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The Singapore Portal

Flag of Singapore
Location on the world map
Map of Singapore

Singapore is an island nation located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It lies 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the Equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. At 704.0 km² (272 sq mi), it is one of the few remaining city-states in the world and the smallest country in Southeast Asia. Despite its small size, Singapore has a population of slightly over 5 million people, of which 2.91 million were born locally.

The British East India Company established a trading post on the island in 1819. The main settlement up to that point was a Malay fishing village at the mouth of the Singapore River. Several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people also lived around the coast, rivers and smaller islands. The British used Singapore as a strategic trading post along the spice route. It became one of the most important commercial and military centres of the British Empire. Winston Churchill called it "Britain's greatest defeat" when it was occupied by the Japanese during World War II. Singapore reverted to British rule in 1945. In 1963, it merged with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. Less than two years later it split from the federation and became an independent republic on August 9, 1965. Singapore joined the United Nations on September 21 that same year.

Since independence, Singapore's standard of living has increased. A state-led industrialization drive, aided by foreign direct investment has created a modern economy based on electronics manufacturing, petrochemicals, tourism and financial services alongside the traditional entrepôt trade. Singapore is the 17th wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. The small nation has a foreign reserve of S$222 billion (US$147 billion).

Selected Article

The Admiralty IX Floating Dry Dock at Singapore Navy Base, one of the targets in the USAAF bombings in 1945.
The Bombing of Singapore (1944–1945) was a military campaign conducted by the Allied air forces during World War II. United States Army Air Forces long-range bomber units conducted 11 air raids on Japanese-occupied Singapore between November 1944 and March 1945. The Singapore Naval Base had become the most important facility of the Imperial Japanese Navy outside the Japanese home islands. As such, most of these raids targeted the naval base and dockyard facilities on the island.

The raids had mixed results. While significant damage was inflicted on Singapore's important naval base and commercial port, some raids on these targets were not successful and other attacks on oil storage facilities on islands near Singapore were ineffective. The Allied air attacks were, however, successful in raising the morale of Singapore's civilian population. The overall number of civilian casualties from the bombings was low, though one attack rendered hundreds of people homeless and civilian workers were killed during attacks on military facilities. Only nine B-29s were shot down during this bombing campaign.

Selected Picture

Singapore Cable Cars
Credit: Nachoman-au (15 September 2005)

The Singapore Cable Car provides an aerial link from Mount Faber on the main island of Singapore to the resort island of Sentosa across the Keppel Harbour. Opened on 15 February 1974, it was the first aerial ropeway system in the world to span a harbour.

Selected Biography

Walter Woon Cheong Ming (Chinese: 温长明; pinyin: Wēn Chángmíng; born 12 September 1956) is a Singaporean lawyer, academic, diplomat and politician. Educated at NUS and St. John's College, Cambridge, he joined the teaching staff of the NUS Faculty of Law in 1981 and later served as Sub-Dean and Vice-Dean. He was Legal Adviser to the President of Singapore and Council of Presidential Advisors from 1995 to 1997, and was appointed as professor of law in 1999.

Woon was a Nominated Member of Parliament between 1992 and 1996. He became the first Member of Parliament since 1965 to have a private member's bill become a public law in Singapore – the Maintenance of Parents Act, which was passed in 1995. Between 1997 and 2006, Woon served in a number of diplomatic capacities, including the Ambassador to Germany and the Ambassador to Belgium. He served as Attorney-General between 2008 and 2010. He is currently professor of law at the National University of Singapore's Faculty of Law and the Dean of the Singapore Institute of Legal Education.

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photo of a Singapore Coat of Arms

Selected Panorama

Changi Beach Park
Credit: Sengkang (8 July 2006)

The Changi Beach Park (Chinese: 樟宜海滨公园) is a beach park located at the northeastern tip of Singapore. The 28-hectare Changi Beach Park is one of the oldest coastal parks in Singapore. The park is 3.2 km long with stretches of sandy beaches between Changi Point and Changi Ferry Road.


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