Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. At 710.2 km2 (274.2 sq mi), Singapore is a microstate and the smallest nation in Southeast Asia. It is substantially larger than Monaco and Vatican City, the only other surviving sovereign city-states.
Before European settlement, the island now known as Singapore was the site of a Malay fishing village at the mouth of the Singapore River. Several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people also lived along the nearby coast, rivers and on smaller islands. In 1819, the British East India Company, led by Sir Stamford Raffles, established a trading post on the island, which was used as a port along the spice route. Singapore became one of the most important commercial and military centres of the British Empire, and the hub of British power in Southeast Asia.
During the Second World War, the British colony was occupied by the Japanese after the Battle of Singapore, which Winston Churchill called "Britain's greatest defeat". Singapore reverted to British rule in 1945, immediately after the war. Eighteen years later, in 1963, the city, having achieved independence from Britain, merged with Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak to form Malaysia. However, Singapore's merger proved unsuccessful, and, less than two years later, it seceded from the federation and became an independent republic within the Commonwealth of Nations on 9 August 1965. Singapore was admitted to the United Nations on 21 September of that year.
Since independence, Singapore's standard of living has risen dramatically. Foreign direct investment and a state-led drive to industrialization based on plans drawn up by the Dutch economist Albert Winsemius have created a modern economy focused on industry, education and urban planning. Singapore is the 5th wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita. As of January 2009, Singapore's official reserves stand at US$170.3 billion.
In 2009, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Singapore the tenth most expensive city in the world in which to live—the third in Asia, after Tokyo and Osaka. The 2009 Cost of Living survey, by consultancy firm Mercer, has ranked Singapore similarly as the tenth most expensive city for expatriates to live in.
The population of Singapore including non-residents is approximately 4.99 million. Singapore is highly cosmopolitan and diverse with Chinese people forming an ethnic majority with large populations of Malay, Indian and other people. English, Malay, Tamil, and Chinese are the official languages.
Singapore is a parliamentary republic, and the Constitution of Singapore establishes representative democracy as the nation's political system. The People's Action Party (PAP) dominates the political process and has won control of Parliament in every election since self-government in 1959.
Downgrading it two notches as the place got so crowded these days that it's no longer a nice city to hang around, not to mention the prices of most things are at least 20% higher than in Hong Kong. In fact, some essentials like shampoos and toothpastes are almost double the price of those in Hong Kong. This is NOT "progress"!!!
It's a love-hate relationship for me, this island of 45 year old. For one thing, it boosted a GDP of some 15% in 2010 and its currency is at the strongest against the HK$ (& US$). For another, it's a place which I had called home for majority of my life. How this country will advance in a world of uncertainty is beyond anyone's guess. It has done better than any Asian country (other than China) and it's expected to still perform. Nonetheless, there's always a BUT... I don't think I can put it into … more
Last night I realized that a decade ago, nearly to the day, I changed my life drastically. In January 2000 I decided to forge ahead with the idea of writing a book about botanical gardens even though I didn't have a contract in hand. This would mean, I knew, trying to finance the necessary international travel out of travel writing and other bits and pieces, and traveling by myself to some far off countries. (Lee hates airplanes and it took much persuading to get him to join me in France eventually. … more
Singapore is an island nation state, has a population of 4.8 m. Being a relatively young nation (Singapore celebrated its 44 years of independence last August) has translated it into modern living & a very cosmopolitan country under systematic planning. What is unique about Singapore is its integration of 3 different major races into its predominantly Chinese society. Education Singapore is a country I'm extremely familiar … more