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The Republic of Singapore
Singapore map CIA.jpg
Capital Singapore
Government Parliamentary Republic
Language Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil. (official)
President Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Prime minister Lee Hsien Loong
Area 274 sq mi
Population 5,850,000 (2020)
GDP $350,000,000,000 (2020)
GDP per capita $59,829 (2020)
Currency Singapore dollar
International dialing code +65
Internet top-level domain .sg

Singapore (Malay: Singa (lion) + pura (city)) is a city-state and parliamentary republic situated on a group of islands at the southern tip of the Malay peninsula. Its land area is 712 square kilometers. Singapore declared independence from Britain on 31 August 1963 and became a sovereign, independent nation on August 9, 1965.


The city-state of Singapore is an island nation.

Singapore City.



Girls, 2010.

The population of Singapore in June 2019 was of about 5.6 million people,[1] of which 76% are ethnic Chinese, 14% are Malay, 7% are Tamil and 3% are classified as others.

Urban population: 100% of total population.


Buddhists/Taoists made up 43.2% of the resident population according the General Household Survey 2015. 14.0% were Muslims, 5.0% were Hindus, 18.8% were Christians and 0.6% of them were from other religions. 18.5% of the population had no religion. These figures had been relatively stable between 2010 and 2015.[2]

Guan Yin Temple.

Language & Literacy

Languages: Mandarin (official) 35%, English (official) 23%, Malay (official) 14.1%, Hokkien 11.4%, Cantonese 5.7%, Teochew 4.9%, Tamil (official) 3.2%, other Chinese dialects 1.8%, other 0.9% (2000 census)

Population aged 15 years & over who are literate (in 2018): 97.2%.[3]

Modern History

Lee Kuan Yew, Ex-Prime Minister of Singapore, in office: 5 June 1959 – 28 November 1990.

Singapore was an ignored, swampy island with only a few fishing villages until 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles of the British East India Company was given permission to establish a trading station by the Sultan of Johor. Raffles had spotted its strategic location as a crossroads on the shipping routes to the East and set about turning the island into a free trading station.[4] Alongside the British colonial presence it attracted many entrepreneurs from China, India and the Middle East and within 5 years the population rose from 150 to 10,000. In 1824 the British bought the island outright from the Sultan. Following the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1824, the Dutch, who had largely been the dominant colonial power in south-east Asia, withdrew any objections to the British occupation.

The British Influence on Singapore: "We have many good essays on the English language, the rule of law, the free port, free trade, open economy, the civil service, health, education, welfare, town planning, low-cost housing, anti-corruption, business, sports, culture, the commonwealth, etc. The British left a rich legacy in Singapore."(See: Singapore and the United Kingdom: 1819 to 2019).

The British tended to congregate round the river waterfront and many grand buildings in the Palladian style were built largely with the help of Irish architect George Coleman.[5] With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the invention of steamships and the laying of long-distance telegraph cables Singapore became increasingly important as a port and trading center.

At the outbreak of World War II, Singapore was regarded as a well-defended base for the Allies in the Far-East. However, on February 15, 1942 Singapore fell to the Japanese after six-days of fighting. The occupation of the next three and a half years was brutal with many atrocities and war-crimes being committed. The island was renamed Syonan (Light of the South) until the defeat of Japan. The occupying forces formally surrendered to the British at the Changi prison-camp in September 1945.

In 1946, Singapore became a British Crown Colony. However, the communist insurgency in Malaya of 1948 put Singapore in a state of emergency for 12 years. There was a rise of nationalism during the 1950s as the merchant classes wanted to have a say in government and in 1959 Singapore was granted self-government under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew. In 1963 Singapore merged with Federated Malaya and the Borneo states of Sarawak and North Borneo (Sabah) to create Malaysia. The third Borneo state of Brunei opted for independence. This merger was actively opposed by the neighboring states of Indonesia and the Philippines. Singapore was particularly hard hit by the loss of its Indonesian barter trade. Indonesian commandos conducted armed raids into Sabah and Sarawak, and Singaporean fishing boats were seized by Indonesian gunboats. Indonesian terrorists bombed the Ambassador Hotel on September 24, beginning a year of terrorism and propaganda aimed at creating communal unrest in Singapore. Singapore as Part of Malaysia. The union did not last long, owing to ideological differences between Lee Kuan Yew's PAP (People's Action Party) and the federal government in Kuala Lumpur. Singapore was obliged to withdraw and became a sovereign, independent nation on August 9, 1965. Lee declared Singapore a sovereign, democratic, and independent state. In tears he told his audience, "For me, it is a moment of anguish. All my life, my whole adult life, I have believed in merger and unity of the two territories." [6]

With only a small land mass and limited natural resources Singapore was forced to industrialize and develop its technical prowess alongside its trading and transportation hub role. Government policies emphasized the role of education, especially in computer science, and, increasingly, bio-sciences.


Social welfare system: Lean and efficient

The article What America Could Learn from Singapore's Social Welfare System indicates:

To take a look at how and where such a minimal standard of welfare design has been implemented successfully, one need only look at the city-state of Singapore. The Singapore welfare system is considered one of the most successful by first-world standards. World Bank data shows that Singapore’s government health expenditure in 2015 is only 4.3 percent of GDP, a small fraction in comparison to other first-world countries—16.9 percent in the US; 11 percent in France; 9.9 percent in the UK; 10.9 percent in Japan, and 7.1 percent in Korea—while achieving comparatively equal or better health outcomes of low infant mortality and higher life expectancies. While most of Europe, Scandinavia, and North America spend 30-40 percent of GDP on social welfare programs, Singapore spends less than half as much while maintaining similar levels of economic growth and a society relatively free of social problems."...

By compelling Singaporeans to save, welfare in Singapore has traditionally been internalized first to the individual and the family/grassroots level. This forms the crux of the government’s “Many Helping Hands” social policy where the role of the family and immediate community in welfare provision is emphasized over government-funded programs. Such a form of privatized charity is neither new nor unique, as a wealth of research shows how mutual aid societies predated modern welfare states in the 20th-century United States and the 19th-century United Kingdom."[7]

Singapore has the 2nd lowest infant mortality rate in the world.[8]


Head of state: President Halimah binte Yacob (since 14 September 2017).

Head of government: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (since 12 August 2004); Senior Minister GOH Chok Tong (since 12 August 2004); Senior Minister Shunmugam JAYAKUMAR (since 1 April 2009); Minister Mentor LEE Kuan Yew (since 12 August 2004); Deputy Prime Minister TEO Chee Hean (since 1 April 2009) and Deputy Prime Minister WONG Kan Seng (since 1 September 2005).[9]

Organs of State

Based on the model of separation of powers, the organs of state are divided as follows:


Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC)
Auditor-General's Office (AGO)
The Cabinet (CAB)
Public Service Commission (PSC)


Istana (ISTANA)
Parliament of Singapore (PARL)


Industrial Arbitration Court (IAC)
Family Justice Courts (FJCOURTS)
State Courts (STATE COURTS)
Supreme Court (SUPCOURT)


Singapore has a highly developed and successful free-market economy. It enjoys a remarkably open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly in consumer electronics, information technology products, pharmaceuticals, and on a growing financial services sector. Real GDP growth averaged 7.1% between 2004 and 2008. The economy contracted 1.3% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, but rebounded nearly 14.7% in 2010, on the strength of renewed exports. Over the longer term, the government hopes to establish a new growth path that focuses on raising productivity, which has sunk to 1% growth per year in the last decade. Singapore has attracted major investments in pharmaceuticals and medical technology production and will continue efforts to establish Singapore as Southeast Asia's financial and high-tech hub.[10]

Gross Domestic Product: 2009 = $266.7 bn, 2010 = $303.7 bn

Per Capita Gross National Income: $57,603 (2010)

Total Labor Force: 3,136,000

Singapore's exports of services declined by 3.2% to $136.0 billion in 2009 compared to an increase of 9.6% a year earlier. Imports of services also fell by 6.7% to $115.4 billion, in contrast to the 10.0% growth recorded in 2008.[11]


The education landscape in Singapore is governed by the Ministry of Education (Singapore).

Self-Help Groups

Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC)
Yayasan Mendaki
Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA)
The Eurasian Association (EA)

The Central Singapore Joint Social Service Centre (CS JSSC) was formed at the suggestion of Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong (then Prime Minister) in 1996 to bring the various Self-Help Groups (SHGs) together to collaborate on unifying the various races in Singapore, drawing on each other's expertise and resources.

See also

External links