Singapore is the smallest city and the smallest state in Southeast Asia. Still, small, but powerful. Just like South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Singapore is one of the four “tiger states” in Asia that made it from an emerging to an industrialized country in a short time. Singapore is an important international financial metropolis and even ranks third in the world after London and New York. Visiting Singapore is fun and interesting. In this article we are going to discuss 5 interesting facts about Singapore or more.
Singapore is mostly located on an island that was part of Malaysia until 1965. Singapore comprises a total of 63 islands, but the largest island of the same name is mainly inhabited. Most of the island consists of urban areas; there are no significant stretches of land. Since the declaration of independence in 1965, Johor Strasse in northern Singapore has separated the island state from the Malay Peninsula. Singapore borders Indonesia to the south, and the two countries are divided by the South China Sea.
Singapore has an extremely high population density (7891 people per km²) and is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The population of Singapore has grown so rapidly, especially since Malaysia declared independence. About 5.5 million people live in Singapore today. Accordingly, the inner city is very heavily developed, and tall buildings dominate Singapore’s skyline. Since the main island is hardly sufficient for the rapidly growing population, Singapore is constantly being enlarged in its area through land reclamation. Marina Bay, i.e. the bay with the imposing Marina Bay Sands hotel, is one of the parts of Singapore that was only created when the island was expanded.
Singapore is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state. Chinese, Milanese and Indians make up the largest part of the population. Therefore, there are many different cultural influences in the cuisine of Singapore. Besides, the holidays of different cultures, ethnicities and religions are celebrated in Singapore, such as the Chinese New Year, Vesak (Buddhist), the breaking of the fast and the Festival of the Sacrifice (Islamisch), Diwali (Hindu) as well as Good Friday and Christmas (Christian).
Singapore has four official languages. Tamil, Malay, Chinese and English. English is the most widely used in business and school. Whereby the English are called “Singlish” and represents an extraordinary form of language, which is even represented with its own terms in the Oxford English Dictionary (“Hawker Center”, “ang moh”).
Singapore is one of the richest countries (and cities) in the world and sometimes has the highest cost of living (I can only confirm that!). At the same time, most millionaires live here, and every sixth household is worth at least a million US dollars (and that doesn’t even include real estate).
Singapore is just one degree from the equator. The climate is correspondingly tropical and humid, and the temperatures are around 28 degrees Celsius all year round. Between October and February is the so-called wet season, when it rains more often, but it is also a little cooler.
Fun fact: The course of the sun varies depending on the season. In the “European winter” the sun moves clockwise, while in the “Australian winter” it moves exactly the other way around, namely counterclockwise. That’s because Singapore is between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Capricorn. The famous motto from school does not apply here. One thing is certain: the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. June 21st was the summer solstice, which is why the sun has been moving to the opposite tropic since then.
Singapore has been under British rule twice. And even 200 years later, the vision of Sir Thomas Raffles (a British governor who counts as the founder of modern Singapore) is still visible: There are many different neighborhoods in Singapore, such as ChinaTown, Little India, Arab Street and a banking district. For example, the Raffles Hotel, where the famous Singapore Sling (cocktail) was created, is in the Civic District.
Singapore is also known as the “Fine City” or “City of Fines”. In the city, even supposedly “minor offenses” are punished with high fines. There are also surveillance cameras everywhere. Because of this, the city is immaculate and is generally considered to be very safe.
Singapore is considered one of the greenest cities in the world. Almost half of the land area consists of green space, and many high-rise buildings and skyscrapers are planted. In the middle of the city is the “Botanical Garden”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 60,000 plants. And the government goes even further and wants to convert the “garden city” into a “city in the garden”, for which additional green corridors such as Gardens by the Bay are being developed.
Chewing gum was once banned (and you still can’t buy one)
Just as gratifying for Singapore’s budget: the savings for cleaning streets and public transport that the small country has been able to achieve for over 25 years. With a terrifyingly simple means and known worldwide for its curiosity, the ban on chewing gum. Import and sale have been prohibited by law since 1992 (except for private use). Those who enter from Malaysia must keep chewing gum they bring with them in a sealed container.
Since the unpopular ban was lifted, Singapore residents can chew gum again. But you will need to bring your own supply from overseas (the authorities are unlikely to confiscate it). Keep in mind, however, that it is not allowed to sell chewing gum, and you won’t find any in stores. So if you’re desperate for some chewing gum, your best bet is to take a quick trip over to Malaysia.
The fact that people in Singapore are serious about the ban can be seen from the fines: The fines are sensitive, and that is, to say the least. Several hundred Singapore dollars can flourish there, and in the case of unauthorized sales, it can quickly run into four digits. Visitors are therefore well advised to get an overview of the bans in Singapore, which alone fill a top 10 list without being exhaustive.
From not flushing a public toilet to homosexuality to private nudity (only under certain conditions, but still), Singapore legislation offers all sorts of memorable criminal acts. Not all of them are punished with a fine: In the worst case, there is a risk of cleaning, lashing with a stick and imprisonment, even for minor offences. For the city, the rigorous deterrence pays off, Singapore is not only considered the strictest city in the world; it also has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.