Singapore Half-Day City Tour.
After the company's collapse in , the islands were ceded to the British Raj as a crown colony. It gained independence from the UK in by federating with other former British territories to form Malaysia , but separated two years later over ideological differences , becoming a sovereign nation in After early years of turbulence and despite lacking natural resources and a hinterland , the nation developed rapidly as an Asian Tiger economy, based on external trade and its workforce.
Singapore is a global hub for education ,  entertainment ,  finance , healthcare ,  human capital ,  innovation ,  logistics ,  manufacturing ,  technology ,  tourism ,  trade , and transport. Singapore is the only country in Asia with an AAA sovereign rating from all major rating agencies, and one of 11 worldwide.
It is placed highly in key social indicators: The Singaporean passport is joint first with Japan for visa-free travel granted by the most countries to its citizens. The city-state is home to 5. There are four official languages: English common and first language , Malay , Mandarin Chinese and Tamil ; almost all Singaporeans are bilingual. Its cultural diversity is reflected in its extensive ethnic cuisine and major festivals.
Singapore is a conservative society and Pew Research finds that Singapore has the highest religious diversity of any country. Multiracialism has been enshrined in its constitution since independence, and continues to shape national policies in education, housing, politics, among others. Singapore is a unitary multiparty parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. The People's Action Party has won every election since self-government began in However, it is unlikely that lions ever lived on the island; Sang Nila Utama , the Srivijayan prince said to have founded and named the island Singapura , perhaps saw a Malayan tiger.
There are however other suggestions for the origin of the name and scholars do not believe that the origin of the name is firmly established. Singapore is also referred to as the Garden City for its tree-lined streets and greening efforts since independence,   and the Little Red Dot for how the island-nation is depicted on many maps of the world and Asia, as a red dot.
This was itself a transliteration from the Malay name " Pulau Ujong " , or "island at the end" of the Malay Peninsula. The Nagarakretagama , a Javanese epic poem written in , referred to a settlement on the island called Tumasik possibly meaning "Sea Town". Raffles arrived in Singapore on 28 January and soon recognised the island as a natural choice for the new port. The island was then nominally ruled by the Sultan of Johor , who was controlled by the Dutch and the Bugis. However, the Sultanate was weakened by factional division and Tengku Abdu'r Rahman and his officials were loyal to Tengku Rahman's elder brother Tengku Long who was living in exile in Riau.
In , the entire island as well as the Temenggong became a British possession after a further treaty with the Sultan. Singapore was not much affected by First World War —18 , as the conflict did not spread to Southeast Asia. The only significant event during the war was a mutiny by the Muslim sepoys from British India who were garrisoned in Singapore, which occurred in After hearing rumours that they were to be sent off to fight the Ottoman Empire , which was a Muslim state, the soldiers rebelled.
They killed their officers and several British civilians before the mutiny was suppressed by non-Muslim troops arriving from Johore and Burma.
Originally announced in , the construction of the base proceeded slowly until the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in Winston Churchill touted it as the " Gibraltar of the East" and military discussions often referred to the base as simply " East of Suez ". Unfortunately, it was a base without a fleet. The British Home Fleet was stationed in Europe, and the British could not afford to build a second fleet to protect its interests in Asia.
The plan was for the Home Fleet to sail quickly to Singapore in the event of an emergency. When the British force of 60, troops surrendered on 15 February , British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the defeat "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history.
Japanese newspapers triumphantly declared the victory as deciding the general situation of the war. British forces had planned to liberate Singapore in ; however, the war ended before these operations could be carried out. It was subsequently re-occupied by British, Indian and Australian forces following the Japanese surrender in September.
He was convicted and hanged in the Philippines on 23 February After the Japanese surrender to the Allies on 15 August , Singapore fell into a brief state of violence and disorder; looting and revenge-killing were widespread. Much of the infrastructure had been destroyed during the war, including harbor facilities at the Port of Singapore.
There was also a shortage of food leading to malnutrition, disease, and rampant crime and violence. High food prices, unemployment, and workers' discontent culminated into a series of strikes in causing massive stoppages in public transport and other services. By late , the economy began to recover, facilitated by a growing demand for tin and rubber around the world, but it would take several more years before the economy returned to pre-war levels.
The failure of Britain to successfully defend Singapore had destroyed its credibility as infallible ruler in the eyes of Singaporeans. The decades after the war saw a political awakening amongst the local populace and the rise of anti-colonial and nationalist sentiments, epitomized by the slogan Merdeka , or "independence" in the Malay language. The British, on their part, were prepared to gradually increase self-governance for Singapore and Malaya. In July , separate Executive and Legislative Councils were established and the election of six members of the Legislative Council was scheduled in the following year.
During the s, Chinese communists with strong ties to the trade unions and Chinese schools waged a guerrilla war against the government, leading to the Malayan Emergency. He led a delegation to London, but Britain rejected his demand for complete self-rule. He resigned and was replaced by Lim Yew Hock in , whose policies convinced Britain to grant Singapore full internal self-government for all matters except defence and foreign affairs.
During the May elections , the People's Action Party won a landslide victory. Singapore became an internally self-governing state within the Commonwealth, with Lee Kuan Yew as its first Prime Minister. Singapore was not yet fully independent, as the British still controlled external affairs such as the military and foreign relations.
However, Singapore was now a recognised state. Despite their successes in governing Singapore, the PAP leaders believed that Singapore's future lay with Malaya due to strong ties between the two nations. It was thought that the merger would benefit the economy by creating a common market which will support new industries, thus solving the ongoing unemployment woes in Singapore.
However, a sizeable pro-communist wing of the PAP were strongly opposed to the merger, fearing a loss of influence. UMNO, who were initially sceptical of the idea of a merger as they distrust the PAP government and were concerned that the large Chinese population in Singapore would alter the racial balance on which their political power base depended, changed their minds about the merger after being afraid of being taken over by pro-communists. The Merger Referendum provided options for a merger with Malaysia, but no option for avoiding the merger.
Given Singapore's limited size and lack of natural resources, it was felt integrating with Malaya would provide a route to stronger economic development. The merger would also give the PAP legitimacy, and remove the threat of communist government over Singapore. On 10 March , a bomb planted by Indonesian saboteurs on a mezzanine floor of MacDonald House exploded, killing three people and injuring 33 others.
It was the deadliest of at least 42 bomb incidents which occurred during the confrontation. There were many heated ideological conflicts between the two governments , even on the economic front. Despite an earlier agreement to establish a common market, Singapore continued to face restrictions when trading with the rest of Malaysia. In retaliation, Singapore did not extend to Sabah and Sarawak the full extent of the loans agreed to for economic development of the two eastern states.
The situation escalated to such an intensity that talks soon broke down and abusive speeches and writing became rife on both sides. Because of this, on 7 August , the then Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman , seeing no alternative to avoid further bloodshed, advised the Parliament of Malaysia that it should vote to expel Singapore from Malaysia. This gave Singapore independence, unusually against its own will. Singapore gained independence as the Republic of Singapore remaining within the Commonwealth of Nations on 9 August with Lee Kuan Yew as the prime minister and Yusof bin Ishak as the president.
Race riots broke out once more in Lee Kuan Yew's emphasis on rapid economic growth, support for business entrepreneurship, and limitations on internal democracy shaped Singapore's policies for the next half-century. During the s, Singapore began to upgrade to higher-technological industries, such as the wafer fabrication sector, in order to compete with its neighbours which now had cheaper labour.
Singapore Changi Airport was opened in and Singapore Airlines was formed. Singapore emerged as an important transportation hub and a major tourist destination.
The PAP rule is termed authoritarian by some activists and opposition politicians who see the strict regulation of political and media activities by the government as an infringement on political rights.
Non-Constituency Members of Parliament were introduced in to allow up to three losing candidates from opposition parties to be appointed as MPs. Group Representation Constituencies GRCs was introduced in to create multi-seat electoral divisions, intended to ensure minority representation in parliament. Subsequently, the PAP maintained its dominance in Parliament at the September general elections , receiving On 12 June , Singapore hosted a historic summit between U.
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un , the first-ever meeting between the sitting leaders of the two nations. The summit took place at the Capella Resort on the island of Sentosa. Singapore is a parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government representing constituencies. The country's constitution establishes a representative democracy as the political system. The Parliament serves as the legislative branch of the government.
Elected MPs are voted into the Parliament on a " first-past-the-post " plurality basis and represent either single-member or group representation constituencies. There is no independent electoral authority and the government has strong influence on the media. Freedom House ranks Singapore as "partly free" in its Freedom in the World report,  and The Economist ranks Singapore as a "flawed democracy", the second best rank of four, in its " Democracy Index ".
The legal system of Singapore is based on English common law , but with substantial local differences. Trial by jury was abolished in so that judicial decisions would rest entirely in the hands of appointed judges. Amnesty International has said that some legal provisions of the Singapore system conflict with the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty". Singapore has been consistently rated among the least corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International.
In , the World Justice Project 's Rule of Law Index ranked Singapore among the top countries surveyed with regard to "order and security", "absence of corruption", and "effective criminal justice". However, the country received a much lower ranking for " freedom of speech " and " freedom of assembly ". In , constitutional amendments provide for 'reserved presidential elections' for a community in Singapore if no one from that community has been President for any of the five most recent terms of office of the President.
The communities are the Chinese community, the Malay community, and the Indian or other minority communities. Candidates are required to satisfy the usual qualification criteria. In , Halimah Yacob was named the first female president of Singapore in the first reserved election for the Malay community.
She won on nomination day since all other candidates were declared ineligible for the election. Singapore's foreign policy is aimed at maintaining security in Southeast Asia and surrounding territories.
An underlying principle is political and economic stability in the region. This was agreed to in for implementation by In general, bilateral relations with other ASEAN members are strong; however, disagreements have arisen,  and relations with neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia have sometimes been strained. The first diplomatic contact with China was made in the s, with full diplomatic relations established in the s. Since then the two countries have been major players in strengthening the ASEAN—China relationship, and has maintained a long-standing and greatly prioritized close relationship partly due to China's growing influence and essentiality in the Asia-Pacific region, specifying that "its common interest with China is far greater than any differences".
Furthermore, Singapore has positioned itself as a strong supporter for China's constructive engagement and peaceful development in the region. In addition, China has been Singapore's largest trading partner since , after surpassing Malaysia. Singapore has also pushed regional counter-terrorism initiatives, with a strong resolve to deal with terrorists inside its borders. To this end the country has step up cooperation with ASEAN members and China to strengthen regional security and fight terrorism, as well as participating in the organisation's first joint maritime exercise with the latter.
The Singaporean military is arguably the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia. It is seen as the guarantor of the country's independence. After its independence, Singapore had two infantry regiments commanded by British officers. This force was considered too small to provide effective security for the new country, so development of its military forces became a priority. The last British soldier left Singapore in March New Zealand troops were the last to leave, in A great deal of initial support came from Israel ,  a country that is not recognised by the neighbouring Muslim-majority nations of Malaysia, Indonesia, or Brunei.
Military courses were conducted according to the IDF's format, and Singapore adopted a system of conscription and reserve service based on the Israeli model. The SAF is being developed to respond to a wide range of issues, in both conventional and unconventional warfare. The Defence Science and Technology Agency is responsible for procuring resources for the military. The small size of the population has also affected the way the SAF has been designed, with a small active force but a large number of reserves.
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. Before induction into a specific branch of the armed forces, recruits undergo at least 9 weeks of basic military training.
Because of the scarcity of open land on the main island, training involving activities such as live firing and amphibious warfare 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 have been performed in Taiwan. In general, military exercises are held with foreign forces once or twice per week. The SAF has sent forces to assist in operations outside the country, in areas such as Iraq  and Afghanistan ,  in both military and civilian roles.
In the region, it has helped stabilise East Timor and has provided aid to Aceh in Indonesia following the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Singapore consists of 63 islands , including the main island, Pulau Ujong.
The highest natural point is Bukit Timah Hill at Ongoing land reclamation projects have increased Singapore's land area from Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate Köppen: Af with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. While temperature does not vary greatly throughout the year, there is a wetter monsoon season from November to January. From July to October, there is often haze caused by bush fires in neighbouring Indonesia, usually from the island of Sumatra.
This has caused the sun to rise and set particularly late during January and February, where the sun rises at 7. During July, the sun sets at around 7. The earliest the sun sets and rises is November, where the sun rises at 6. Singapore has a highly developed market economy , based historically on extended entrepôt trade.
Between and , growth rates averaged around 6 per cent per annum, transforming the living standards of the population. The Singaporean economy is known as one of the freest,  most innovative,  most competitive,  most dynamic  and most business-friendly.
For several years, Singapore has been one of the few  countries with an AAA credit rating from the "big three" , and the only Asian country to achieve this rating. There are also approximately 1, companies from China and a similar number from India.
Roughly 44 percent of the Singaporean workforce is made up of non-Singaporeans. Singapore is the second-largest foreign investor in India. This is different from most central banks , which use interest rates to manage policy. In recent years, the country has been identified as an increasingly popular tax haven for the wealthy due to the low tax rate on personal income and tax exemptions on foreign-based income and capital gains.
Australian millionaire retailer Brett Blundy and multi-billionaire Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin are two examples of wealthy individuals who have settled in Singapore Blundy in and Saverin in 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 increase the number of millionaires, especially as property in Singapore is among the world's most expensive. It also has one of the highest income inequalities among developed countries. Singapore traditionally has one of the lowest unemployment rates among developed countries.
The government provides numerous assistance programmes to the homeless and needy through the Ministry of Social and Family Development , so acute poverty is rare. Some of the programmes include providing between SGD and SGD per month to needy households, providing free medical care at government hospitals, and paying for children's school fees. Globally, Singapore is a leader in several economic sectors, including being 3rd-largest foreign exchange centre, 3rd-leading financial centre ,   2nd-largest casino gambling market,  3rd-largest oil-refining and trading centre, world's largest oil-rig producer and major hub for ship repair services,    world's top logistics hub.
The economy is diversified, with its top contributors—financial services, manufacturing, oil-refining. The nation's best known global brands include Singapore Airlines , Changi Airport and Port of Singapore , all three are amongst the most-awarded in their respective industry sectors. Singapore Airlines is ranked as Asia's most-admired company, and world's 19th most-admired in , by Fortune 's annual "50 most admired companies in the world" industry surveys.
The strategic international air hub has more than "World's Best Airport" awards as of [update] , and is known as the most-awarded airport in the world. Tourism forms a large part of the economy, with over 17 million tourists visiting the city-state in Singapore is an education hub, with more than 80, international students in Information and communications technologies ICT is one of the pillars of Singapore's economic success.
However, Singapore's mass communications networks, including television and phone networks, have long been operated by the government. When Singapore first came online, Singaporeans could use Teleview to communicate with one another, but not with those outside of their sovereign city-state.
Publications such as The Wall Street Journal were censored. The 'Intelligent Island' is a term used to describe Singapore in the s, in reference to the island nation's early adaptive relationship with the internet. It is the most comprehensive survey of the pervasiveness and network-readiness of a country, in terms of market, political and regulatory infrastructure for connectivity.
Singapore has also topped Waseda University 's International e-Government rankings from to , and Equinix participants and also its smaller brother Singapore Internet Exchange 70 participants are Internet exchange points where Internet service providers and Content delivery networks exchange Internet traffic between their networks autonomous systems in various locations in Singapore. As Singapore is a small island with a high population density, the number of private cars on the road is restricted 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 Certificate of Entitlement COE , which allows the car to run on the road for a decade. The cost of the Singaporean certificate of entitlement alone would buy a Porsche Boxster in the United States.
Car prices are generally significantly higher in Singapore than in other English-speaking countries. There are six taxi companies , who together put out over 28, taxis on the road. Singapore is a major international transport hub in Asia, serving some of the busiest sea and air trade routes. Singapore Changi Airport hosts a network of over airlines connecting Singapore to some cities in about 70 countries and territories worldwide.
The Port of Singapore , managed by port operators PSA International and Jurong Port , was the world's second-busiest port in in terms of shipping tonnage handled, at 1. In addition, the port is the world's busiest for transshipment traffic and the world's biggest ship refuelling centre.
Access to water is universal, affordable, efficient and of high quality. Integrated water management approaches such as the reuse of reclaimed water , the establishment of protected areas in urban rainwater catchments and the use of estuaries as freshwater reservoirs have been introduced along with seawater desalination to reduce the country's dependence on water imported from neighbouring Malaysia.
Singapore's approach does not rely only on physical infrastructure, but it also emphasises proper legislation and enforcement, water pricing, public education as well as research and development. The same census also reports that about From onward, people may register using a multi-racial classification, in which they may choose one primary race and one secondary race, but no more than two.
The median age of Singaporean residents was The large number of immigrants has kept Singapore's population from declining. The next-most practised religion is Christianity , followed by Islam , Taoism , and Hinduism.
Other faiths remained largely stable in their share of the population. There are monasteries and Dharma centres from all three major traditions of Buddhism in Singapore: Theravada , Mahayana , and Vajrayana. Most Buddhists in Singapore are Chinese and are of the Mahayana tradition,  with missionaries having come into the country from Taiwan and China for several decades.
However, Thailand's Theravada Buddhism has seen growing popularity among the populace not only the Chinese during the past decade. The religion of Soka Gakkai International , a Japanese Buddhist organisation, is practised by many people in Singapore, but mostly by those of Chinese descent. Tibetan Buddhism has also made slow inroads into the country in recent years.
Sultan Mosque , a historic mosque in Kampong Glam. Saint Andrew's Cathedral in the Civic District has existed since Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil. The Constitution of Singapore and all laws are written in English,  and interpreters are required if one wishes to address the Singaporean Courts in a language other than English. Twenty percent of Singaporeans cannot read or write in English.
Singaporeans are mostly bilingual , with English as their common language and usually the mother-tongue as a second language taught in schools, in order to preserve each individual's ethnic identity and values.
Singlish is discouraged by the government. English is the language spoken by most Singaporeans at home, Malay was chosen as a national language by the Singaporean government after independence from Britain in the s to avoid friction with Singapore's Malay-speaking neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia.
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.
Education takes place in three stages: 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, mathematics , and science.
National examinations are standardised across all schools, with a test taken after each stage. After the first six years of education, students take the Primary School Leaving Examination PSLE ,  which determines their placement at secondary school. Post-secondary education institutions include 5 polytechnics, institutes of technical education ITEs , 6 public universities  of which the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University are among the top 20 universities in the world.
Singapore students excelled in most of the world education benchmarks in maths, science and reading. In , both its primary and secondary students rank first in OECD's global school performance rankings across 76 countries—described as the most comprehensive map of education standards.
Singapore has a generally efficient healthcare system, even though their health expenditures are relatively low for developed countries. Almost the whole population has access to improved water and sanitation facilities. There are fewer than 10 annual deaths from HIV per , people. There is a high level of immunisation. The government's healthcare system is based upon the "3M" framework. This has three components: A subsidy scheme exists for those on low income. It accounts for approximately 3.
Despite its small size, Singapore has a diversity of languages, religions, and cultures. From , it served as a trading port for British ships on their way to India. Being a major trading hub and its close proximity to its neighbour Malaysia, Singapore was prone to many foreign influences, both from Britain and from other Asian countries.
Chinese and Indian workers moved to Singapore to work at the harbour. The country remained a British colony until Read more Read less. See all 50, traveler photos. Travel guides for Singapore.
See all travel guides. Travelers are talking about these hotels. The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore. Four Seasons Hotel Singapore. The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.
Powered by Weather Underground. Don't stop at finding out what you can do when you visit. Let our Passion Ambassadors show you what you can be when you're here. To make your trip to Singapore as enjoyable as possible, here is some general information to take note of before you leave.
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