The Republic of Singapore is a city-state located on islands in Southeast Asia, separated from the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula by the narrow Strait of Johor. It borders on the Johor Sultanate, which is part of Malaysia, and on the Riau Islands, which is part of Indonesia.
The area of Singapore is 710.2 sq. km., the area is gradually increasing due to the program of land reclamation, which has been operating since the 60s. The territory includes the main island of Singapore and 58 small islands along its coast. The largest of them are Ubin, Tekong-Besar, Brani, Sentosa, Semakau and Sudong. The highest point is Bukit Timah Hill (163.3 m).
Until the 14th century, Singapore was the trading center of the Sri Vijaya empire. Later it passed into the possession of the kingdom of Majapahit, in the 15th century it became part of the Malacca Sultanate.
Modern Singapore was founded in 1819 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. In 1824, the Sultan of Johor donated it to the British East India Company. During the Second World War, Singapore was occupied by Japan, on September 6, 1945, the British army liberated the city.
On June 3, 1959, Singapore became self-governing within the British Commonwealth.
On September 16, 1963, Singapore joined the Federation of Malaya, but on August 9, 1965, it declared full independence. Singapore is a member of the UN, GATT, IMF, WHO.
Singapore is a parliamentary republic. Executive power is vested in the Cabinet of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister, the President has a more representative role, but in some cases he can veto critical decisions.
Singapore has been politically dominated by the People’s Action Party (PAP) since 1965. Critics call Singapore a de facto one-party country, and accuse the PAP of suppressing opposition. However, opposition parties such as the Workers’ Party and the Singapore Democratic Alliance are represented in Parliament. Reporters Without Borders ranks Singapore 140th in its press freedom index out of 167 countries.
Despite this, the government of Singapore has created an extremely efficient and transparent market economic system in the country. In addition, the government has a reputation for being honest and non-corrupt, various researchers consistently rank Singapore in the top ten least corrupt countries in the world and the highest in Asia for lack of corruption (see Transparency International).
Singapore is a member of such international organizations as the Commonwealth of Nations, the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Languages of Singapore
The national language is Malay for historical reasons and the national anthem Majulah Singapura is sung in Malay. The official languages are English, Putonghua, Malay and Tamil. Since independence, the administration has been actively using English. A large-scale “Speak Mandarin” campaign was carried out to unify all dialects of Chinese. Many advertisements, newspapers and publications are printed only in English and Chinese.
Historically, Chinese immigrants are divided into several groups and use several dialects so different that it is almost impossible to understand each other: these are Hokkien or Hok-Kien (Fujian or Southern Min), Yue or Cantonese (Yueyu), Hokchu (Fuzhou), Chaoshan (Eng. Teochew), Hakka and Hainanese.
Introduced through schools, the English language also acquired a street form – the so-called “Singlish” (English Singlish), to which you can still add a mixed Malay-English language “Manglish” (Manglish). However, Singaporean literature and official institutions use standard English.
Religion in Singapore:
About a third of the population of people professes Buddhism, more than 20% – Taoism (Confucianism), Malays and some other ethnic groups – Muslims, there are Hindus, 13% of Christians, about 15% – atheists.
Singapore is located almost on the equator, so temperature fluctuations in climate are minimal. The average temperature in January is 1° below the average temperature in June (respectively, the coldest and hottest months). The climate is equatorial. There is always a lot of precipitation, from 170 to 250 mm per month. The lowest temperature in the city was +19.4°C, the highest was +36.0°C. Scorching heat is relatively rare, but there are no cold snaps either.
Currency of Singapore:
International name: SGD
The Singapore dollar is equal to 100 cents. There are banknotes in circulation in denominations of 1, 2, 4, 10, 20, 50, 1000 and 10,000 Singapore dollars. Coins 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and 1 dollar. Also, free circulation in the country has the Brunei dollar, equivalent to the Singaporean.
Foreign currency and traveler’s checks can be exchanged at most banks and specialized exchange offices. The course is stable and practically the same everywhere. To avoid additional costs due to fluctuations in the exchange rate, it is recommended to take traveler’s checks in pounds sterling with you.
Credit cards are the most widely used and are the main medium means of payment. Singapore even plans to switch in the near future when paying for goods and services only to non-cash means of payment. All establishments accept American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa, as well as local bank cards. ATMs can be found in all establishments, even in tiny cafes or private shops.