) is spoken by many Malays. It similar to the language spoken in Indonesia and is not a tonal language like Chinese or Thai. It is not difficult to pick up a few words.
Mandarin is the most widely known language, spoken by about 35 percent of the population. Malay is spoken by 14 percent and Tamil by 3 percent, which roughly matches up with percentage of the ethnic groups that are associated with these languages. Other Chinese languages include Hokkien (11 percent), Cantonese (6 percent), and Teochew (5 percent). There are various subdialects of the different languages. The government is stressing the learning of Mandarin by all Singaporeans, particularly the Chinese. English is used for administration; about 75 percent of Singapore's citizens speak and understand at least rudimentary English.
Chinese languages, Tamil and Malay are used in all governmental communication with members of the public, imprinted on national currency, taught in government-run or recognized primary and secondary schools. There is a wide variety of radio broadcasts and television shows in these languages. However, English is predominant in all legislative, bureaucratic and judicial matters, tertiary education institutions, and major commercial transactions. It is considered the language of national integration. [Source: N. Prabha Unnithan, World Press Encyclopedia, Gale Group Inc., 2003 ++]
In 1987, under a government mandate, English was made the primary language of the school system. The government has mandated that English be the primary language used at all levels of the school systems, and it aims to provide at least 10 years of education for every child. Pupils also choose one of the "mother tongues": Malay, Tamil, and Chinese. Following the official policy of bilingualism, all students are required to study and take public examinations that include tests in English and their respective mother tongues. Although the Chinese speak many dialects, and Indians different languages, it is assumed that the "mother tongues" they will be learning in school are Mandarin Chinese and Tamil, respectively. This policy which effectively ensures that all Singaporeans (regardless of ethnic background) will learn English, along with the nation's increasing participation in the international economy, accounts for the continued predominance of English on the island. ++
Religion in Singapore
Religion in Singapore: Buddhists, 29 percent; Christians, 19 percent; Muslims, 16 percent; and Taoists, 13 percent; Hindus, 4 percent. Many Singaporean Chinese like Chinese elsewhere combine traditional Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian beliefs. Spiritual beliefs and superstitions still abound in Singapore. The Chinese worship both Buddhist and Taoist deities as well as their ancestors spirits in hope of pacifying everyone and thus ensuring good fortune. Ancient rites and customs thrive in numerous 350 temples. There are significant numbers of Sikhs, Parsis (Zoroastrians), Jews and Jains.
Singapore is a secular state with considerable religious tolerance. Christians are almost equally divided between Catholics and Protestants. Two holidays of each of the major groups in Singapore are set aside for national observance. The Chinese adhere in varying degrees to Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. According to a 2000 census, these faiths, as well as traditional ancestor worship, were practiced by about 51 percent of the population. Malays and persons with origins in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi portions of the Indian subcontinent are almost exclusively Muslim.. Most of the Indian minority (4 percent) are Hindus.
There is complete separation of state and religion in Singapore and freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed. However, all religious groups must be registered under the Societies Act, and the government has maintained a ban on the registration of Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unification Church (Moonies). The government also has a semiofficial relationship with the Islamic Religious Council. One holiday from each of the nation's major religions (Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism) is recognized as a national holiday. [Source: Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations, Thomson Gale, 2007]
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: Singapore tourism websites, Singapore government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Updated in August 2020