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name comes from the Malay, Singapura, which is literally translated as
"Lion City." Oddly, lions never lived on these lands, but the islands
was named by the historic king, Sang Nila Utama, who was hunting on the lands in
the early 1300s and thought he saw a lion, which was more likely a tiger.
新加坡 / Singapura / சிங்கப்பூர்
Life in Singapore is fairly similar throughout the city-state during the day, but
once away from the office, this tiny country is home to a very diverse population
as each house and neighborhood seems to hold a different culture and lifestyle.
These home lives and foreign cultures are rooted in the fact that the island of
Singapore has only been inhabited in great numbers for about 150 years and the present
population is quite diverse. However, the hectic business center that best displays
the day time culture is one that is ultra-modern and is based on the world's
reliance on technology, communication, and economic opportunities.
Singapore began to grow in population in the late 1800s when the British took over,
but its growth and expansion was limited due to the limited land area on the island.
This limited land space didn't prevent growth though as the island, sitting
on international trading routes, was in an ideal location for trade and the Industrial
Revolution had just overtaken the United Kingdom so technology quickly arrived to
Like many nations, Singapore's
flag contains a crescent moon; unlike most of those other nations, Singapore's
crescent moon symbolizes a young nation on the ascendancy. Next to the moon are
five stars, which represent the nation's ideals: democracy, peace, progress,
justice, and equality. The color red represents brotherhood and equality, while
the white symbolizes purity and virtue.
Name: Republic of Singapore
Independence: August 9, 1965
Currency: Singapore Dollar
Population: 5,460,302 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Chinese, Malay, Indian, & others
Language: Mandarin, English, Malay, & Tamil
As a center for trade, the people that flocked to Singapore were of nearly every
ethnicity seeking out economic opportunities, but the Malays and Chinese dominated
this initial influx in addition to the Brits who settled the island. There was also
a significant Indian population that settled the island, making another cultural
impact on Singapore. These people brought with them their foods, cultures, and languages.
Even today these groups, and other immigrant groups, remain somewhat isolated from
each other in personal life as differing neighborhoods are true to varying cultures
and home life is often consumed with the people's ethnic culture.
Singapore grew every quickly and once it became a bit over-populated the only direction
the country could grow was up. With technology from the Industrial Revolution buildings
began to be built taller and in recent decades the skyline was again re-drawn as
modern skyscrapers have been built. Today the island is very densely populated as
the city is covered with skyscrapers and makes for one of the world's most impressive
Although the city has grown up, literally, trade by sea has decreased dramatically
due to air travel and technology, shifting the economy and lifestyle of the island
nation in a new direction. Singapore remains a center of trade, but no longer as
a physical trading post as much as a virtual one as the financial district is large
and numerous business ventures are now based in Singapore as the population has
a large percentage of "white collar workers."
Despite the many changes to this small country in terms of work, economy, and appearance,
the native culture of so many people has been resolute over time and remains much
as it has in the past. However, the people also maintain a secondary culture, which
is that of being Singaporean. The people unify as one people in many ways as most
communication is done in English, cultural differences often take a backseat to
economic progress, and the people share many odd laws and traits that make this
small country entirely unique.
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