About Singapore

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A LITTLE HISTORY...

1. Lion City

It was recorded that ancient Singapore was founded by Sang Nila Utama, a prince from the Srivijaya empire, who set sail with his men during the 13th century and landed on the island, where they spotted a lion. The animal was believed to be auspicious, so the prince decided to build his new city on the island, naming it “Singapura” or Lion City. To this day, Singapore is referred to as the Lion City.

3. Japanese Occupation

In 1942, the British lost Singapore to the Japanese, who was set to capture South-east Asia. Singapore was renamed Syonan-to, which means “Light of the South Island”. The Japanese Occupation was the darkest period in Singapore's history. The local population was subject to harsh and brutal rule until 1945, when the British returned.

2. Sir Stamford Raffles

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles of the British East India Company founded Singapore as a trading port in 1819, against growing competition from other European colonial powers in the Malay archipelago. He adopted a policy of free trade, which attracted a large number of traders from the region. As a result of his acumen, Singapore gained in population and trade volume and soon became an important trading port. Today, Raffles' statue stands in front of the grand Victoria Theatre, while its replica is located at North Boat Quay in a spot known as the Raffles Landing Site.

4. Self-Government

Singapore broke free of British rule in 1959 and joined Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia in 1963. However, Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965 to become an independent state, with the ruling party led by Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

CULTURE

Cosmopolitan Singapore is a mixture of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian and other races, with the Chinese comprising the majority of the population. While such a mixture of racial groups naturally provides for an interesting diversity in religion, language and food, it also warrants racial tolerance.

7 THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT SINGAPORE

NATIONAL FLAG

Red symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of men
WHITE SIGNIFIES
PURITY AND VIRTUE
The crescent represents a young nation on the rise and the five stars represent the ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

The Merlion

The half-fish, half-lion creature is a symbol of Singapore conceived by the Singapore Tourism Board in 1964. The fish symbolises Singapore as a port city and dependence on maritime trade, harking back to the days of Temasek (“Sea Town” in Javanese). The lion symbolises Singapore as a Lion City.

National Day

Singapore’s national day is on 9 August. The country has been independent since 1965.

Vanda Miss Joaquim

The national flower is an orchid hybrid of V.teres and V.hookeriana.
It was discovered in 1893 by Agnes Joaquim, an Armenian.

National Language

The national language of Singapore is Malay but English is the common language used for business, government and communicating with one another. The official languages in Singapore are English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil, representing each major ethnic group in Singapore.

Majulah Singapura

The national anthem of Singapore was composed by Zubir Said in 1958. “Majulah Singapura” which means “Onward Singapore”, can only be sung with its original Malay lyrics as stated by the law.
 

Feng Shui

Singapore’s buildings are not only architecturally beautiful; some have feng shui elements, namely Suntec City, Marina Bay Sands, Takashimaya, Resorts World Sentosa and the Singapore Flyer.

NUMBERS & FIGURES

716.1 KM2

The total land area of Singapore. Singapore is the smallest country in Southeast Asia.

63 islands

Besides its main island, Singapore has this number of tiny islands. Most of them are uninhabited.

280 metres

The height limit for buildings in Singapore, OUB Centre, UOB Plaza One and Republic Plaza are the tallest buildings in Singapore.

163.63 metres

The height of Bukit Timah Hill, Singapore's highest hill.

14.1 million

The total number of visitors to Singapore from Jan-Nov 2013

Year 1915

The year Singapore Sling was first served in Singapore at Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar. The cocktail is made up of gin, Cointreau, cherry brandy, Dom Benedictine, pineapple juice, Grenadine, Angoustura bitters and lime.

165 metres

The height of Singapore Flyer, which is equivalent to the height of 31 male giraffes-stacked high.

GMT +8

Singapore Time Standard Time is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Singapore follows West Malaysia which matched their time in use with East Malaysia that is GMT+8. However, according to Singapore’s geographical location, time here should be GMT +7.

SINGAPORE DID IT

The Night Safari

The world's first night zoo

Singapore flyer

Asia's largest giant observation wheel

Fortune fountain

The world's largest fountain is located at Suntec City. Made of cast bronze, it costs an estimated US$6 million to build in 1997

Man-made waterfall

The world's largest fountain is located at Suntec City. Made of cast bronze, it costs an estimated US$6 million to build in 1997

River Safari Singapore

Asia’s First and only river-themed wildlife park

Formula one

The world’s first F1 night race was held in Singapore in 2012

Youth Olympic Games

Singapore hosted the first Youth Olympic Games in 2010

Great Singapore Duck Race

An annual event that raises funds for charity, set a new world record in 2002 when more than 123,000 toy ducks took to the Singapore River

The flying fox

The world's largest bat with a wingspan of up to 1.5m, can be found on Pulau Ubin, one of the islands off mainland Singapore

LIVING LIKE A SINGAPOREAN

language

Our unofficial language is “Singlish”, where English is mixed with Chinese, Malay and even Tamil. For example, “Aiyoh, why the weather so like dat? Very hot lah.”

Gift-Giving

Gifts are usually not opened when they are received. As there are cultural differences in how the three main ethnic groups here treat gifts, here are some guidelines:

General

  • Avoid flowers as some types are associated with funerals and death.
  • Wrap gifts with red, green or yellow wrapping paper as these colours are regarded well by all ethnic groups.

Chinese

  • Cutting utensils like knives and scissors have connotations of a desire to sever the relationship.
  • Clocks, handkerchiefs and straw sandals are associated with funerals and death
 

Indian

  • Do not give leather products or alcohol.

Malay

  • Never give alcohol or anything made of pigskin.
  • If you give food, ensure that it's halal.

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Contact Us

1 Science Park Road #04-07
The Capricorn, Singapore Science Park II
Singapore 117528
tourism@ttgasia.com
+65 6395 7575