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Singapore

Singapore

Overview
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

n city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

 off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula
Malay Peninsula
The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

, 137 kilometres (85.1 mi) north of the equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor
Straits of Johor
The Straits of Johor is a strait that separates the Malaysian state of Johor to the north from Singapore to the south....

 to its north and from Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

's Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait
Singapore Strait
The Singapore Strait is a 105-kilometer long, 16-kilometer wide strait between the Strait of Malacca in the west and the South China Sea in the east. Singapore is on the north of the channel and the Riau Islands are on the south...

 to its south. Singapore is highly urbanised but almost half of the country is covered by greenery.
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Timeline

1819   Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles founds Singapore.

1819   Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles leaves Singapore after just taking it over, leaving it in the hands of William Farquhar.

1867   Singapore becomes a British crown colony.

1886   The Anglo-Chinese School, Singapore is founded by Bishop William Oldham.

1942   The Battle of Bukit Timah is fought in Singapore during World War II.

1942   Battle of Pasir Panjang contributes to the fall of Singapore.

1943   Double Tenth Incident in Japanese controlled Singapore

1954   The anti-National Service Riots, by Chinese Middle School students in Singapore, take place.

1957   Britain agrees to Singaporean self-rule.

1959   The first government of the State of Singapore is sworn in.

 
Encyclopedia
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

n city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

 off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula
Malay Peninsula
The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

, 137 kilometres (85.1 mi) north of the equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor
Straits of Johor
The Straits of Johor is a strait that separates the Malaysian state of Johor to the north from Singapore to the south....

 to its north and from Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

's Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait
Singapore Strait
The Singapore Strait is a 105-kilometer long, 16-kilometer wide strait between the Strait of Malacca in the west and the South China Sea in the east. Singapore is on the north of the channel and the Riau Islands are on the south...

 to its south. Singapore is highly urbanised but almost half of the country is covered by greenery. More land is being created for development through land reclamation
Land reclamation
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

.

Singapore had been a part of various local empires since it was first inhabited in the second century AD. Modern Singapore was founded
Raffles' Landing Site
The Raffles' Landing Site is the location where tradition holds that Sir Stamford Raffles landed in on 29 January 1819. The site is located at Boat Quay within the Civic District, in the Downtown Core of the Central Area, Singapore's central business district.-History:On 29 January 1819, Raffle's...

 as a trading post of the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 with permission from the Sultanate of Johor. The British obtained full sovereignty over the island in 1824 and Singapore became one of the British Straits Settlements
Straits Settlements
The Straits Settlements were a group of British territories located in Southeast Asia.Originally established in 1826 as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company, the Straits Settlements came under direct British control as a crown colony on 1 April 1867...

 in 1826. Singapore was occupied
Japanese Occupation of Singapore
The Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War II occurred between about 1942 and 1945 after the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942. Military forces of the Empire of Japan occupied Singapore after defeating the combined Australian, British, Indian and Malayan garrison in the Battle of Singapore...

 by the Japanese in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and reverted to British rule after the war. It became internally self-governing in 1959. Singapore united with other former British territories to form Malaysia in 1963 and became a fully independent state two years later after separation from Malaysia. Since then it has had a massive increase in wealth, and is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The economy heavily depends on the industry and service sectors. Singapore is a world leader in several areas: it is the world's fourth leading financial centre
Financial Centre
A financial centre is a global city that is a company and business hub, as well as being home to many world famous banks and/or stock exchanges....

, the world's second biggest casino gambling market, the world's top three oil refining centre. The port of Singapore
Port of Singapore
The Port of Singapore refers to the collective facilities and terminals that conduct maritime trade handling functions in Singapore's harbours and which handle Singapore's shipping...

 is one of the five busiest ports in the world
World's busiest port
The world's busiest port is contested by several ports around the world, as there is as yet no standardised means of evaluating port performance and traffic. For the past decade, the distinction has been claimed by both the Port of Rotterdam and the Port of Singapore...

, most notably being the busiest transshipment port in the world. The country is home to more US dollar millionaire households per capita than any other country. The World Bank notes Singapore as the easiest place in the world to do business.

Singapore is a parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

 with a Westminster system
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

 of unicameral
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

 parliamentary government. The People's Action Party
People's Action Party
The People's Action Party is the leading political party in Singapore. It has been the city-state's ruling political party since 1959....

 (PAP) has won every election since the British grant of internal self-government in 1959. The legal system of Singapore
Law of Singapore
The legal system of Singapore is based on the English common law system. Major areas of law – particularly administrative law, contract law, equity and trust law, property law and tort law – are largely judge-made, though certain aspects have now been modified to some extent by statutes...

 has its foundations in the English common law system, but modifications have been made to it over the years, such as the removal of trial by jury
Jury trial
A jury trial is a legal proceeding in which a jury either makes a decision or makes findings of fact which are then applied by a judge...

. The PAP's popular image is that of a strong, experienced and highly qualified government, backed by a skilled Civil Service
Singapore Civil Service
The Singapore Civil Service is the set of civil servants working for the Government of Singapore. Many of its principles were inherited from the administrative system left by the British Civil Service, as Singapore was once a British colony....

 and an education system
Education in Singapore
Education in Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Education , which controls the development and administration of state schools receiving government funding, but also has an advisory and supervisory role in respect of private schools...

 with an emphasis on achievement and meritocracy
Meritocracy
Meritocracy, in the first, most administrative sense, is a system of government or other administration wherein appointments and responsibilities are objectively assigned to individuals based upon their "merits", namely intelligence, credentials, and education, determined through evaluations or...

; but it is perceived by some voters, opposition critics and international observers as being authoritarian and too restrictive on individual freedom.

Some 5 million people live in Singapore, of whom 2.91 million were born locally. Most are of Chinese, Malay
Malays in Singapore
Malays in Singapore are defined by the Singaporean government using the broader and antiquated "Malay race" concept, rather than modern-day Malay ethnic group. Although Malays have inhabited the area that is now Singapore since the 17th century, most of the Malays in Singapore today are immigrants...

 or Indian descent. There are four official languages: English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, Chinese
Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese, or Modern Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin or Putonghua, is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Republic of China , and is one of the four official languages of Singapore....

, Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

 and Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

. One of the five founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations, Singapore also hosts the APEC Secretariat, and is a member of the East Asia Summit
East Asia Summit
The East Asia Summit is a forum held annually by leaders of, initially, 16 countries in the East Asian region. Membership will expand to 18 countries including the United States and Russia at the Sixth EAS in 2011. EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings...

, the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

, and the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

.

Etymology



The English name of Singapore is derived from the Malay Singapura (Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 सिंहपुर Lion City), hence the customary reference to the nation as the Lion City. Lions probably never lived there; the beast seen by Sang Nila Utama
Sang Nila Utama
Sang Nila Utama was a Srivijayan prince from Palembang who founded the kingdom of Singapura in 1324. He was officially styled as Sri Maharaja Sang Utama Parameswara Batara Sri Tri Buana...

, founder of ancient Singapore, who gave the city its name, was most likely a tiger.

History




The earliest known settlement on Singapore was in the second century AD. It was an outpost of the Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

n Srivijaya
Srivijaya
Srivijaya was a powerful ancient thalassocratic Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, modern day Indonesia, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. The earliest solid proof of its existence dates from the 7th century; a Chinese monk, I-Tsing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for 6...

 empire, named Temasek
Temasek
Temasek was the name of an early city on the site of modern Singapore. From the 14th century, the island has also been known as Singapura, which is derived from Sanskrit and means "Lion City"...

('sea town'). Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, it was part of the Sultanate of Johor. In 1613, Portuguese raiders burnt down the settlement and the island sank into obscurity for the next two centuries.

In 1819, Thomas Stamford Raffles
Stamford Raffles
Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, FRS was a British statesman, best known for his founding of the city of Singapore . He is often described as the "Father of Singapore"...

 arrived and signed a treaty with Sultan Hussein Shah on behalf of the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 to develop the southern part of Singapore as a British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 trading post. In 1824 the entire island became a British possession under a further treaty whereby the sultan and the Temenggong
Temenggung
Temenggung is an ancient Malay title of nobility, usually given to the chief of public security. The Temenggung is usually responsible for the safety of the monarch as well as the state police and army...

 transferred it to the British East India Company. In 1826 it became part of the Straits Settlements
Straits Settlements
The Straits Settlements were a group of British territories located in Southeast Asia.Originally established in 1826 as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company, the Straits Settlements came under direct British control as a crown colony on 1 April 1867...

, a British colony. Before Raffles arrived, there were around 1,000 people living in Singapore, mostly Malays
Malays in Singapore
Malays in Singapore are defined by the Singaporean government using the broader and antiquated "Malay race" concept, rather than modern-day Malay ethnic group. Although Malays have inhabited the area that is now Singapore since the 17th century, most of the Malays in Singapore today are immigrants...

 and a few dozen Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

. By 1869, due to migration from Malaya
Malay Peninsula
The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

 and other parts of Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, Singapore's population had reached 100,000.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 invaded Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

 culminating in the Battle of Singapore
Battle of Singapore
The Battle of Singapore was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of the Second World War when the Empire of Japan invaded the Allied stronghold of Singapore. Singapore was the major British military base in Southeast Asia and nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East"...

. The British were defeated, and surrendered on 15 February 1942. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 called this "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history". The Sook Ching massacre
Sook Ching massacre
The Sook Ching massacre was a systematic extermination of perceived hostile elements among the Chinese in Singapore by the Japanese military during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, after the British colony surrendered on 15 February 1942 during the Second World War. Sook Ching was later...

 of ethnic Chinese after the fall of Singapore claimed between 5,000 and 25,000 lives. The Japanese occupied
Japanese Occupation of Singapore
The Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War II occurred between about 1942 and 1945 after the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942. Military forces of the Empire of Japan occupied Singapore after defeating the combined Australian, British, Indian and Malayan garrison in the Battle of Singapore...

 Singapore until the British repossessed it in September 1945 after the Japanese surrender
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

.

Singapore's first general election in 1955 was won by the pro-independence David Marshall
David Saul Marshall
David Saul Marshall was the leader of the Singapore Labour Front and became the first Chief Minister of Singapore in 1955....

, leader of the Labour Front
Labour Front
The Labour Front was a political party in Singapore. It was founded before the 1955 legislative council elections by David Saul Marshall, Singapore's first chief minister in 1955 and Lim Yew Hock, Singapore's second chief minister...

. Demanding complete self-rule he led a delegation to London but was turned down by the British. He resigned when he returned and was replaced by Lim Yew Hock
Lim Yew Hock
Lim Yew Hock , later renamed Haji Omar Lim Yew Hock, was Singapore’s second Chief Minister from 1956 to 1959. He is known for suppressing the communist movements and leading the all-party delegation that won internal self-government for Singapore....

, whose policies convinced Britain to grant Singapore full internal self-government for all matters except defence and foreign affairs.

In elections in May 1959 the People's Action Party
People's Action Party
The People's Action Party is the leading political party in Singapore. It has been the city-state's ruling political party since 1959....

 won a landslide victory. Singapore had become an internally self-governing state within the Commonwealth, with Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew, GCMG, CH is a Singaporean statesman. He was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, governing for three decades...

 as the first Prime Minister. Governor Sir William Allmond Codrington Goode
William Allmond Codrington Goode
Sir William Allmond Codrington Goode GCMG was a British colonial officer and served as governor to various colonies in the 20th Century...

 served as the first Yang di-Pertuan Negara
Yang di-Pertuan Negara
Yang di-Pertuan Negara, meaning "Head of State" in Malay, was used as an official title at various times in Sabah, Singapore and Brunei.-Singapore:...

, and was succeeded by Yusof bin Ishak
Yusof bin Ishak
Yusof bin Ishak was an eminent Singaporean politician and the first President of Singapore of Minangkabau descent. His portrait appears on the Singapore Portrait Series currency notes introduced in 1999.-Early life:...

 who in 1965 became the first President of Singapore
President of Singapore
The President of the Republic of Singapore is Singapore's head of state. In a Westminster parliamentary system, as which Singapore governs itself, the prime minister is the head of the government while the position of president is largely ceremonial. Before 1993, the President of Singapore was...

.

Singapore declared independence from Britain on 31 August 1963 before joining the new Federation of Malaysia in September along with Malaya
Federation of Malaya
The Federation of Malaya is the name given to a federation of 11 states that existed from 31 January 1948 until 16 September 1963. The Federation became independent on 31 August 1957...

, Sabah
Sabah
Sabah is one of 13 member states of Malaysia. It is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is the second largest state in the country after Sarawak, which it borders on its southwest. It also shares a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south...

 and Sarawak
Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

 as the result of the 1962 Merger Referendum. Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, AC, CH was Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya from 1955, and the country's first Prime Minister from independence in 1957. He remained as the Prime Minister after Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore joined the...

 separated Singapore from the Federation two years later after heated ideological conflict between the ruling parties of Malaya and Singapore.

Singapore gained sovereignty as the Republic of Singapore (remaining within the Commonwealth) on 9 August 1965 with Yusof bin Ishak as president and Lee Kuan Yew as prime minister. In 1967 it helped found the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, commonly abbreviated ASEAN rarely ), is a geo-political and economic organization of ten countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has...

  and in 1970 it joined the Non-aligned movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

. In 1990 Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong is the Senior Minister of Singapore and the chairman of the central bank of Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He also served as the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 28 November 1990 to 12 August 2004, succeeding Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime...

 succeeded Lee as prime minister. During his tenure the country faced the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the 2003 SARS
Severe acute respiratory syndrome
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is a respiratory disease in humans which is caused by the SARS coronavirus . Between November 2002 and July 2003 an outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong nearly became a pandemic, with 8,422 cases and 916 deaths worldwide according to the WHO...

 outbreak and terrorist threats posed by Jemaah Islamiyah
Jemaah Islamiyah
Jemaah Islamiah , is a Southeast Asian militant Islamic organization dedicated to the establishment of a Daulah Islamiyah in Southeast Asia incorporating Indonesia, Malaysia, the southern Philippines, Singapore and Brunei...

. In 2004, Lee Hsien Loong
Lee Hsien Loong
Lee Hsien Loong is the third and current Prime Minister of Singapore. He is married to Ho Ching, who is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings. He is the eldest son of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew....

, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, became the country's third prime minister.

Government and politics


Singapore is a parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

 with a Westminster system
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

 of unicameral
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

 parliamentary government representing constituencies
Constituencies of Singapore
Constituencies in Singapore are electoral divisions which may be represented by single or multiple seats in the Parliament of Singapore. Constituencies are classified as either single member or group representation constituencies...

. Its constitution
Constitution of Singapore
The Constitution of Singapore is the supreme law of Singapore and it is a codified constitution.The constitution cannot be amended without the support of more than two-thirds of the members of parliament on the second and third readings . The president may seek opinion on constitutional issues...

 establishes representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 as its political system. Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

 ranks Singapore as "partly free" in its Freedom in the World report, and The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

ranks Singapore as a "hybrid regime", the third rank out of four, in its "Democracy Index
Democracy Index
The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit that claims to measure the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are UN member states...

". Singapore is consistently rated one of the least corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International
Transparency International
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide...

.

Executive power rests with the Cabinet
Cabinet of Singapore
The Cabinet of Singapore forms the Government of Singapore together with the President of Singapore. It is led by the Prime Minister of Singapore who is the head of government...

, led by the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Singapore
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore is the head of the government of the Republic of Singapore. The President of Singapore appoints as Prime Minister a Member of Parliament who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs.The office of Prime Minister...

, and the President
President of Singapore
The President of the Republic of Singapore is Singapore's head of state. In a Westminster parliamentary system, as which Singapore governs itself, the prime minister is the head of the government while the position of president is largely ceremonial. Before 1993, the President of Singapore was...

. The president is elected through popular vote, and has some veto powers for a few key decisions such as the use of the national reserves and the appointment of judges, but otherwise occupies a ceremonial post.

The Parliament
Parliament of Singapore
The Parliament of the Republic of Singapore and the President jointly make up the legislature of Singapore. Parliament is unicameral and is made up of Members of Parliament who are elected, as well as Non-constituency Members of Parliament and Nominated Members of Parliament who are appointed...

 serves as the legislative branch of government. Members of Parliament (MPs) consist of elected, non-constituency and nominated members. Elected MPs are voted into parliament on a "first-past-the-post" (plurality) basis and represent either single-member or group-representation constituencies. The People's Action Party
People's Action Party
The People's Action Party is the leading political party in Singapore. It has been the city-state's ruling political party since 1959....

 has won control of Parliament with large majorities in every election since self-governance was secured in 1959. However, in the most recent parliamentary elections in 2011, the opposition, led by the Workers' Party
Workers' Party of Singapore
The Workers' Party of Singapore is a centre-left opposition political party in Singapore. The party currently has six elected seats in Parliament, with the party's Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang, Chairman Sylvia Lim, Chen Show Mao, Muhamad Faisal Manap and Pritam Singh serving as Members of...

, made significant gains and increased its representation in the House to 6 elected MPs.

The legal system of Singapore
Law of Singapore
The legal system of Singapore is based on the English common law system. Major areas of law – particularly administrative law, contract law, equity and trust law, property law and tort law – are largely judge-made, though certain aspects have now been modified to some extent by statutes...

 is based on English common law, albeit with substantial local differences. Trial by jury
Trial by Jury
Trial by Jury is a comic opera in one act, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It was first produced on 25 March 1875, at London's Royalty Theatre, where it initially ran for 131 performances and was considered a hit, receiving critical praise and outrunning its...

 was entirely abolished in 1970 leaving judicial assessment performed wholly by judgeship. Singapore has penalties that include judicial corporal punishment
Judicial corporal punishment
Judicial corporal punishment refers to the infliction of corporal punishment as a result of a sentence by a court of law. The punishment can be flogging, caning, birching, whipping, or strapping...

 in the form of caning
Caning in Singapore
Caning is a widely used form of legal corporal punishment in Singapore. It can be divided into several contexts: judicial, military, school, reformatory/prison, and domestic/private....

 for rape, rioting, vandalism, and some immigration offences. There is a mandatory death penalty
Capital punishment in Singapore
Capital punishment is a legal form of punishment in Singapore. The city-state had the highest per-capita execution rate in the world between 1994 and 1999, estimated by the United Nations to be 1.357 executions per hundred thousand of population during that period. The next highest was Turkmenistan...

 for murder, and for certain drug-trafficking and firearms offences. Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 has said that some legal provisions conflict with the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that Singapore has "possibly the highest execution rate in the world relative to its population". The government has disputed Amnesty's claims. In a 2008 survey, international business executives believed Singapore, along with Hong Kong, had the best judicial system in Asia. In 2010, Singapore was ranked first for "access to civil justice" and "order and security" by the World Justice Project
World Justice Project
-Mainstreaming:The World Justice Project holds action-oriented meetings with leaders from a range of fields to mainstream rule of law advancement and make strengthening the rule of law as fundamental to the thinking and work of all professionals as it is to lawyers...

 Rule of Law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

 Index.

Geography



Singapore consists of 63 islands, including the main island, widely known as Singapore Island but also as Pulau Ujong
Pulau Ujong
Pulau Ujong or Singapore Island is the main island of the island country of Singapore. It forms the majority of the island country in terms of area and population...

. There are two man-made connections to Johor, Malaysia
Johor
Johor is a Malaysian state, located in the southern portion of Peninsular Malaysia. It is one of the most developed states in Malaysia. The state capital city and royal city of Johor is Johor Bahru, formerly known as Tanjung Puteri...

: the Johor–Singapore Causeway in the north, and the Tuas Second Link in the west. Jurong Island
Jurong Island
Jurong Island is an artificial island located to the southwest of the main island of Singapore, off Jurong Industrial Estate. It was formed from the amalgamation of seven offshore islands, the islands of Pulau Ayer Chawan, Pulau Ayer Merbau, Pulau Merlimau, Pulau Pesek, Pulau Pesek Kechil , Pulau...

, Pulau Tekong
Pulau Tekong
Pulau Tekong is the second largest of Singapore's outlying islands with an area of 24.43 km², and the island is still expanding due to land reclamation works on its southern and northwestern coasts which will eventually subsume many of its surrounding small islets, including Pulau Tekong...

, Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin is a small island situated in the north east of Singapore, to the west of Pulau Tekong. Granite quarrying supported a few thousand settlers on Pulau Ubin in the 1960s, but only about a hundred villagers live there today...

 and Sentosa
Sentosa
Sentosa, which translates to peace and tranquility in Malay , is a popular island resort in Singapore, visited by some five million people a year...

 are the largest of Singapore's smaller islands. The highest natural point is Bukit Timah Hill
Bukit Timah
Bukit Timah is an area in Singapore and a hill in that area. Bukit Timah is located near the centre of the Singapore main island. The hill stands at an altitude of 163.63 metres and is the highest point in the city-state of Singapore...

 at 166 m (545 ft).

There are ongoing land reclamation
Land reclamation
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

 projects, which have increased Singapore's land area from 581.5 km² (224.5 sq mi) in the 1960s to 704 km² (271.8 sq mi) today; it may grow by another 100 km² (38.6 sq mi) by 2030. Some projects involve merging smaller islands through land reclamation to form larger, more functional islands, as with Jurong Island. About 23% of Singapore's land area consists of forest and nature reserves. Urbanisation has eliminated most primary rainforest
Rainforest
Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with definitions based on a minimum normal annual rainfall of 1750-2000 mm...

, with Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a small 1.64 square kilometer nature reserve near the geographic centre of the city-state of Singapore, located on the slopes of Bukit Timah Hill, Singapore's highest hill standing at a height of 163.63 metres, and parts of the surrounding area...

 the only significant remaining forest. Even though there is very little primary rainforest left, there are more than 300 parks and 4 nature reserves in Singapore. There are also many trees planted throughout Singapore and almost fifty per cent of the country is covered by greenery. Because of this, Singapore is also commonly known as the 'Garden City'.

Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. Temperatures usually range from 23 to 32 °C (73.4 to 89.6 °F). Relative humidity
Relative humidity
Relative humidity is a term used to describe the amount of water vapor in a mixture of air and water vapor. It is defined as the partial pressure of water vapor in the air-water mixture, given as a percentage of the saturated vapor pressure under those conditions...

 averages around 79% in the morning and 73% in the afternoon. April and May are the hottest months, with the wetter monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 season from November to January. From July to October, there is often haze caused by bush fires in neighbouring Indonesia. Although Singapore does not observe daylight saving time, it follows time zone GMT+8, one hour ahead of its geographical location.

Economy



Before independence in 1965, Singapore was the capital of the British Straits Settlements
Straits Settlements
The Straits Settlements were a group of British territories located in Southeast Asia.Originally established in 1826 as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company, the Straits Settlements came under direct British control as a crown colony on 1 April 1867...

 and a Crown Colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

 The country was also the main British naval base in East Asia. Because of its status as the main British naval base in the region, as well as hosting the largest dry dock in the world at that time in the form of the Singapore Naval Base
Singapore Naval Base
The Singapore Naval Base , situated in Sembawang at the northern tip of Singapore, was a Royal Navy Shore establishment as well as being a cornerstone of British Defence policy in the Far East between the World Wars.-History:After the Great War, the British government devoted...

, Singapore was ballyhooed in the press as the 'Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 of the East'. The opening of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 in in 1869 caused global trade to boom and Singapore became a major trade node in the world, with the Port of Singapore
Port of Singapore
The Port of Singapore refers to the collective facilities and terminals that conduct maritime trade handling functions in Singapore's harbours and which handle Singapore's shipping...

 becoming one of the largest and busiest ports in the world. Before independence in 1965, Singapore had a GDP per capita of $511, then the third highest in East Asia. After independence, foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

 and a state-led drive for industrialisation based on plans by Goh Keng Swee
Goh Keng Swee
Goh Keng Swee was the second Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore between 1973 and 1984, and a Member of Parliament for the Kreta Ayer constituency for a quarter of a century. Born in Malacca in the Straits Settlements into a Peranakan family, he came to Singapore at the age of two years...

 and Albert Winsemius
Albert Winsemius
Albert Winsemius , a Dutch economist, was Singapore's long-time economic advisor from 1961 to 1984. He led the United Nations Survey Mission to Singapore, and was to play a major role in the formulation of Singapore's national economic development strategy.In 1960, Dr Winsemius led the United...

 created a modern economy.

Today, Singapore has a highly developed market-based economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

, based historically on extended entrepôt
Entrepôt
An entrepôt is a trading post where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties, often at a profit. This profit is possible because of trade conditions, for example, the reluctance of ships to travel the entire length of a long trading route, and selling to the entrepôt...

 trade. Along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, Singapore is one of the original Four Asian Tigers. The Singaporean economy is known as one of the freest, most innovative, most competitive, most business friendly and least corrupt in the world. The 2011 Index of Economic Freedom ranks Singapore as the second freest economy in the world, behind Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index
Corruption Perceptions Index
Since 1995, Transparency International publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index annually ranking countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as "the misuse of public power for private...

 Singapore is also consistently ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, along with New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and the Scandinavian
Scandinavian
Scandinavian refers to a resident of or something associated with Scandinavia, including:* Scandinavians, a Nordic ethnic group* Scandinavian Airlines , an aviation corporation* Scandinavian Defense, a chess opening...

 countries.

Singapore is the 14th largest exporter and the 15th largest importer in the world. The country has the highest trade to GDP ratio in the world at 407.9 percent, signifying the importance of trade to its economy. The country is currently the only Asian country to have AAA credit ratings from all three major credit rating agencies – Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch. Singapore attracts a lot of foreign direct investment because of its location, corruption-free environment, skilled work force, low tax rates and advanced infrastructure. There are more than 7,000 multi-national corporations from the United States, Japan, and Europe in Singapore. There are also 1,500 companies from China and another 1,500 from India based in Singapore. Foreign firms are found in almost all sectors of the economy. Singapore is also the second largest foreign investor in India. Roughly 44 percent of the Singaporean workforce is made up of non Singaporeans. Over ten free trade agreements have been signed with other countries and regions.

Singapore also possesses the world's tenth largest foreign reserves. The currency of Singapore is the Singapore dollar
Singapore dollar
The Singapore dollar or Dollar is the official currency of Singapore. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively S$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

, issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore
Monetary Authority of Singapore
The Monetary Authority of Singapore is Singapore's central bank and financial regulatory authority...

. It is interchangeable with the Brunei dollar
Brunei dollar
The ringgit Brunei or the Brunei dollar , has been the currency of the Sultanate of Brunei since 1967...

.

The Singaporean economy depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods, especially in manufacturing, which constituted 27.2% of GDP in 2010 and includes significant electronics, petroleum refining, chemicals, mechanical engineering and biomedical sciences sectors. In 2006 Singapore produced about 10% of the world's foundry wafer
Wafer (electronics)
A wafer is a thin slice of semiconductor material, such as a silicon crystal, used in the fabrication of integrated circuits and other microdevices...

 output. Despite its small size, Singapore has a diversified economy, a strategy which the government considers vital for growth and stability.

Tourism
Tourism in Singapore
Tourism in Singapore is a major industry and contributor to the Singaporean economy, attracting 11,638,663 tourists in 2010, over twice Singapore's total population. Its cultural attraction can be attributed to its cultural diversity that reflects its colonial history and Chinese, Malay, Indian and...

 also forms a large part of the economy, and 10.2 million tourists visited the country in 2007. To attract more tourists, in 2005 the government legalised gambling and allowed two casino resorts (called Integrated Resort
Integrated Resort
An integrated resort is a resort with a wide variety of leisure and entertainment attractions, all housed in one resort property. The first known integrated resort began in early 1980s in Malaysia, when Resorts World Genting was developed from a single hotel with casino facility to a variety of...

s) to be developed. Singapore is promoting itself as a medical tourism
Medical tourism
Medical tourism is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of travelling across international borders to obtain health care...

 hub: about 200,000 foreigners seek medical care there each year, and Singapore medical services aim to serve one million foreign patients annually by 2012 and generate USD 3 billion in revenue. Singapore is an education hub, and many foreign students study in Singapore. Singapore hosted over 80,000 international students in 2006. There are also more than 5000 Malaysians students who cross the Johor–Singapore Causeway every morning with hopes of receiving a better education in Singapore. In 2009, 20% of all students in Singaporean universities were international students. The students were mainly from ASEAN, China and India.

Singapore is a world leader in several economic areas: the country is the world's fourth leading financial centre
Financial Centre
A financial centre is a global city that is a company and business hub, as well as being home to many world famous banks and/or stock exchanges....

, the world's second biggest casino gambling market, one of the world's top three oil refining centres, the world's largest oil-rig producer, and a major ship-repairer. The port
Port of Singapore
The Port of Singapore refers to the collective facilities and terminals that conduct maritime trade handling functions in Singapore's harbours and which handle Singapore's shipping...

 is one of the five busiest ports in the world
World's busiest port
The world's busiest port is contested by several ports around the world, as there is as yet no standardised means of evaluating port performance and traffic. For the past decade, the distinction has been claimed by both the Port of Rotterdam and the Port of Singapore...

. The World Bank has praised Singapore as the easiest place in the world to do business and ranks Singapore the world's top logistics hub. Lastly, the country is also the world's fourth largest foreign-exchange trading centre after London, New York and Tokyo.

As a result of global recession
Early 2000s recession
The early 2000s recession was a decline in economic activity which occurred mainly in developed countries. The recession affected the European Union mostly during 2000 and 2001 and the United States mostly in 2002 and 2003. The UK, Canada and Australia avoided the recession for the most part, while...

 and a slump in the technology sector, the country's GDP contracted by 2.2% in 2001. The Economic Review Committee was set up in December 2001 and recommended several policy changes to revitalise the economy. Singapore has since recovered, largely due to improvements in the world economy; the economy grew by 8.3% in 2004, 6.4% in 2005, and 7.9% in 2006. After a contraction of 0.8% in 2009, the economy recovered in 2010 with a GDP growth of 14.5%. Most work in Singapore is in the service sector, which employed 2,151,400 people out of 3,102,500 jobs in December 2010. The percentage of unemployed economically active people above age 15 is about 2%.
Poverty levels are low in Singapore compared to other countries in the region. The government provides cheap housing (in the form of Housing Development Board flats) and financial assistance to poorer people. Singapore has the world's highest percentage of millionaire households, with 15.5 percent of all households owning at least one million US dollars. Despite its relative economic success, Singapore does not have a minimum wage
Minimum wage
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

, believing that it will lower its competitiveness. The country also has one of the highest income inequality amongst developed countries, coming in just behind Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 and in front of the United States.

Foreign relations




Singapore's foreign policy is directed to maintaining a secure environment in Southeast Asia as well as the territories that surround it. An underlying principle is regional political and economic stability in the region. It has diplomatic relations with 175 other Sovereign states. As one of the five founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the country is a strong supporter of the ASEAN Free Trade Area
ASEAN Free Trade Area
ASEAN Free Trade Area is a trade bloc agreement by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations supporting local manufacturing in all ASEAN countries....

 and the ASEAN Investment Area, because Singapore's economic growth is closely linked with the economic progress of the region as a whole. Former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong is the Senior Minister of Singapore and the chairman of the central bank of Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He also served as the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 28 November 1990 to 12 August 2004, succeeding Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime...

 proposed the formation of an ASEAN Economic Community, a step beyond the current AFTA bringing it closer to a common market. This idea was agreed to in 2007 for implementation in 2015. Other regional organisations are also important to Singapore, and it is the host of the APEC Secretariat. Singapore also maintains membership in other regional organisations, such as Asia-Europe Meeting
Asia-Europe Meeting
The Asia–Europe Meeting was officially established in 1996 at the first summit in Bangkok. ASEM is an interregional forum which consists of the European Commission, the twenty-seven members of the European Union , the thirteen members of the ASEAN Plus Three regional grouping,, as of 2008, India,...

, the Forum for East Asia-Latin American Cooperation, and the East Asia Summit
East Asia Summit
The East Asia Summit is a forum held annually by leaders of, initially, 16 countries in the East Asian region. Membership will expand to 18 countries including the United States and Russia at the Sixth EAS in 2011. EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings...

. It is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 and the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

.

Bilateral relations with other ASEAN members are generally strong; however, disagreements have arisen, and relations with neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia have historically been difficult. Malaysia has often come into conflict with Singapore over the delivery of fresh water to Singapore, and access to Malaysian airspace for the Singapore Armed Forces
Singapore Armed Forces
The Singapore Armed Forces is the military arm of the Total Defence of the Republic of Singapore; as well as the military component of the Ministry of Defence. The SAF comprises three branches: the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy...

, among others. Border issues exist with both Malaysia and Indonesia, and both have banned the sale of marine sand to Singapore over disputes about Singapore's land reclamation. Some previous disputes have been solved by the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

. Piracy in the Malacca Strait has been a cause of concern for all three countries. Close economic ties exist with Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

, and the two share a pegged currency value.

Singapore and the United States share a long-standing and strong relationship, particularly in defence, the economy, health and education. The USA is Singapore's third largest trading partner in 2010 after the People's Republic of China(2nd) and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

(1st). The government of Singapore believes that regional security, and by extension, Singapore's security will be affected if the United States loses its resolve in Iraq. Singapore has pushed regional counter-terrorism initiatives, with a strong resolve to deal with terrorists inside its borders. To this end it has given support to the US-led coalition to fight terrorism, with bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation initiatives, and joint military exercises. Relations with the United States have expanded in other areas, and the two countries share a free trade agreement and take part in joint policy dialogues.

Relations with the People's Republic of China were established in the 1970s, and since then the two countries have enjoyed a strong relationship, being major players in strengthening the ASEAN-China relationship.

Military


The Singaporean military is arguably the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia. It comprises the Army
Singapore Army
The Singapore Army is the branch of the Singapore Armed Forces responsible for land operations. It is the largest of the three armed services and heavily reliant on a conscript army, comprising the majority of Singapore's Operationally Ready National Servicemen .-Capabilities:The mission of the...

, Navy
Republic of Singapore Navy
The Republic of Singapore Navy is the naval component of the Singapore Armed Forces , responsible for the defence of Singapore against sea-borne threats and protection of its sea lines of communications. Operating within the crowded littoral waters of the Singapore Strait, the RSN is regarded as...

, and Air Force
Republic of Singapore Air Force
The Republic of Singapore Air Force is the air arm of the Singapore Armed Forces. It was first established in 1968 as the Singapore Air Defence Command...

. It is seen as the guarantor of the country's independence. The nation's philosophy of defence is one of diplomacy and deterrence. This principle translates into the culture, involving all citizens in the country's defence. The government spends 4.9% of the country's GDP on the military and one out of every four dollars of government spending is being spent on defence.

At the time of independence, Singapore had two infantry regiments commanded by British officers. This force was considered too small to provide effective security to the new country and so the development of the military became a priority. Britain pulled its military out of Singapore in October 1971, leaving behind only a small British, Australian and New Zealand force as a token foreign military presence. The last British soldier left Singapore in March 1976. New Zealand troops were the last to leave in 1989.

The Singaporean army was initially established with help from Britain and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, a country which is not recognised by neighbouring Islamic Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. The main fear after independence was an invasion by Malaysia and/or Indonesia. Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 commanders were tasked with creating the Singapore Armed Forces from scratch and Israeli instructors were brought in to train Singaporean soldiers. Military courses were conducted according to the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

' format and Singapore adopted the Israel Defense Forces' model of conscription and reserve service, which remains till this day. Today, Singapore still maintains strong security ties with Israel and is one of the biggest buyers of Israeli arms and weapons systems. The MATADOR
MATADOR (weapon)
MATADOR is a man-portable, disposable anti-armor weapon system developed in a collaboration between Singapore and Israel. It is an updated version of the German Armbrust design, and operates on the same principles...

 is one example of recent Singapore-Israeli collaboration.

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 geographic restrictions of Singapore mean that the SAF must plan to fully repulse an attack, as they can not fall back and re-group. The small population has also affected the way the SAF has been designed, with a small active force but a large number of reserves.

Singapore has a draft which extends to all able-bodied males at the age of 18, except to those who have a criminal record, or can prove that their loss would bring hardships to their families. In addition, males who have yet to complete pre-university education or are awarded the Public Service Commission scholarship can opt to defer their draft. Though not required to perform military service, the number of women in the Singapore Armed Forces has been increasing, with women allowed since 1989 to fill military vocations formerly reserved for men. 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 landings 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 1975 have been performed in Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

,. Training is also held in about a dozen other countries. Military exercises are generally held with foreign forces once or twice per week.

Due to airspace and land constraints, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) maintains a number of overseas bases in Australia, the United States, and France. The RSAF's 130 Squadron is based in RAAF Base Pearce
RAAF Base Pearce
RAAF Base Pearce is the main RAAF base in Western Australia. The base is located in Bullsbrook, north of Perth. It is used for training by the Royal Australian Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Air Force...

, Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

 and its 126 Squadron
126 Squadron, Republic of Singapore Air Force
The 126 Squadron "Cougar" is a helicopter squadron of the Republic of Singapore Air Force. The squadron goes by the motto "Ready and Able", with the Cougar adopted as the squadron's motif.-Unit History:...

 is based in the Oakey Army Aviation Centre
Oakey Army Aviation Centre
Oakey Army Aviation Centre is situated approximately 3 km from the town centre of Oakey in Queensland, Australia. It provides a training establishment for Australian Army Aviation, and also hosts a Singapore Armed Forces Helicopter Squadron, namely the 126 Squadron.-History:The base has a...

, Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

. The RSAF has one squadron - the 150 Squadron - based in Cazaux
Cazaux
Cazaux is a commune of the Ariège department in southwestern France....

 Air Base, Southern France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. The RSAF also has a few overseas detachments in the United States, namely in San Diego, Marana, Arizona
Marana, Arizona
Marana is a town in Pima County, Arizona, located northwest of Tucson, with a small portion in Pinal County. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town is 34,961...

, Grand Prairie, Texas
Grand Prairie, Texas
Grand Prairie is a city in Dallas, Ellis, and Tarrant counties in the U.S. state of Texas and is a part of the Mid-Cities region in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. Grand Prairie is a suburb of both Dallas and Fort Worth and had a population of 175,396 at the 2010 census.- History :The city of...

 and Luke Air Force Base
Luke Air Force Base
Luke Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located seven miles west of the central business district of Glendale, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is also about west of Phoenix, Arizona....

 among others.

The SAF has sent forces to assist in operations outside the country in areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan, in both military and non-military roles. Regionally it has helped stabilise East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

 and provided aid to Aceh
Aceh
Aceh is a special region of Indonesia, located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. Its full name is Daerah Istimewa Aceh , Nanggroë Aceh Darussalam and Aceh . Past spellings of its name include Acheh, Atjeh and Achin...

 in Indonesia following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. The SAF has also helped in relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

. Singapore is part of the Five Power Defence Arrangements
Five Power Defence Arrangements
The Five Power Defence Arrangements are a series of defence relationships established by a series of bilateral agreements between the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore signed in 1971, whereby the five states will consult each other in the event of external aggression...

, a military alliance with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Demographics



As of 2011, the resident population of Singapore is 5.18 million people, of whom 3.25 million (63%) are Singaporean citizens
Singaporean nationality law
Singaporean nationality law is derived from the Constitution of Singapore and is based on jus sanguinis and a modified form of jus soli...

 while the rest (37%) are permanent residents or foreign workers. 23% of Singaporean citizens were born outside Singapore i.e. foreign born
Foreign born
Foreign born is a term used to describe a person born outside of their country of residence. Foreign born are often non-citizens, but are also frequently naturalized citizens of a country....

 citizens. There are half a million permanent residents in Singapore in 2011. The resident population does not take into account the 11 million transient visitors who visit Singapore annually.

The median age of Singaporeans is 37 years old and the average household size is 3.5 persons. Due to scarcity of land, four out of five Singaporeans live in subsidised, high-rise, public housing apartments
Public housing in Singapore
Public housing in Singapore is currently managed by the Housing and Development Board. The majority of the residential housing developments in Singapore are publicly governed and developed and about 85% of Singaporeans live in such houses...

 known as HDB flats. In 2010, three quarters of Singaporean residents live in properties that are equal to or larger than a four room HDB flat
Public housing in Singapore
Public housing in Singapore is currently managed by the Housing and Development Board. The majority of the residential housing developments in Singapore are publicly governed and developed and about 85% of Singaporeans live in such houses...

 or in private housing. House ownership rate is at 87.2%. Mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

 penetration rate is extremely high at 1,400 mobile phone subscribers per 1000 people. Around 1 in 10 residents owns a car.

In 2010, the total fertility rate was 1.1 children per woman, the third lowest in the world and well below the 2.1 needed to replace the population. To overcome this problem, the Singapore government has been encouraging foreigners to immigrate to Singapore for the past few decades. The large number of immigrants has kept Singapore's population from declining. Singapore traditionally has one of the lowest unemployment rate amongst developed countries. Singaporean unemployment rate has not exceeded 4% in the past decade, hitting a high of 3% during the 2009 global financial criss
Late-2000s financial crisis
The late-2000s financial crisis is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s...

 and falling to 1.9% in 2011.

About 40 percent of Singapore's residents are foreigners, one of the highest percentage in the world. The government is considering capping these workers, although it is recognised that they play a large role in the country's economy. Foreign workers make up 80% of the construction industry and up to 50% in the service industry.

In 2009, the government census reports that 74.2% of residents were of Chinese, 13.4% of Malay
Malays in Singapore
Malays in Singapore are defined by the Singaporean government using the broader and antiquated "Malay race" concept, rather than modern-day Malay ethnic group. Although Malays have inhabited the area that is now Singapore since the 17th century, most of the Malays in Singapore today are immigrants...

, and 9.2% of Indian descent, while Eurasians and other groups form 3.2%. Prior to 2010, each person could only register as a member of one race, by default that of his or her father, therefore, mixed-race persons were solely grouped under their father's race in government censuses. From 2010 onwards, people may register using a "double-barrelled" classification, in which they may choose one primary race and one secondary race, but no more than two.

Religion


Buddhism
Buddhism in Singapore
As of 2010, 33.6% of Singaporeans identified themselves as Buddhist. Adherents of Buddhism are mostly of the Chinese majority ethnic group, although small minorities of Sinhalese and Thai Buddhists do exist as well....

 is the most widely practised religion in Singapore, with 33% of the resident population declaring themselves adherents at the most recent census. The next largest religions, in order of size, are Christianity
Christianity in Singapore
Christians in Singapore constitute approximately 17.5% of the population. In the 2000 Census, 4.8% of residents aged 15 years and older, identified as Catholic and 9.8% as 'Other Christians'.-History:...

, Islam
Islam in Singapore
About 15% of Singapore's population are Muslims. A majority of Malays are Sunni Muslims. Other adherents include Indian and Pakistani communities as well as a small number of Chinese, Myanmar Muslims, Arabs and Eurasians. 17 per cent of Muslims in Singapore are of Indian origin...

, Taoism
Taoism in Singapore
Taoism is adhered to by 8.5% of the entire population of Singapore. In general, nearly all adherents of Taoism in Singapore are associated with the mainstream Zhen Yi school...

 and Hinduism
Hinduism in Singapore
-Beginnings of Hinduism in Singapore:The early 19th century saw a wave of immigrants to Singapore from southern India, mostly Tamils, to work as coolies and labourers for the British East India Company in Singapore. These immigrants brought along their religion and culture from their homeland as well...

. The proportion of Christians, Taoists and non-religious people increased between 2000 and 2010 by about 3% each, while the proportion of Buddhists decreased. 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
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

, Mahayana
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

 and Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

. Most Buddhists in Singapore are Chinese and are of the Mahayana tradition. Chinese Mahayana is the most predominant form of Buddhism in Singapore, with missionaries from Taiwan and China for several decades. However, Thailand's Theravada Buddhism has seen growing popularity amongst the people (not only the Chinese) in the past decade. Soka Gakkai International
Soka Gakkai International
is a lay religious movement within Nichiren Buddhism, a branch of Mahayana Buddhism derived from the teachings of the thirteenth-century Japanese monk, Nichiren Daishonin....

, a Japanese Buddhist organisation, is practised by many people in Singapore, but by mostly those of Chinese descent. Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India . It is the state religion of Bhutan...

 has also made slow inroads into the country in recent years.

Languages


Singapore has four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

, and Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

. English is the first language of the nation and is the language of business, government and medium of instruction in schools. The Singapore constitution
Constitution of Singapore
The Constitution of Singapore is the supreme law of Singapore and it is a codified constitution.The constitution cannot be amended without the support of more than two-thirds of the members of parliament on the second and third readings . The president may seek opinion on constitutional issues...

 and all laws are written in English. 80% of Singaporeans are literate in English as either their first or second language. Chinese Mandarin is the next commonly spoken, followed by Malay and Tamil. Singaporean English
Singapore English
Singapore English refers to varieties of English spoken in Singapore.There are two main forms of English spoken in Singapore - Standard Singapore English and Singapore Colloquial English, or Singlish....

 is based on British English
British English
British English, or English , is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere...

, and forms of English spoken range from Standard English
Standard English
Standard English refers to whatever form of the English language is accepted as a national norm in an Anglophone country...

 to a pidgin
Pidgin
A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the...

 known as Singlish
Singlish
Colloquial Singaporean English, also known as Singlish, is an English-based creole language spoken in Singapore.Singlish is commonly regarded with low prestige in Singapore. The Singaporean government and many Singaporeans alike heavily discourage the use of Singlish in favour of Standard English...

. Singlish is heavily discouraged by the government. According to the 2010 official census, nearly one in three Singaporeans speak English as their home language.

Chinese is the most common home language, used by about half of all Singaporeans. Singaporean Mandarin
Singaporean Mandarin
Singaporean Mandarin is a variety of Mandarin Chinese widely spoken in Singapore. It is one of the four official languages of Singapore along with English, Malay and Tamil....

 is the most common version of Chinese in the country, with 1.2 million using it as their home language. Nearly half a million speak other Chinese languages (which the government describes as "dialects"), mainly Hokkien
Hokkien
Hokkien is a Hokkien word corresponding to Standard Chinese "Fujian". It may refer to:* Hokkien dialect, a dialect of Min Nan Chinese spoken in Southern Fujian , Taiwan, South-east Asia, and elsewhere....

, Teochew, and Cantonese
Cantonese
Cantonese is a dialect spoken primarily in south China.Cantonese may also refer to:* Yue Chinese, the Chinese language that includes Cantonese* Cantonese cuisine, the cuisine of Guangdong province...

, as their home language, although the use of these is declining in favour of Mandarin and English.

Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

 is the "national language", a ceremonial rather than functional designation to reflect the country's history. It is used in the national anthem "Majulah Singapura
Majulah Singapura
Majulah Singapura is the national anthem of Singapore. Composed by Zubir Said in 1958 as a theme song for official functions of the City Council of Singapore, the song was selected in 1959 as the island's anthem when it attained self-government. Upon full independence in 1965, Majulah Singapura...

" and in military commands. Today Malay is generally spoken within the Singaporean Malay community, with only 16.8% of Singaporeans literate in Malay and only 12% using it as their home language. Public bodies in Singapore
Singapore Civil Service
The Singapore Civil Service is the set of civil servants working for the Government of Singapore. Many of its principles were inherited from the administrative system left by the British Civil Service, as Singapore was once a British colony....

 conduct their businesses in English, and official documents written in a non-English official language such as Chinese, Malay or Tamil typically have to be translated into English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 to be accepted for submission. Translators are also required if one wishes to address the Singaporean Courts
High Court of Singapore
The High Court of the Republic of Singapore is the lower division of the Supreme Court of Singapore, the upper being the Court of Appeal. It consists of the Chief Justice of Singapore and the Judges of the High Court. Judicial Commissioners are often appointed to assist with the Court's caseload...

 in a language other than English.

Around 100,000 or 3% of Singaporeans speak Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 as their home language. Even though only Tamil has official status, there have been no attempts to discourage the use or spread of other Indian languages.

Education




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. English is the language of instruction in all public schools and all subjects are taught and examined in English except for the "Mother Tongue" language paper. While "Mother Tongue" generally refers to the first language internationally, in Singapore's education system it is used to refer to the second language as English is the first language. Students who have been abroad for a while or who struggle with their "Mother Tongue" language are allowed to take a simpler syllabus or drop the subject.

Education takes place in three stages: "Primary education", "Secondary education", and "Pre-university education", of which 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, and maths. There are four standard subjects taught to all students: English, the mother tongue, mathematics, and science. Secondary school lasts from four to five years, and is divided between "Special", "Express", "Normal (Academic)", and "Normal (Technical)" streams within each school, depending on a student's ability level. The basic coursework breakdown is the same as in the primary level, although classes are much more specialised. Pre-university education takes place over two to three years at senior schools mostly called Junior Colleges.
Some schools have a degree of freedom in their curriculum, and are known as autonomous schools. These exist from the secondary education level.
National examinations are standardised across all schools, with a test taken after each stage of school. After the first six years of education, students take the Primary School Leaving Examination
Primary School Leaving Examination
The Primary School Leaving Examination is a national examination taken by all students in Singapore near the end of primary six in primary school, which is also their last year in Primary school before they leave for secondary school. It is administered by the Ministry of Education...

, which determines their placement at secondary school. At the end of the secondary stage, GCE 'O' Level exams are taken; at the end of the following pre-university stage, the GCE 'A' Level
Singapore-Cambridge GCE Advanced Level
The Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Examination is an annual examination conducted in Singapore. It is conducted jointly by the Singapore Ministry of Education , University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board...

 exams are taken. Of all non-student Singaporeans aged 15 and above, 18% have no educational qualifications at all while 45% have the Primary School Leaving Examination
Primary School Leaving Examination
The Primary School Leaving Examination is a national examination taken by all students in Singapore near the end of primary six in primary school, which is also their last year in Primary school before they leave for secondary school. It is administered by the Ministry of Education...

 as their highest qualification. 15% have the GCE 'O' Level as their highest qualification and 13% have a degree.

Singaporean students consistently rank top five in the world in the two major international assessments of mathematics and science knowledge. Singaporean students were ranked first in the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
Trends in international mathematics and science study
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study is an international assessment of the mathematics and science knowledge of fourth- and eighth-grade students around the world...

 conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement
International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement
The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement is an association of national research institutions and government research agencies related to education. The IEA is an independent organization. It was founded in 1958 and is headquartered in Amsterdam...

 and have been ranked top three every year since 1995. Singaporean students were also ranked top five in the world in terms of mathematics, science and reading in the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment
Programme for International Student Assessment
The Programme for International Student Assessment is a worldwide evaluation in OECD member countries of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance, performed first in 2000 and repeated every three years...

 conducted by the OECD. The country's two main public universities - the National University of Singapore
National University of Singapore
The National University of Singapore is Singapore's oldest university. It is the largest university in the country in terms of student enrollment and curriculum offered....

 and Nanyang Technological University
Nanyang Technological University
Nanyang Technological University is one of the two largest public universities in Singapore with the biggest campus in Singapore and the world's largest engineering college. Its lush 200-hectare Yunnan Garden campus was the Youth Olympic Village of the world's first 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in...

 - are amongst the top 100 universities in the world.

Health



Singapore has a generally efficient healthcare system, even with a health expenditure relatively low for developed countries. The World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 ranks Singapore's healthcare system as 6th overall in the world in its World Health Report
World Health Report
The World Health Report is a series of reports produced regularly by the World Health Organization . First published in 1995, the World Health Report is WHO's leading publication...

. Singapore generally has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world for the past two decades. Life expectancy in Singapore is 79 for males and 83 for females, placing the country 15th in the world for life expectancy. Almost the whole population has access to improved water and sanitation facilities. There are fewer than 10 annual deaths from HIV per 100,000 people. There is a high level of immunisation. Adult obesity is below 10%.

The government's healthcare system is based upon the "3M" framework. This has three components: Medifund, which provides a safety net for those who could not otherwise afford healthcare, Medisave, a compulsory health savings scheme covering about 85% of the population, and Medishield, a government-funded health insurance scheme.
Public hospitals in Singapore have autonomy in their management decisions, and compete for patients. A subsidy scheme exists for those on low income. In 2008, 31.9% of healthcare was funded by the government. It accounts for approximately 3.5% of Singapore's GDP.

Culture


Singapore is a very diverse and young country. It has many languages, cultures and religions for a country its size. Due to the many different languages and cultures in the country, there is no single set of culturally acceptable behaviours.

When Singapore became independent from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in 1963, most of the newly minted Singaporean citizens were uneducated labourers from China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Malaysia and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Many of them were transient labourers who were seeking to make some money in Singapore and they had no intentions of staying for good. A sizeable minority of middle-class, local-born people, known as the Peranakan
Peranakan
Peranakan Chinese and Baba-Nyonya are terms used for the descendants of late 15th and 16th-century Chinese immigrants to the Indonesian archipelago of Nusantara during the Colonial era....

s also existed. With the exception of the Peranakans who pledged their loyalties to Singapore, most of the labourers' loyalties lie with their respective homelands of China, Malaysia and India. For instance, the Chinese wore pigtails to signify their loyalty to the Chinese emperor and remitted money to China. After independence, the process of crafting a Singaporean identity and culture began. Both ex Prime Ministers of Singapore
Prime Minister of Singapore
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore is the head of the government of the Republic of Singapore. The President of Singapore appoints as Prime Minister a Member of Parliament who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs.The office of Prime Minister...

 -- Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew, GCMG, CH is a Singaporean statesman. He was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, governing for three decades...

 (who was Prime Minister for over 30 years) and Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong is the Senior Minister of Singapore and the chairman of the central bank of Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He also served as the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 28 November 1990 to 12 August 2004, succeeding Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime...

 -- have stated that Singapore does not fit the traditional description of a nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

, calling it a society in transition, pointing out the fact that Singaporeans do not all speak the same language, share the same religion or have the same customs. Even though English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 is the first language of the nation, according to the government's 2010 census, 20% of Singaporeans, or one in five, are illiterate in English. This is a marked improvement from 1990 where 40% of Singaporeans were illiterate in English.

Unlike many other countries, languages, religions and cultures amongst Singaporeans are not delineated according to skin colour or ancestry. Amongst Singaporean Chinese, one in five are Christians, another one in five are atheists and the rest are mostly Buddhists or Taoists. One-third speak English as their home language, while half speak Mandarin Chinese as their home language. The rest speak other mutually unintelligible Chinese languages at home. Singaporean Indians are a much more religious bunch. Only 1% of them are atheists. Six in ten are Hindus, two in ten are Muslims and the rest are mostly Christians. Four in ten speak English as their home language, three in ten speak Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

, one in ten speak Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

 and the rest speak other Indian languages as their home language. Each Singaporean's behaviours and attitudes would therefore be influenced by, amongst many other things, his or her home language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 and his religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

. Singaporeans who speak English as their native language tend to lean towards Western Culture
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

. While those who speak Chinese languages as their native language tend to lean towards Chinese culture and Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

. Malay-speaking Singaporeans tend to lean towards Malay culture which itself is closely linked to Islamic culture. Those who speak Indian languages as their native language would probably lean towards Indian culture
Culture of India
India's languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food and customs differ from place to place within the country, but nevertheless possess a commonality....

.

Singapore, as a country, is generally conservative socially but some liberalisation has occurred. At the national level, meritocracy
Meritocracy
Meritocracy, in the first, most administrative sense, is a system of government or other administration wherein appointments and responsibilities are objectively assigned to individuals based upon their "merits", namely intelligence, credentials, and education, determined through evaluations or...

, where one is judged based on one's ability, is heavily emphasised. Racial and religious harmony is regarded by the government as a crucial part of Singapore's success and played a part in building a Singaporean identity. Singapore has a reputation as a nanny state
Nanny state
A nanny state is the perception of a situation characterised by governmental policies of over-protectionism, economic interventionism, or heavy regulation of economic, social or other nature....

. The national flower of Singapore is the Vanda Miss Joaquim
Vanda Miss Joaquim
Vanda Miss Joaquim , also known as the Singapore Orchid and the Princess Aloha Orchid is a hybrid orchid cultivar that is Singapore's national flower....

. Many national symbols such as the National Coat of Arms
Coat of arms of Singapore
The coat of arms of Singapore was adopted in 1959, the year Singapore became self-governing within the British Empire. The committee that created it, headed by then Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye, was also responsible for the national flag and the national anthem...

 and the Lion Head symbol make use of the lion
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

, as Singapore is known as the 'Lion City'. Public holidays in Singapore cover major Chinese, Western, Malay and Indian festivals.

Due to scarcity of land, four out of five Singaporeans live in subsidised, high-rise, public housing apartments
Public housing in Singapore
Public housing in Singapore is currently managed by the Housing and Development Board. The majority of the residential housing developments in Singapore are publicly governed and developed and about 85% of Singaporeans live in such houses...

 known as HDB flats. Singaporeans generally take off their shoes before entering their homes. Live-in domestic helpers are quite common in Singapore and there are nearly 200,000 domestic helpers there. As with most Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 countries, vehicles on the road and people walking on the streets keep to the left. Unlike some Western countries and ASEAN countries in the Golden Triangle
Golden Triangle (Southeast Asia)
The Golden Triangle is one of Asia's two main illicit opium-producing areas. It is an area of around that overlaps the mountains of four countries of Southeast Asia: Burma, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Along with Afghanistan in the Golden Crescent and Pakistan, it has been one of the most...

, Singapore does not have a culture of recreational drug use
Recreational drug use
Recreational drug use is the use of a drug, usually psychoactive, with the intention of creating or enhancing recreational experience. Such use is controversial, however, often being considered to be also drug abuse, and it is often illegal...

. The country has strict laws against drug use and has one of the lowest rates of drug use in the world. Singaporean employees work an average of around 45 hours weekly, which is relatively long compared to many other nations. Three in four Singaporean employees surveyed stated that they take pride in doing their work well, and that doing so helps their self-confidence.

Foreigners also make up 42% of the population and have a strong influence on Singaporean culture. A.T. Kearney
A.T. Kearney
A.T. Kearney is a global management consulting firm, focusing on strategic and operational CEO-agenda concerns. It was founded in 1926, and its head office is in Chicago, Illinois...

 named Singapore the most globalised country in the world in 2006 in its Globalization Index
Globalization Index
This article includes a list of countries of the world sorted by their globalization, the global connectivity, integration and interdependence in the economic, social, technological, cultural, political, and ecological spheres....

. The Economist Intelligence Unit
Economist Intelligence Unit
The Economist Intelligence Unit is part of the Economist Group.It is a research and advisory company providing country, industry and management analysis worldwide and incorporates the former Business International Corporation, a U.S. company acquired by the parent organization in 1986...

 in its "Quality-of-Life Index
Quality-of-life index
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s quality-of-life index is based on a unique methodology that links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys to the objective determinants of quality of life across countries...

" ranks Singapore as having the best quality of life in Asia and eleventh overall in the world.

Cuisine



Dining, along with shopping, is said to be the country's national pastime. The diversity of food is touted as a reason to visit the country, and the variety of food representing different ethnicities is seen by the government as a symbol of its multiculturalism. The "national fruit" of Singapore is the Durian
Durian
The durian is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the Malvaceae family . Widely known and revered in southeast Asia as the "king of fruits", the durian is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk...

 In popular culture, food items belong to a particular ethnicity, with Chinese, Indian, and Malay food clearly defined. The diversity of cuisine has been increased further by the "hybridization" of different styles, e.g. the Peranakan style, a mix of Chinese and Malay cuisine.

Arts



Since the 1990s, the government has been promoting Singapore as a centre for arts and culture, in particular the performing arts, and to transform the country into a cosmopolitan 'gateway between the East and West'. One highlight was the construction of Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay
Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay is a waterside building located on six hectares of waterfront land alongside Marina Bay near the mouth of the Singapore River, purpose-built to be the centre for performing arts for the island nation of Singapore...

, a performing arts centre opened in October 2002. The national orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Singapore Symphony Orchestra
The Singapore Symphony Orchestra is a 96 members professional symphony orchestra. Its main performing venue is the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore although it has also toured widely in Asia, Europe and the United States...

, plays at the Esplanade. The annual Singapore Arts Festival
Singapore Arts Festival
The Singapore Arts Festival is an annual arts festival held in Singapore. Organised by the National Arts Council, it is one of the most significant events in the regional arts scene. The festival, usually held in mid-year for a stretch of one month, incorporates theatre arts, dance, music and...

 is organised by the National Arts Council. The stand-up comedy scene has been growing, with a weekly open mic. Singapore hosted the 2009 Genee International Ballet Competition
Genée International Ballet Competition
The Genée International Ballet Competition is one of the world's most prestigious classical ballet competitions. Organised and promoted by the Royal Academy of Dance, the competition is held annually, and is named in memorial to Dame Adeline Genée, one of the founders of the Academy.-Overview:The...

, a classical ballet
Classical ballet
Classical Ballet is the most formal of the ballet styles, it adheres to traditional ballet technique. There are variations relating to area of origin, such as Russian ballet, French ballet, British ballet and Italian ballet...

 competition promoted by London's Royal Academy of Dance
Royal Academy of Dance
The Royal Academy of Dance is an international dance education and training organization, and examination board that specialises in the teaching and technique of Ballet. The RAD was established in London, England in 1920 as the Association of Operatic Dancing of Great Britain, and received its...

.

Sport and recreation


Popular sports include football, basketball, cricket, swimming, sailing, table tennis and badminton. Most Singaporeans live in public residential areas near amenities such as public swimming pools, outdoor basketball court
Basketball court
In basketball, the basketball court is the playing surface, consisting of a rectangular floor with tiles at either end. In professional or organized basketball, especially when played indoors, it is usually made out of a wood, often maple, and highly polished...

s and indoor sport complexes. Water sports are popular, including sailing, kayaking
Kayaking
Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. Kayaking and canoeing are also known as paddling. Kayaking is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle...

 and water skiing
Water skiing
thumb|right|A slalom skier making a turn on a slalom waterski.Waterskiing is a sport where an individual is pulled behind a boat or a cable ski installation on a body of water, skimming the surface.-History:...

. Scuba diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

 is another popular recreational sport. The Southern island of Pulau Hantu
Pulau Hantu
Pulau Hantu is located to the south of the main island of Singapore, off the Straits of Singapore. Pulau Hantu is actually made up of two islets: Pulau Hantu Besar and Pulau Hantu Kechil , with a total area of 12.6 hectares...

, particularly, is known for its rich coral reef
Coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...

s.

Singapore's football (soccer) league, the S-League, formed in 1994, currently comprises 12 clubs including foreign teams. The Singapore Slingers
Singapore Slingers
The Singapore Slingers are an Asian basketball team that formerly competed in the Australian National Basketball League. They were the first - and so far the only - Asia-based club to compete in the NBL when they joined at the start of the 2006/07 season....

, formerly in the Australian National Basketball League, is one of the inaugural teams in the ASEAN Basketball League
ASEAN Basketball League
The ASEAN Basketball League, often abbreviated to the ABL, is a men's professional basketball league in Southeast Asia. Six clubs from six different countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations competed in the league's 2009 inaugural season...

, founded in October 2009. Singapore began hosting a round of the Formula One World Championship, the Singapore Grand Prix
Singapore Grand Prix
The Singapore Grand Prix is a motor race, currently in the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. It is currently held in the Marina Bay area of Singapore...

, in 2008. The race was staged at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and became the first night race on the F1 circuit and the first street circuit in Asia. Singapore won the bid to host the inaugural 2010 Summer Youth Olympics
2010 Summer Youth Olympics
The 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, officially known as the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games , were an international multi-sport event for youths that took place in the city-state of Singapore from 14 to 26 August 2010, in the XXIX Olympiad. They were the inaugural Summer Youth Olympics, a major...

.

Media



Companies linked to the government control much of the domestic media in Singapore. MediaCorp
MediaCorp
Media Corporation of Singapore, better known as MediaCorp, is a group of commercial media companies in Singapore, with business interests in television and radio broadcasting, interactive media, and, to a lesser extent, print publishing and film-making....

 operates most free-to-air television channels and free-to-air radio stations in Singapore. There are a total of seven free-to-air TV channels offered by Mediacorp. The channels are Channel 5 (English channel), Channel News Asia (English channel)
Channel NewsAsia
Channel NewsAsia is an English language pan-Asian news network based in Singapore and owned by MediaCorp. Started on 1 March 1999 based in Singapore by Television Corporation of Singapore, it was launched internationally on 12 February 2001 as the international broadcasting arm of Channel...

, Okto (English channel))
Okto
MediaCorp okto is a television channel in Bestway Building, Singapore, managed by MediaCorp TV12, which was officially launched on 20 October 2008 hence replacing the SPH MediaWorks Channel i, Kids Central and Arts Central brands as oktoDAY and oktoNITE respectively...

, Channel 8 (Chinese channel), Channel U (Chinese channel), Suria (Malay channel)
MediaCorp Suria
MediaCorp Suria is a Malay language channel featuring local and acquired Malay dramas and popular programmes. Suria has achieved recognition outside the Malay community drawing media attention in Singapore and abroad....

 and Vasantham (Indian channel). Starhub
StarHub
StarHub Limited is a full-fledged telecommunications company providing a full range of services over mobile, internet and fixed platforms in Singapore...

 Cable Vision (SCV) also offers cable television with channels from all around the world and Singtel's MioTV provides an IPTV
IPTV
Internet Protocol television is a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet protocol suite over a packet-switched network such as the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats.IPTV services...

 service. Singapore Press Holdings
Singapore Press Holdings
Singapore Press Holdings Limited is a media organisation in Singapore with businesses in print, Internet and new media, television and radio, outdoor media, and property. SPH has over 4,000 employees, including a team of approximately 1,000 journalists, including correspondents operating around...

, a body with close links to the government, controls most of the newspaper industry.

Singapore's media industry has sometimes been criticised for being too regulated and lacking in freedom by human rights groups such as Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

. In 2010, Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

, a France-based international non-governmental organisation, ranked Singapore 136 out of 178 in its Press Freedom Index
Press Freedom Index
The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders based upon the organization's assessment of their press freedom records. Small countries, such as Andorra, are excluded from this report...

, just below Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

.

The Media Development Authority
Media Development Authority
The Media Development Authority is a statutory board of the Singapore Government, under the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts .-History:...

 regulates Singaporean media, claiming to balance the demand for choice and protection against offensive and harmful material. Private ownership of TV satellite dishes is banned. There are 3.4 million users of the internet in Singapore, one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world. The Singapore government does not engage in widespread censoring of the internet, but it maintains a list of one hundred websites (mostly pornographic) which it blocks as a 'symbolic statement of the Singaporean community's stand on harmful and undesirable content on the Internet' As the block only covers only home Internet access, users can still visit the blocked websites from their office computers.

Transport




Singapore is a small island with limited land and a large population, therefore, there is a need to restrict the number of private cars on the road. Car buyers must pay for duties one-and-a-half times the vehicle’s market value and bid for a Singaporean Certificate of Entitlement
Certificate of Entitlement
The Certificate of Entitlement , instituted by the government of Singapore since May 1990, is a program designed to limit car ownership and hence the number of vehicles on the country's roads...

 (COE) which allows the car to run on the road for a decade. The cost of the Singaporean certificate of entitlement alone would often allow one to buy a Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster
The Porsche Boxster is a mid-engined roadster built by Porsche. The Boxster is Porsche's first road vehicle to be originally designed as a roadster since the 550 Spyder....

 in the United States of America. Car prices are generally significantly higher in Singapore when compared to other English-speaking countries and only 1 in 10 residents own a car.

Most Singaporean residents travel by foot, bicycles, bus
Bus transport in Singapore
Bus transport in Singapore is the most comprehensive and affordable means of public transport for the masses, with over two million rides taken per day on average on the buses of the two main public transport providers SBS Transit and SMRT Corporation...

, taxis
Taxis
A taxis is an innate behavioral response by an organism to a directional stimulus or gradient of stimulus intensity. A taxis differs from a tropism in that the organism has motility and demonstrates guided movement towards or away from the stimulus source ...

 and by train (Mass Rapid Transit)
Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore)
The Mass Rapid Transit or MRT is a rapid transit system that forms the backbone of the railway system in Singapore, spanning the entire city-state. The initial section of the MRT, between Yio Chu Kang Station and Toa Payoh Station, opened in 1987 establishing itself as the second-oldest metro...

. Two companies run the public bus transport system -- SBS Transit
SBS Transit
SBS Transit Limited is a public transport operator in Singapore. Its major competitor in Singapore's duopoly transport system is SMRT Corporation, which also operates bus, rail, taxi and other transport services....

 and SMRT Corporation
SMRT Corporation
SMRT Corporation is a public transport operator incorporated on March 6, 2000, as a result of an industry overhaul to form multi-modal public-transport operators in Singapore. It is the second-largest public-transport company in Singapore after ComfortDelGro...

. SMRT also runs the public train system. There are almost a dozen taxi companies in Singapore
Taxicabs of Singapore
Taxicabs are a popular form of public transport in the compact city state of Singapore, with fares considered relatively low compared to those in most cities in developed countries...

 who together put out 25,000 taxis on the road. Taxis are a popular form of public transport as the fares are relatively cheap compared to many other developed countries.

Singapore has a road system covering 3356 kilometres (2,085 mi) which includes 161 kilometres (100 mi) of expressways
Expressways of Singapore
The expressways of Singapore are special roads that allow motorists to travel quickly from one urban area to another. All of them are dual carriageways with grade-separated access. They usually have three to four lanes in each direction, although there are two-lane or five-lane carriageways in some...

. The Singapore Area Licensing Scheme
Singapore Area Licensing Scheme
The Singapore Area Licensing Scheme , introduced in 1975, charged drivers entering downtown Singapore, and thereby aimed to manage traffic demand. This was the first urban traffic congestion pricing scheme to be successfully implemented in the world...

, implemented in 1975, became the world's first congestion pricing
Congestion pricing
Congestion pricing or congestion charges is a system of surcharging users of a transport network in periods of peak demand to reduce traffic congestion. Examples include some toll-like road pricing fees, and higher peak charges for utilities, public transport and slots in canals and airports...

 scheme, and included other complementary measures such as stringent car ownership quotas and improvements in mass transit. The system was upgraded in 1998 and renamed Electronic Road Pricing
Electronic Road Pricing
The Electronic Road Pricing scheme is an electronic toll collection scheme adopted in Singapore to manage traffic by road pricing, and as a usage-based taxation mechanism to complement the purchase-based Certificate of Entitlement system...

. The ERP introduced electronic toll collection
Electronic toll collection
Electronic toll collection , an adaptation of military "identification friend or foe" technology, aims to eliminate the delay on toll roads by collecting tolls electronically. It is thus a technological implementation of a road pricing concept...

, electronic detection, and video surveillance technology.

Singapore is a major international transportation hub in Asia, positioned on many sea and air trade routes. The Port of Singapore
Port of Singapore
The Port of Singapore refers to the collective facilities and terminals that conduct maritime trade handling functions in Singapore's harbours and which handle Singapore's shipping...

, managed by port operators PSA International
PSA International
PSA International Pte Ltd, formerly Port of Singapore Authority is the second largest port operator in the world. The company's flagship operations are PSA Singapore Terminals, PSA HNN and PSA Marine...

 and Jurong Port
Jurong Port
' is a port operator headquartered in Singapore. Jurong Port, which operates the only multi-purpose port in Singapore, handles bulk, breakbulk and containerized cargo...

, was the world's second busiest port in 2005 in terms of shipping tonnage handled, at 1.15 billion gross tons, and in terms of containerised traffic, at 23.2 million twenty-foot equivalent unit
Twenty-foot equivalent unit
The twenty-foot equivalent unit is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of container ships and container terminals...

s (TEUs). It is also the world's second busiest in terms of cargo tonnage, coming behind Shanghai with 423 million tons handled. In addition, the port is the world's busiest for transshipment
Transshipment
Transshipment or Transhipment is the shipment of goods or containers to an intermediate destination, and then from there to yet another destination....

 traffic and the world's biggest ship refuelling centre.

Singapore is an aviation hub for the Southeast Asian region and a stopover on the Kangaroo route
Kangaroo route
The Kangaroo Route traditionally refers to air routes flown by Qantas between the countries of Australia and the United Kingdom, via the Eastern Hemisphere. The term is trademarked by Qantas, although it is used in the media and by airline competitors....

 between Sydney and London. There are 8 total airports in the country, and Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore Changi Airport , Changi International Airport, or simply Changi Airport, is the main airport in Singapore. A major aviation hub in Southeast Asia, it is about north-east from the commercial centre in Changi, on a site....

 hosts a network of 80 airlines connecting Singapore to 200 cities in 68 countries. It has been rated one of the best international airports by international travel magazines, including being rated as the world's best airport for the first time in 2006 by Skytrax
Skytrax
Skytrax is a United Kingdom-based consultancy, the public face of Inflight Research Services, which has the largest airline and airport review and ranking site. It conducts research for commercial airlines...

. The national airline
Flag carrier
A flag carrier is a transportation company, such as an airline or shipping company, that, being locally registered in a given country, enjoys preferential rights or privileges, accorded by the government, for international operations. It may be a state-run, state-owned or private but...

 is Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines Limited is the flag carrier airline of Singapore. Singapore Airlines operates a hub at Changi Airport and has a strong presence in the Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and "Kangaroo Route" markets...

.

See also


  • International rankings of Singapore
    International rankings of Singapore
    The following are international rankings of Singapore.-Cities:Singapore is a city-state.*Most livable cities —**Economist Intelligence Unit: World's Most Livable Cities survey 2011: Singapore is ranked 4th on the Economist Intelligence Unit's Asia Most Livable City survey**Singapore is ranked 1st...


External links



Government

General information
  • This article incorporates public domain text from the websites of the Singapore Department of Statistics, the United States Department of State
    United States Department of State
    The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

    , the United States Library of Congress
    Library of Congress
    The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

     and the CIA World Factbook
    The World Factbook
    The World Factbook is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official paper copy version is available from the National Technical Information Service and the Government Printing Office...

    .