Singapore at a Glance
Singapore is an endearing home for its people and an exciting and vibrant destination for visitors
Singapore may be small in size, but with a GDP per capita of $48,900, it is one of the richest countries. Being a business-friendly economy that lures a large number of foreign investors annually, one of the world's busiest ports shipping a fifth of the world's containers, and the fourth largest foreign exchange trading centre, the country today is a reputable and prosperous hub for oil refinery, trade, finance, trade and communications.
Multiracial, multiethnic, and multinational, its 4.8 million populace is prominently characterised by its great cultural diversity. Multiple dialects and languages are spoken here, including English, Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin, Tamil, and the more controversial Singlish. The people celebrate festivals specific to their ethnic groups and religions, with the most significant ones being New Year Day, Chinese New Year, Vesak day, National Day, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali, Hari Raya Haji, and Christmas Day.
Singapore's government has been raved as one of the most politically transparent and least corrupt government in the world. It has a parliamentary government with a legislative chamber following the Westminster system where Members of Parliament are voted in at regular General Elections. The Prime Minister heads Singapore's Cabinet and wields the state executive powers, while the President, who is elected every four years by the Parliament, performs largely a ceremonial role. The PAP or People's Action Party dominates the government.
Law and Order:
Heavy criminal penalties and rigorous law enforcement, the crime rate here is one of the world's lowest. The scrupulously clean surroundings are a result of a very strict administration, which imposes fines up to $1000 for dropping litter in the street or even public shaming for repeated offences, whereby the litterbugs are made a public spectacle by wearing a brightly coloured jacket and spending a few hours to clean a public area. There are severe punishments for narcotics trafficking, including the death penalty.
The majority (80%) of its inhabitants live in public housing, better known as HDB (Housing Development Board) flats, with each unit having a space area of 70 sq m to 110 sq m and costing between $100, 000 to $500, 000. Every residential estate is established with amenities such markets, schools, recreational areas, clinics, and food centers. Other private housing consists of condominiums, apartments, townhouses, semi-detached and terrace houses, bungalows, and shop-houses.
Singapore boasts one of the best and most technologically advanced transport systems in the world. Its MRT (Mass rapid Transport) train, wide network of buses and taxis taxis all are well connected to every part of the island, putting residential and commercial hubs within a short walk of commuters. To maintain a reliable and efficient transport system, various measures are taken to relieve traffic congestions and these include the control of vehicle population growth with a quota system and implementation of the Electronic Road Pricing System.
With a wide array of choices - restaurants, cafes, coffee shops (kopitiam) and hawker stalls at every corner, you will understand why so many here eat away from home. Food in Singapore is readily available and affordable. And in this melting pot of Asian and Western eating cultures, you will be spoilt for choice - rice, noodle, pasta, hotpots, sushi, kebabs, seafood, dim-sum, desserts, etc, you name it. Cuisine choices are wild - from traditional cuisines such as Chinese, Indian and Malay, to more exotic cuisines including Peranakan, Mediterranean, Spanish, Russian, etc.
Orchard Road, Singapore's most coveted, premier mega shopping belt houses major shopping centers such as Ion Orchard, 313@Somerset, The Far East Plaza, Paragon, Ngee Ann City, Takashimaya, Wisma Atria, where you can find world's leading designer and upmarket brands. Alternatively, you can also shop in one of the neighbourhood big shopping malls are located throughout the island (Parkway Parade, Jurong Point, Tion Bahru Plaza, Junction 8, White sands, etc). The Annual Great Singapore Sale, held from late May until late July, offers the nation's much awaited discounts typically ranging from 20% to 70%. Relatively cheap electronics goods like computer accessories, mobile phones, laptops etc are among the hottest shopping items for tourists.
About the Author
Ruth Tan resides in Singapore and blogs regularly about Singapore in her awesome, beautiful blog - MySingapore. For more news and images of Singapore, visit: http://www.mysingapore-blog.com