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Singapore Travel Guide

Wolfgang Holzem

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Singapore is a city state which was founded on the 29th of January 1819. Singapore is the colloquially used term for what is officially known as the Republic of Singapore. Singapore is a dynamic island city state which boasts a historical, cultural and economic legacy. The official languages of Singapore are English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.

The island city state across an area of 710.2 Km2 and geographically it is located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula.

Singapore Introduction

The island gives to its tourists a panoramic view of paradise, the tourists find the atmosphere calming yet exotic making it a potent combination of all one would want in a place to reside in. They authoritative and democratic governments make sure that tourists have easy access to their country. This does not mean that they lack security; as the country is well equipped to deal under any kind of circumstances. The government simply makes sure that despite the security checks, tourists do not face a problem as they are warmly welcomed to the island.

The island state has been fair and transparent in its state of affairs regarding it’s market economy. The government sector deals closely with the private sector. The government and the private sector work to enhance the economy in a candid way to work not against but with each other in peace. The impact of these two sectors, the public and the private make Singapore a commercial hub and a place of social harmony. Media is extremely active about the happenings in Singapore and around the world; the media keeps the citizens well informed and makes sure that the citizens get their right to information about the day to day happenings.

Climate in Singapore

The country has a stable climate. It is characterized by uniform temperature and pressure and abundant rainfall. Singapore has been typified as a tropical rainforest. It does not have well distributed seasons, unlike certain countries there is no distinction between seasonal changes like summer, spring, autumn or winter. Singapore has a constant climate and this kind of climate attracts tourists throughout the year. Temperature varies from 22C to 34C. The humidity on an average is 85%-90% during the mornings and 55%-60% by noon. If it rains in abundance the relative humidity can even reach 100%. Mid months of the year, June and July make up for the hottest months and November and December can be considered to be the monsoon season characterized by wet lands and high humidity. The lowest ever recorded temperature is 19.4C and the highest recorded temperature has been 35.8C. The strategic geographical placement of Singapore, that is, close to the equator, makes the length of the equal throughout the year. Climate plays a critical role for tourists when they consider their trips to a country and Singapore seems to offer them the best.

Some people may not prefer the wet and marsh months of November and December but the 10 months offer great climatic conditions for tourists. The botanic gardens are very well maintained and offer beautiful siteseeing spots for tourists as well as local Singaporean’s. With such suitable climatic conditions it is easy to justify why every person wishes to visit Singapore at least once in a lifetime. An island which is a home away from home suits the needs of one and all. The hospitality and the amiability of the citizens of Singapore make the visit to Singapore truly rewarding. Globalization has hit the world and more and more countries are becoming industrialized they are constantly abrogating the cultural and the indigenous essence of their country.

Geography

The island city state of Singapore spans across an area of 710.2 Km2 and geographically it is located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. To trace Singapore on the world map you can easily see this nation located at 137 Km north of the equator, it lies at the south of the state of Johore, in Malaysia. Located at the north of the Riau Islands in Indonesia lay this city state. S’pore is the smallest nation in the south east region of Asia. It is by far the largest in magnitude as compared to the only other existing sovereign city states, namely, Monaco, San Marino, Andorra and the Vatican City. The geographical location of a place determines not just its spatial but also its ideological position on the world map. S’pore proudly boasts its geographical location as the island has a strong tourism industry booming owning to its geographical location. For a tourist Singapore is paradise and the government has been maintaining this image of Singapore on the international front since decades. The currency of Singapore as the name suggests is Singaporean dollar and this drives the ever dynamic economy of Singapore.

Medical Tourism

Singapore is also a medical destinations for citizens whose mother country may prove to be too expensive to deal with cronic ailments. Singapore recorded almost 200,000 foreigners. It is a medical tourism hub and extracts almost US $3 billion from patients who consider it to be a cheaper deal as compared to their own country. This also leads to the creation of extensive job opportunities for the citizens of Singapore as medical tourism generates large revenues for Singapore’s hospitality industry.

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Former founder of Asiarooms.com and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu.

Singapore

Economy of Singapore

Wolfgang Holzem

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Singapore’s economy is extremely business friendly and is considered to be the best centre of finance. There are thousands of employees delivering par excellence results in multinational companies which bring Singapore on the global map. The market base economy is very well developed and is highly backed by the import and export of goods. Singapore has been honoured by its incorporation in the list of the Four Asian tigers which rule the market in Asia along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. High definition sophisticated manufacturing of products is the main stay of Singapore’s economy.

Manufacturing in Singapore

Manufacturing industry spans across the realm of electronics, chemical engineering, petroleum refining, mechanical engineering and other sciences which develop the state of art in Singapore. Manufacturing contributes almost 26% to the country’s GDP and produces 10% of wafer products in the world.

Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the globe and has been regarded to have the fourth largest foreign exchange trading centre when pitched against financial hubs like London, Tokyo and New York. Singapore also employs thousands of blue collared workers around the globe making it a global employer as well.

Owing to the current age of global recession, Singapore has also been affected as its GDP has reduced considerably. But, the government aims to revitalize the economy and set Singapore back to its legacy post recession. Singapore has 14 bilateral and multilateral trade agreements around the globe with countries like India, China, Asia, Korea, Europe, Jordan, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Panama, Peru, South Korea, Chile and the United States of America.

New Economies of Singapore

To make Singapore a commercial and a tourist hub the government has legalized gambling and two casinos have been constructed at Marina South and Sentosa in the year 2005. The civic and commercial buildings will be well lit as announced by the government to make the island more aesthetically pleasing as compared to other countries like Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. Singapore celebrates its cuisines every year in the Singapore food festival. Needless to say that the kind of food a country offers also matters to tourists who can adapt to changes but not completely change their taste when it comes to food products. Singapore boasts a variety of cuisines to match and satisfy the tastes of one and all.
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Corruption in Singapore

Singapore has been quoted by many as the least corrupt country. This is a direct statement upon the credibility of the various sectors which operate in Singapore which makes it a commercial hub. Their laws are similar to the British Indian and the English laws but the government has taken agency and decided not to follow certain liberal democratic laws. Freedom of speech is restricted; no one is allowed to physically or verbally hurt the respect and dignity of the other individual. This is a strong point in their democratic regime as they abide by certain conventions but maintain their own unconventionality by abrogating the legal procedure of jury trials. Being a multi racial and a diverse society Singapore’s government has to intervene in the public affairs of the society to make sure that minimal mishaps occur. Disharmony is not tolerated in Singapore and certain level of capital punishment is allowed for murder and drug trafficking. The government declares itself sovereign in taking decisions on the judicial front; they may adhere to certain rules of the liberal democratic government but may deviate from them as and when need be, usually for serious criminal offences.
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Singapore’s Media Industry

Around 40,000 people work in the media sector in Singapore. Media in this island is extremely well developed as it is inclusive of publishing, print, broadcasting, filming, music, digital and IT. The media industry contributes 1.56% to the GDP of Singapore and the expansion of the media industry plays a critical role in Singapore and could expand Singapore as a key media centre in the ASEAN region. The government seeks to enhance media development in order to establish Singapore as a media hub. The local media is directly under the control of the government through the process of share holdings and investment in the media sector. The print media is handled by Singapore Press Holdings. 16 newspapers are actively circulated in languages like English, Chinese, Tamil and Malay. Most of these newspapers like Business Times, Today, The NewPaper and the Straits Times also release daily news online. Popular magazines like 88 days, Her World, Men’s Health and FHM Singapore also attract a large number of readers.

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Singapore

History of Singapore

Wolfgang Holzem

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Colonization of Singapore

Sir Stamford Raffles Statue in Singapore’s Central Business District Colonization is a process of imposing hegemony by one country over the other country usually for profit motive. The profit is made by establishing strong trading sites in the colonized country. Historically, this island, Singapore, was the site of the Malay fishing village. It proved to be an extraordinarily well rewarding site for fishing as it is located at the mouth of the Singapore River. This was before the European settlement but now Singapore is distinctly recognized as the island city state. Many indigenous tribes and rural folk lived on the coats of the adjacent islands and rivers. History states that The British East India Company led by Sir Stamford Raffles had established a trading site on the island which made Singapore the most affluent commercial centre in 1989. The military forces of Singapore under the British East India Company were also of par excellence. A country’s military power is synonymous to the country’s strength. This made Singapore the hub of modernity which defined itself through commercial success and military power. Simultaneously, Singapore was at the core of the British hegemony in South-east Asia.

Trading Post of Singapore

Post the establishment of a trading post in Singapore, this island became one of the most important ports in the world. The imperial intervention of the British in the peninsula of Malay during the 1920’s, transformed Malay into a major producer of rubber and tin. They were exported from the island of Singapore. Till the late 19th century Singapore was the administrative centre for Malaya until later Kuala Lumpur was declared as the capital of Singapore. In 1934, the British government abrogated the hegemonic control of the East India Company and trade routes became permeable. This was made possible by the Unequal treaties in the year 1842. Unequal treaties is an umbrella term for various kinds of treaties signed by a number of East Asian states like China, Japan and Korea with western powers during the early 20th century. It was a phase in history when Asian states were unable to resist the military pressures imposed upon them by foreign powers as Unequal treaties were signed by Asian states that experienced military failure.

Singapore and world-trade

The introduction of steamships to transport goods; this made transportation faster and cheaper as steamships have a greater capacity than sailing ships. This was a major factor which contributed to the trade boom in Singapore. The opening of the Suez Canal dramatically impacted trade as the travelling time to neighbouring countries like Europe to Asia had greatly reduced which led to increased trade opportunities for Singapore. The commercial activity which benefited Singapore was a kind of trade which gave traders the benefit of importing and exporting merchandise without having to pay import duties, usually at a profit margin. The profit of trading was made achievable because of trading conditions and trading importance. For instance the demand of spices in Europe amalgamated with long strenuous trading roots made Singapore an important trading post. Singapore made a profit by tagging the article with a higher market price which was considerably greater than its original price. In the contemporary Singapore this form of trading and making profit has been substituted by custom areas which levy custom duties on various products.

British Administration of Singapore

Despite the booming economy the British administrators did not fund the island. As a result of this public health services were deeply neglected and the people of Singapore were affected by diseases like cholera and small pox. Malnutrition became the biggest concern among people and smoking of opium was a prevalent social evil.

The population increased drastically and till the time British trade was not affected the administration did not bother about the state of affairs. Needless to say profit is the sole motive of colonial and imperialist regimes. They devalue the indigenous culture and raise their culture, society and economy to a pedestal where they can no longer understand the hardships of the local people who were colonized or under hegemonic rule. The British administration was ineffective, economic growth of the colony; Singapore was of sole importance to them. They did not understand the language and customs of the local people and proved to be mere colonizers with no interest in maintaining the state apparatus and aiding societal development.

The essay by Dario Fo, ‘Black skins and White masks’ explained that the colonizers never create the history of the plundered country, they always create and magnify the history of their mother country. That is probably the reason why history is so fluid in its essence, each country holds a different perspective about a slice of history and Post colonial studies aim at abrogating the Euro centric perspective in history and through the literary processes of adopt, adapt and adept writers aim to deconstruct history and put forth a balanced point of view to the readers.

British rule was abrogated in 1942 and the imperial Japanese Army invaded Singapore. As a consequence of which the British colony was occupied by the Japanese post the Battle of Singapore backed by eminent military rulers. The Battle of Singapore was fought when the Japanese empire invaded Singapore. Singapore was an ally of the countries who opposed the Axis nations during the World War II. The axis nations were Japan, Germany and Italy. Singapore was a British military base and was called the ‘Gibraltar of the East’. It is shocking that the Japanese imposed their imperial and colonial regime within 8-9 days, that is, 7 February 1942 to 15 February 1942. The Battle of Singapore was the biggest surrender of the British East India Company’s military. Churchill commented that the fall of Singapore to the Japanese was the biggest disaster in the history of the British.

Modern History of Singapore

In 1965 Singapore became an independent state and was enveloped within the Commonwealth of Nations on 9th of August 1965. Later, in 1965 Singapore was officially a part of the United Nations in September. Since, its independence Singapore has managed to break away from the shackles of hegemony and their standard of living has drastically increased.

Today, Singapore tops the lists of tourists who search for a paradise on earth. Foreign direct investment increased and increased interest to meet the international standards of industries has transformed Singapore into the central hub of industries, trade posts, education, urbanity and modernity. Singapore today boasts a par excellence state of art apparatus which is inviting to people who come from different countries and from all walks of life.

The industrial plan was put into action by Albert Winsemius, the Dutch economist and Singapore reaps the benefits of immaculate social and economic planning. As per the GDP ratings, Singapore is the 5th wealthiest country in the world. For the first time in the history of Singaporean economy funds have been extracted in billions from its official reserves with the permission of the President as a part of the resilience package on 5 February 2009 under the guidance of the Finance Minister of Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The official reserve of Singapore envelopes within itself US $ 170.33 billion. According to an economic survey Singapore was ranked as the 10th most expensive city to live in the world. This is the result of a dynamic and cosmopolitan population in Singapore who live in harmony and affluence with the local Chinese forming an ethnic majority.

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Arts & Culture of Singapore

Wolfgang Holzem

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Singapore Culture

The government on Singapore has been trying to promote Singapore as a centre of arts and culture. They have been successful to a great degree. The island retains its culture and has managed to be a cosmopolitan centre for performing arts. The National Arts Council also organizes an annual art festival which includes performing arts like dance, music, theatre, visual arts amongst many other forms of art. Singaporeans have significantly contributed towards sports and recreation.

Sport Facilities in Singapore

Singaporeans play football, cricket, tennis, badminton, basketball, rugby, table tennis and volleyball. Usually people reside in societies, that is, public residential areas which provide recreational amenities. Water sports like scuba diving, water skiing, kayaking and swimming are also enjoyed on the island.

The National Stadium in Singapore was inaugurated in the year 1973 and used for cultural performances, sports and entertainment. It was officially closed in the year 2007. After which the Singapore Sports Hub was constructed on the same site. It was inaugurated on 30 June 2007 and will be ready by 2011. Singaporeans have performed well in sports and recreation activities and have gained fame worldwide. With the blend of culture and modernity Singapore offers the best state of art infrastructure to citizens and tourists.

Religions of Singapore

Many religions are practiced in Singapore. Buddhism is the most followed religion. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Taoism are also followed. Being a multi racial and a cosmopolitan society Singapore has a kaleidoscope of religions. Minority groups also practice Sikhism. The essence of every religion has been maintained since decades and almost 15% of the population does not follow any religion at all.

No religion is considered lower or above the other, all diverse religious beliefs are well accepted and all religious practices are carried on depending upon their cultural roots till the time they do not offend any particular religious sect. If at any point a religious practice hinders in the social development of Singapore the act is banned. With these religious tenets Singapore emerges as a true cosmopolitan island city.

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