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    This low-lying country has historic ties to India and Pakistan, but today maintains a wholly unique culture. Explore Bangladesh!

  • Indonesia!

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    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

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    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

  • Kyrgyzstan!

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    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Singapore

Ethnicity

Singapore is dominated by the ethnic Han Chinese, but many citizens are also Mandarin Chinese or a combination of these two. The next largest ethnic groups in Singapore are the Malays, a group related to the Polynesians, and Indians.

Language

Singapore has a couple official languages, of which Mandarin Chinese is the most common as just over a third of the people are native Mandarin speakers. English, another official language, is natively spoken by about 25% of the population and Malay, another official language, is natively spoken by about 15% of the population. The final official language is Tamil, which is only spoken by about 3% of the population. The breakdown of who speaks what language is fairly consistent with the ethnic breakdown, although some variations exist. Nearly all of native Mandarin speakers are ethnic Chinese, most of the Tamil speakers are ethnic Indians, the Malay speaker are generally ethnic Malays, while the native English speakers tend to be any number of ethnicities.

There are dozens of other languages spoken in Singapore, but nearly everyone can communicate in either Mandarin or English. These two languages are the primary languages of communication in the small nation and many businesses officially function in one of these two languages.

Religion

About 40% of Singapore's population is Buddhist; these followers are primarily ethnic Chinese. Another 15% is Muslim, primarily consisting of the ethnic Malays and another 15% Christian. Taoists, Hindis, and atheists make up the majority of the remaining population.

Buddhism is a religion or philosophy that encourages people to strive for enlightenment. Adherents believe that each being is reborn until enlightenment is reached, at which time they escape the cycle of birth and death. To accomplish this, every being must speak, act, and live in a positive manner; this is magnified with the force of karma, which dictates an individual's later life and/or their rebirth.

This page was last updated: May, 2014