Amidst the competition during the SISC, we hope to make you feel at home as you take the time to explore Singapore and find out more about the different aspects of Singaporean life.
The earliest known mention of Singapore was a 3rd-century Chinese account describing Singapore as “Pu-luo-chung” (“island at the end of a peninsula”). By the 14th century, Singapore had become part of the mighty Sri Vijayan empire and was known as Temasek (“Sea Town”). During the 14th century, it earned a new name – “Singa Pura”, or “Lion City”.
The British provided the next notable chapter in the Singapore story. During the 18th century, they saw the need for a strategic “half way house” to support their growing empire. In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles, the British administrator who founded the modern Singapore, quickly established Singapore as a trading station. By 1824, the population had grown from a mere 150 to 10,000. Years later, during World War II, Singapore was captured by the Japanese in 1942. After the war, Singapore became a Crown Colony. The growth of nationalism led to self government in 1959 and on 9 August 1965, Singapore became an independent Republic.
The island is warm and humid all year round, with only slight variations between the average maximum of 32 degrees Celsius and minimum of 23 degrees Celsius. This makes it ideal for those who enjoy sunbathing, swimming, sailing and other water sports. But for those who do not enjoy the tropical climate, Singapore is sheltered from the worst effects of the sun with air-conditioning in almost all of its shops, hotels, office buildings and restaurants.
Rain falls throughout the year, with more consistent rain coming during the monsoon season from November to January. Showers are usually sudden and heavy, but also brief and refreshing.
Singaporeans are passionate about food and eating. No matter the hour, you will definitely be able to find an endless variety of food to satiate your hunger! In this cosmopolitan and multicultural city, you can expect nothing less than a mélange of flavours from around the globe. It is more than just East meets West when it comes to feasting in Singapore. It is a tasty tale about a country’s unique cultural tapestry woven in with its distinct influences to capture the essence of Singapore’s multicultural heritage.
Unity in diversity is the philosophy of this cosmopolitan city. Although geography has played a part in the success of Singapore, its mainstay is its people. Lacking natural resources, Singapore’s strength is its hardworking, adaptable and resilient population.
Singapore’s population of almost four million comprises 74% Chinese, 14% Malays, 9% Indians and 3% Eurasians and people of other descent. Singapore became a magnet for migrants and merchants. Seeking a better life for themselves and their families, they came from the southern provinces of China, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Ceylon and the Middle East.
With its ethnic mix also comes its diverse set of religions. Singapore’s skyline boasts the distinctive minarets of mosques, spires of gothic cathedrals, intricate figurines of Hindu temple gods and distinctive roof architecture of Chinese temples. The main religions are Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism.
There are four official languages in Singapore: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. English is the language of business and administration, and is widely spoken and understood. Most Singaporeans are bilingual, and speak their mother tongue as well as English. Malay is the national language.