My Views On – Singapore

Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, also known as Temasek is an island country, located off the southern end of the Malay Peninsula. It is home to a population of about 5.2 million people, of whom 3.3 million are Singapore citizens. Singapore is a very special country and is unlike any other in the world. Singapore, once an anonymous island swamped by trees and mangroves is today one of Asia’s leading economies. She may be young, but she has already gained the reputation and respect of a fully developed nation today; quality of living, infrastructure, education standards, you name it, Singapore has it. The word globalization has become synonymous with this tiny, yet influential country. Personally, I believe that Singapore is one of the few countries out there which brings out the best in mankind, not necessarily just that of her citizens. For this reason, Singapore ranks high on my list of most respected countries.

Location of Singapore in ASEAN

Singapore flag map

Full name : Republic of Singapore

Capital : Downtown Core, Central

 Official Languages : English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil

Area : 710 square kilometres

Population : 5, 183, 700 (2011 census)

Status : Developed country

Today, I will be talking about several things which make Singapore special and unique. I wrote a similar article about Singapore on my previous, now non- existent website in 2010. For those of you who missed it, or didn’t read it, don’t worry, I hereby present a remastered and improved version of the same article, with additional knowledge gained in 2011. I hope you guys will enjoy reading it !

Singapore skyline panorama

Singapore’s Success Story

It was only in the early 19th century that Stamford Raffles, the founding father of Singapore had placed his foot on the tiny island we now know as Singapore. It was a densely populated island of not people, but trees, and mangrove swamps. Only a thousand or so people called Singapore home, then better known as Temasek, which translates into Sea Town. Raffles had ambitious plans for his little island. He wanted it to grow into one of the world’s greatest port cities, a major commercial hub for the trading of goods between the East and West….. and his dreams were realized only 150 or so years later ( it’s a shame he didn’t live to see it through though ).

Stamford Raffles statue in Singapore

Of course, not everything was smooth sailing in little Singapore. World War II came knocking on Singapore’s back door in 1941. The country plunged into chaos and turmoil for several years. At the end of the war, even more problems emerged. Communism threatened to destroy the very foundations of the country and her population, both physically and mentally. But Singapore and her citizens persevered through it all. On the 31st of August 1963, Singapore became an independent nation, and together with her northern and eastern neighbours, Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah, formed the Federation of Malaysia. However, only 2 years later, Singapore was expelled from the Federation of Malaysia, for better or worse, due to political instability between the governing parties of the federation. This was a sad and difficult moment in the history of Singapore. Every Singaporean knew that the burden of an entire country lay on their weathered and weak shoulders.

But Singapore didn’t give up. Lee Kuan Yew, then Prime Minister of the new Republic of Singapore led his people through the dark, depressing years following independence. His method of rule is questionable, but there’s no doubting the quantum leap experienced by the nation under his governing party. By the 1980s, Singapore was at the top of the world. In spite of the insurmountable odds, Singapore succeeded. All that blood, sweat and tears were not shed in vain. The determination and desire of the Singaporean people for change and continuous improvement has propelled the country all the way up the food chain. Today, Singapore is the 27th most developed country in the world ( based on HDI ), and the 5th most developed in the Asia Pacific region, after Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Singaporeans are among the richest people in the world as well, with a Gross Domestic Product per capita ( nominal value ) of USD$ 50, 714, based on estimates from the International Monetary Fund ( IMF ), slightly richer than the average Japanese citizen, twice as rich as the average South Korean and more than six times richer than the average Malaysian. Plus, living standards are extremely high ( and expensive ) in Singapore, on par or superior to most countries in the Western hemisphere.

I am impressed at how Singapore managed to develop from almost nothing into one of the world’s leading countries in such a short span of time. I may not know all the details, or exactly how such a miracle could have been made possible, but I do know that good things come to people who work for it… and everyone knows exactly how hard working and disciplined Singaporeans are. Ultimately, the Singaporean people are the real heroes of Singapore’s success story. Period.

Merlion of Singapore

Singlish

Singlish is an abbreviation for Colloquial Singaporean English. Now, if you do not already know what Singlish is, you must be thinking ” Oh, this must be something like the British English, American English, Australian English etc. accent and slang thing ” … well, not really I’m afraid. Singlish is much more than that. It’s a combination of languages or accents, or as the Singaporeans call it, a ” rojak language ”, which translates as a ” mixture or mixed language ”. Singlish vocabulary contains elements or words borrowed from Malay, Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew, Mandarin, Punjabi, Bengali and Tamil languages, with English acting as the ” base platform ”. The slang in which it is spoken differs from person to person. Singlish is almost identical to Manglish ( Malaysian English ), which is in turn spoken by a large majority of Malaysians, especially those in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Malacca. It’s estimated that there are up to 25 million people in the world who can speak and understand basic Singlish and Manglish.

However, the usage of Singlish is heavily discouraged and criticised in Singapore. The government and the bourgeoisie of Singapore regard Singlish with low prestige, and favour Standard Singaporean English. Thus, the usage of Singlish is prohibited in formal conversations. Although Singlish is spoken and understood by a large majority of Singaporeans, it is not viewed as a legit language in its own right. Most consider it as a form of broken English. Surveys of the Singaporean society have proven that individuals from the lower- classes tend to speak more Singlish than those in the upper- classes. The usage of Singlish has declined greatly in the past few decades, and continues to do so as the Singaporean society matures and develops.

Orchard Road with Christmas decorations

Personally, I think Singlish is one of the few things that makes Singapore unique. I do not wish for this unique language to disappear from Singapore ( or Malaysia ) because it is synonymous with the culture and society of the country. Singapore without Singlish wouldn’t be the same, there’s no doubt about that. However, all is not lost yet. So long as Singaporeans continue to speak a little Singlish here and there, behind closed doors and at the mamak and kopitiam restaurants for example, it will continue to survive into the distant future.

Here is an example of a ( hilarious ) conversation in Singlish. Enjoy !

The Food

If you live to eat, Singapore should be on your menu. This little place is full of mouth- watering, lust- inducing and mind- boggling food. All kinds of dishes from all corners of the globe can be found here. There is the highly famous nasi lemak and nasi goreng from Malaysia. Plus, the legendary Kway Teow and countless noodle dishes from China. Not to forget, the yummy roti canai and thosai from India. And if you ever get bored of the local dishes ( which is extremely unlikely ), there is always Western fast food on offer too; McDonald’s, KFC, Domino’s Pizza, Subway, you name it, Singapore’s got it. That’s not all, we’re barely scratching the surface here ! Did I mention the delicious sushi and kimchi ? What about the awesome tacos ? Fish and chips anyone ?

… Alright, you must have gotten the full picture by now. Singapore offers anything and everything for anyone and everyone. You will be spoilt for choice here ! What more can I say ? You gotta eat it to believe it.

Nasi Lemak

Char Kway Teow

Roti Canai

That is all for today guys. I hope you enjoyed reading the article. As for our conclusion ? I think Singapore is a unique country which demands respect and admiration from all of us. Singapore is an excellent example of a country which truly brings out the best in mankind. Race, religion, colour, none of that matters here. If you got the brains, the skills, and the talent, Singapore will welcome you with open arms. My only wish is that the political situation in Singapore were to improve. It’s no secret that Singapore suffers from a hybrid- regime, which hampers the democratic nature of this great nation. I wish all Singaporeans good luck in that, and believe me when I say, justice will always prevail !

Thank you for reading !

Credits

  • Various websites for the photos
  • Wikipedia
  • My supportive friends and readers
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18 responses to “My Views On – Singapore

  1. Pingback: My Views On – Singapore ( from Malaysia) « SG Hard Truth

  2. Kinda boring you say! Are you kidding me? They’re amazing! Full of interesting information, in our geography lessons (at my grammar school), we don’t learn so much about countries in Asia, so for me there’s a lot of new info. You can be sure that I will read all of them. Not today (three hours of doing math almost killed me) but I definitely find some time 🙂

    Have a nice day, greetings from the Czech Republic

    • Thanks Larisa, I really appreciate it. I’m glad you found it interesting…. I still think it’s kinda boring/ average though… xD. I will check out your blog when I have some spare time as well.

      P.S : I love maths ! 😀

  3. For me, math is always a nightmare, specially algebra. The only thing I like is geometry or trigonometry 🙂 I’m a humanist.

    Well, I’m not sure what my blog can offer to you. Almost all articles are written in czech and a little is in french. But I will be happy anyway.

    Yesterday I also read the one about Russia, one of my most beloved countries. Very good too 🙂

    • Really ? My trigonometry is terrible. xD I’m sorry to say this, but I’m into Calculus and Algebra, your nightmare. :X

      I use Google Translate to read websites which are not in the 3 languages I know. I’ll managed, somehow.

      My article on Russia isn’t as good as the others… haha I guess I just don’t know Russia well enough, unfortunately.

      P.S : I left a comment on your website. :]

  4. yep, trigonometry is one of the very few things in math I’m good at. Geometry is fine too, I can use my imagination. But when I see hundreds of numbers, logarithms and functions, I’m near a disaster. Unfortunately, our teacher’s not into geometry :/

    It must be difficult for google, I use a lot of words which are not very common. Also a lot of them are from non-standard Czech. Only arcticles about history are quite correct. Thanks for your comment 🙂

    Russia is a strange country. Majority of czech people hate Russia, in 1968 our country was occupied by army of the former Soviet Union and some people still have prejudice againts Russia. One part of my family comes from Russia so I really don’t care what other people think. Russia (and Norway) is my secret love. Their music, history, paintings, books, whole culture.. amazing! 🙂

    • Okay, I see. I can imagine how imagination would help in imagining the answer ??? LOL sorry just kidding around xD Sorry to hear about your math troubles though, I can relate to that quite easily. Math is a sort of love- hate subject. :/

      Yes, I tried using Google Translator on your website but it didn’t work so well, unfortunately. Oh well. xD And you’re welcomed.

      I am aware of the history of your country during the 1900s. Lots of hardship and suffering but hey, the Czech Republic is like wayyy ahead now. I mean, look at Spain, Greece and Italy, suffering from debt and unemployment. The Czech people have none of that. Of course, I can understand why many Eastern Europeans still hate Russia. Nice to see that you have friendly relations with Russia though, this is quite rare. I haven’t met many people from Europe who actually love Russia. I love Norse mythology ( culture ) too :] Don’t know much about their music and books though, but I respect Norway a lot. And of course, I like Russia for certain reasons as well. :]

  5. That’s right. But it’s measure for measure. I’m sometimes very cynical when I look at the people who are into math and realise how big problems they have with understanding poetry, art and things like that. On the other hand I cannot count without making mistakes. Very often I write 1×1 is 2 😀

    I’m sorry about the explanation. A lot of people (in Europe!) don’t know where the Czech Republic is. The biggest shame is that young Czech people don’t know their own history. So I always write a little about it. I’m very happy I found somebody who knows it. Almost a miracle! You can be proud of yourself!

    I know we don’t have such serious problems as countries in the south of Europe. Czech people are never satisfied and always criticise. And feel oppressed. I’m glad I’m not a typical Czech. Every time I say I like Russia the majority call me a stupid and cruel Bolshevik. Only a few people understand. But what shall I do. Their ideas.

    Scandinavian mythology is very interesting too.

    • As for the math thing; I guess everyone has their strong and weak points eh ? It’s what makes us human I guess. Being weak at math and strong in poetry, art and sports does not make a person weak, if anything, he/ she is just as productive as the math- geek, if not more so. :]

      At one point of time, I couldn’t even find my own country on the map. xD Much has changed since then though. Today, I enjoy learning about the culture of others. That’s why I write so much about the world in here. Sorry to hear about the history problems, it’s a problem here as well. Kids these days just can’t be bothered I guess. Those who do get called names and stuff… ah well, that’s modern society for us. xD And thanks, but no, I will never be proud of myself, not until I solve the majority of my other problems in life… and there’s a lot of them. o.O

      I am aware that many, if not all former USSR countries have unhappy populations. I’m guessing it has to do with the depressing lifestyle of 20 years past. The good news is that it’s history now. I guess those people might still be living in the past, that’s why they’re still so very unhappy. :/

      By the way, I’ll be sending you a message. Check your mail. :]

  6. Okay, I’ll check it. I sometimes forget but not this time.

    I know it’s not possible to be perfect but my math intelligence (or how to call it) simply doesn’t exist and it makes me angry. Always when I get my school report everything is mark 1 (the best, I realized somewhere it’s different) but math is mark 3. Mark 5 is the worse. If your report’s arithmetic average is below 1,5 you got something like a distinction. The only problem is that you cannot have mark 3 and worse. I have it, so my good average is for nothing. It looks so stupid I think. Ok, let’s skip the theme math. Just for a while 🙂

    I’m quite sure you can be proud of your knowledge. If you ask me about something in Malaysian history I will probably fail. Young Czech people have problems almost with all subjects at school. Languages, for example. We all learn English but the level of speaking and writing skills is very low. (if I compare your and mine English, I feel stupid). Czech language is normally a disaster. The grammar somehow disappeared. I had to stop discussing on the internet ‘cause I was everywhere called The grammar-Nazi. I’m sometimes afraid of the future when I look around. Luckily, some people are still normal.

    You’re absolutely right. I’ve visited some of former soviet countries and people still think about past. We can be happy that we weren’t officially a part of USSR. Only Estonia looks very good. Near Finland, growing economy…

    I hope my stupid thoughts don’t bored you 😀

    • Hi Dynamo 4, you are most welcomed. Thanks for leaving a comment on my website. I will send you a personal message in just a moment. :]

  7. Hello Aero,

    It’s been quite awhile since I first knew you from the Flag Counter forum. I’m 053537, and you may already know, a friend of Dynamo 4.

    The same applies for me. (for mathematics) Algebra I and II is much easier than trigonometry. Maybe the study of triangles is quite difficult after all; there was a time I thought a triangle was just a plain old shape in the universe of shapes. Now SOA CAH TOA and all that stuff gets into the way. And even though I just dipped into calculus, but I know it will be interesting, since many of the concepts in Algebra (like completing the square) will be very useful in calculus. I shouldn’t be learning this in 5th grade, but I enjoy it an the upcoming SAT tests very much.

    Anyways, enough of math (I like math very much). I find traveling very fun, especially when I get to travel to new countries. We plan to travel to Singapore and Germany next year, so it would be great if you can put some thought into writing a post about Germany. Historically, I thought that Germany (Nazis) was one country that loved fighting. I’m happy that now peace is established, but the Axis powers invasions weren’t the best dreams I could think of. I could even feel the Japanese invading Hong Kong right now, I could even feel Germany attacking the Soviet Union right now… it makes me shiver. But I’m happy that the allied powers beat the axis powers, and ended the long war in 1945 with Hiroshima and Nagasaki being bombed. So many wars and battles happened in Germany– no wonder the Berlin wall was built there. But on the bright side, Germany is a great tourist destination, and I would love to go there. (Unless Hitler comes back to life, that is.)

    Also, I hope you can write more about countries– and some day write a post for my very own.

    -053537

    • Hi Extreme 24,

      Of course I remember you ! Yes, indeed it has been a many months since we last spoke to each other. Thank you for taking the liberty to keep in touch with me, I sincerely appreciate it.

      You and I share a lot in common, from what I have so far observed, despite the 8 year age difference ! It has been quite a while since I did some complex math, I’m currently on well, a holiday I guess, but to be more precise, I’m currently waiting for my O Levels examination’s results. You are doing Calculus at the age of 10 !?! Wow, I’m sure you would humiliate all the top students in my school with your incredible math skills ! I salute you my friend.

      Actually, Germany today is nothing like it how it was in the 1930s and 1940s. Germany is easily the best, most materially developed country in all of Europe. Of course, I am a peace- lover myself, and like you, I’m grateful that all the suffering ended, when it did in 1945. Still, many millions of people are suffering today, now more than ever with a global population of over 7 billion. A world war today would have unimaginable consequences.

      I will keep on writing for as long as my time permits, and of course, you can rest assured that I will be writing an article on the ” skyscraper capital of the world ” too. :]

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your comments on my website. I appreciate it.

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