admin August 11th, 2007
Introduction to Singapore
The modern nation of the Republic of Singapore, the world’s one of the busiest port, was founded as a British trading post on the Strait of Malacca in 1819. Singapore’s location on the major sea route between India and China, its excellent harbor, and the free trade status conferred on it by its visionary founder, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, made the port an overnight success. By 1990 the multiethnic population attracted to the island had grown from a few thousand to 2.6 million Singaporeans, frequently referred to by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew as his nation’s greatest resource. If Raffles had set the tone for the island’s early success, Lee had safeguarded the founder’s vision through the first quarter-century of Singapore’s existence as an independent nation, providing the leadership that turned it into a global city that offered trading and financial services to the region and to the world.
Modern Singapore’s three main ethnic groups–Chinese, Malays, and Indians–live next door to each other and share the same housing development facilities, shops, and transportation.
Despite efforts to maintain an ethnic balance in housing, however, the stated goal of the nation’s leaders is not that Singapore become a mini-melting pot, but, rather, a multiethnic society. Of the country’s 2.6 million inhabitants, about 76 percent are Chinese, 15 percent Malay, 6.5 percent Indian, and 2.5 percent other. There are, however, mixtures within this mixture.
Although Singaporeans are expected to be modern in their outlook, they also are encouraged to retain a core of traditional Asian values and culture. In a society in which all share a common education system, public housing, recreation facilities, and military training, the government considers it important to highlight the uniqueness of the three official ethnic groups.
Singapore is multi-religious as well as multiethnic. Major religious preferences reported in 1988 were Buddhism (28 percent), Christian (19 percent), no religion (17 percent), Islam (16 percent), Daoist (13 percent), and Hindu (5 percent).
In terms of public health, Singapore also closely resembles developed countries.
One of the fastest growing sectors of the economy is Singapore’s international banking and financial services sector. Singapore, which in 1990 hosted more than 650 multinational companies and several thousand international financial institutions and trading firms, has become a global financial, trading, and industrial center.
Some of the Singapore highlights…
The Merlion is one of the most well-known icons of Singapore. Previously the landmark statue was at the Merlion Park but in 2002 it was relocated in front of Fullerton Hotel. The Merlion statue, measuring 8.6 metres high and weighing 70 tonnes, was built from cement fondue by the late Singapore craftsman, Mr. Lim Nang Seng. The body was made of cement fondue, the skin from porcelain plates and eyes from small red teacups. Lion head of Merlion represents the lion spotted by Prince Sang Nila Utama when he re-discovered Singapura in 11 AD, as recorded in the “Malay Annals”. The fish tail of the Merlion symbolises the ancient city of Temasek (meaning “sea” in Javanese) by which Singapore was known before the Prince named it “Singapura” (meaning “lion” (singa) “city” (pura) in Sanskrit), and represents Singapore’s humble beginnings as a fishing village.
The theatres on the Bay is one of the world’s busiest arts centres, the architectural icon with its distinctive twin shells sited by Marina Bay at the mouth of the Singapore River comprises two large halls: the 2,000-seat theatre and the 1,600-seat Concert Hall, complimented by two smaller studios, an outdoor theatre as well as a mall. The two domes housing the Theatre and Concert Hall were designed in glass, to convey a sense of openness. To keep the centre cool in the tropics, over 7,000 pieces of aluminium sunshades together with double-glazed laminated glass were installed on a steel truss frame to form the cladding that makes the centre such a striking architectural icon against Singapore’s city skyline. The spiky cladding has since earned the centre the popular nickname of a beloved local fruit, the Durian.
Sentosa, a slice of paradise, offers a kaleidoscope of attractions and activities with breathtaking beauty and exciting themed attractions. The island stretching 3.2km long, is a popular spot which engages visitors in various sports activities or simply chilling out at beachfront bars/pubs. Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach, the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia are some of the memorable corners.
Located at Marina Bay, it offers breathtaking, 360° panoramic views of Singapore and beyond (opening in early 2008). A central atrium opens out to a lush tropical rainforest, while an open-air theatre hosts live performances. Adding to the buzz of sights, sounds and activities will be a 210-metre long waterfront dining promenade. Standing at a stunning 165 metres, you will be able to experience remarkable scenes of the Singapore skyline: the magnificent Marina Bay, towering skyscrapers, tropical greenery, and the bright lights and non-stop action against the beautiful skies.
Singapore Discovery Centre
Opened in 1996, the Singapore Discovery Centre’s main objective has been to promote the Singapore Story through entertainment and interactive activities. The redeveloped Centre embarks on a new journey as a world-class edutainment attraction for Singaporeans and overseas visitors alike.
The new Singapore Discovery Centre with 5 main galleries around 8 different themes spans a total floor area of 4,500 square metres. Guests will be able to dip themselves in Singapore’s past, present and future, travelling through time to key moments in the nationhood and experiencing them “as they happen”.
Night Safari is a wild adventure not to be missed. At the Night Safari, you can look a rhinoceros in the eye, hear the howls of a pack of striped hyenas or watch giraffes glide serenely across the plain in the still of the night. This premier night zoo houses over 900 animals of 135 exotic species in eight zones re-created to simulate geographic zones like the Southeast Asian rainforest, African savanna, Nepalese river valley, South American pampas and Burmese jungle.
(Collected from various websites)