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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 and the causes of this culture are relatively recent. People have only
lived on the island of Singapore in great numbers for about 150 years and that's
when their way of life began.
The island nation 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
was in an ideal location for trade and the Industrial Revolution had just overtaken
the United Kingdom and the technology was quickly
on its way to Singapore.
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, but the Malays and Chinese dominated the island as far as numbers are concerned,
but a minority Indian population also has made a large
impact on the country. These people brought with them their foods, culture, and
languages. Even today these groups and other immigrant groups remain somewhat isolated
from each other in daily life.
As Singapore began to become over-populated the only
way 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.
In addition to the upward growth, 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."
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