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Singapore

Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but separated two years later and became independent. Singapore subsequently became one of the world’s most prosperous countries with strong international trading links (its port is one of the world’s busiest in terms of tonnage handled) and with per capita GDP equal to that of the leading nations of Western Europe. Singapore consists of the island of Singapore and some 60 small islands. It is situated between latitudes 1’09′N and 1’29′N and longitudes 103’38′E and 104’25′E approximately 137 north of the Equator.

The main island is about 42km in length and 23 km in breadth and 586.5 sq km in area. It has a coastline of a proximately 150.5 km. The total land area, including the smaller islands, is about 646.1 sq km. Singapore’s immediate neighbors are Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia to the North, Sabah and Sarawak to the East) and Indonesia to the South. Singapore is liked to Peninsular Malaysia by a 1,056-m-long causeway, which carries a road, a railway and a water pipeline across the Strait of Johore. A second link at Tuas with Peninsular Malaysia is under construction. Some of the offshore islands are of economic importance. The major ones are Pulau Tekong,(2,442.6 ha); Pulau Ubin (1,019.2 ha); Sentosa (332.8 ha); Pulau Bukum (144.9 ha); Pulau Merlimau (101.6 ha); and Pulau Ayer Chawan (169.2 ha). Pulau Seburus Dalam and Luar were merged br reclamation with Pulau Seraya, which has a total land area of 193.4 ha.

Two causeways, one links Singapore with the two closest Southern islands, Sentose and Pulau Brani while the other links Singapore with Pulau Damar Laut. The resident population comprising Singapore citizens and permanent residents was estimated at 2,986,500 as at June 1995. This was an increase of 1.9 per cent over the population in 1994. Population density rose from 4,001 residents per square kilometer in 1985 to 4,608 residents per square kilometer in 1995.

Chinese residents numbered 2,311,300 (77.4%), Malays 423,500 (14.2%), Indians 214,900 (7.2%) and persons of other ethnic groups 36,800(1.2%). In June 1995, there were 1,502,900 resident’s males and 1,483,600 resident females. The sex ratio was 1,013 males per 1,000 females. Residents below 15 years of age formed 23.0% of the resident population while those aged 60 years and over comprised 9.9%. The proportion of elderly residents aged 60 years and over increased from 8.1% to 9.9% in the last decade. As a result, the median age of the resident population in 1995 rose to 31.8 years, from 27.2 years in 1985.

The official languages are Malay, Chinese (Mandarin), Tamil and English. Malay is the national language and English is the language of administration. 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.

Climate

Tropical, mainly warm(hot to some), humid and sometimes rainy with thunderstorms.

Ethnic Groups

Chinese, Malays, Indians and others

Religions Afflictions

Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Taoists, Confucianists

Languages

Malay, Chinese, English, Tamil

Leaders

  • President – Mr S R Nathan
  • Prime Minister – Mr Lee Hsien Loong
  • Senior Minister – Mr Goh Chok Tong
  • Minister Mentor – Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Public Transport System

Mass Rapit Transit (MRT) – Trains Costs: $0.60 and up -ez-link ticket $0.64 & up (Adult/Senior), $0.40 & up (Child); or Standard ticket $0.80 & up Buses Costs: $0.50 and up – ez-link ticket $0.63 & up (Adult/Senior), $0.45 & up (Child); or Standard ticket $0.80 & up (Adult/Senior), $0.45 & up (Child/Student).

Currency

Singapore Dollars – exchangeable at banks/money changers located at Changi Airport

Major Banks

  • Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation
  • Development Bank of Singapore
  • United Overseas Bank

Major International Banks

  • Citibank
  • American Express Bank
  • Bank of America

Others

Tipping – Tipping is generally not a way of life in Singapore. As most entertaining related establishments like hotels, pubs, restaurants levy a 10% service charge; it is common not to tip when at such establishments.

Smoking

It is against the law to smoke under air-conditioning areas like shopping centers, cinemas, public transport systems (like taxis, MRT, bus), restaurants etc. It is however, not prohibited (after hours applies in certain establishments) in places like pubs, discos, karaoke bars, and some nightspots. It would be wise to check with the establishments whether smoking is allowed just to be sure.

Littering

ou may want to note that littering is strictly prohibited (which is why Singapore has the reputation of being one of the cleanest city in the world!) and you may face fines of up to S$1,000.00. Litter bins are conveniently located almost at every corner you go, so do use them.

Passes & Visas

Presidents must hold a valid work pass before they can work in Singapore. Employers who hire foreigners without valid work passes can be prosecuted under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

Enhanced Employment Pass Framework

From 1 Jan 2012, the qualifying salary for the Q1 Pass will be increased from $2,800 to $3,000, together with a tightening of educational qualifications. The qualifying salary for the P2 Pass will be raised from $4,000 to $4,500. There will be no change in the qualifying salary for P1 Pass which remains at $8,000. Foreigners can perform certain activities in Singapore for short durations without a work pass. Before engaging in these activities, they are required to submit an e-Notification to inform Ministry of Manpower.

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