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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).
is a special school
for high-functioning autistic
children, located in Ang Mo Kio
. Founded in 2004, it is run by the non-profit Autism Resource Centre
, and comprises one half of the national educational provision for autistic children. Unlike most special schools in Singapore, Pathlight School uses the same academic curriculum as mainstream primary and secondary schools. Some of these academic lessons are conducted by Pathlight teachers at nearby schools due to a lack of facilities. The school also coaches students in social and life skills and prepares them for employment, in an autism friendly
Pathlight School is run by the Autism Resource Centre, a non-profit organisation. It is headed by Denise Phua, a Singapore Member of Parliament. The school has currently more than 500 pupils enrolled, and is noted for its achievements in special education in Singapore.
Yip Pin Xiu (Chinese: 叶品秀; pinyin: Yè Pǐnxìu), born 1992) is a Singaporean backstroke swimmer. She has muscular dystrophy and competes in the S3 category for the physically impaired. Since 2005, she has won medals in international competitions such as the World Wheelchair and Amputee Games, Japan Paralympic Swimming Championships and International German Paralympic Swimming Championships. At the 2008 Summer Paralympics, she won a gold medal in the 50 metres backstroke and a silver medal in the 50 metres freestyle, setting world records in both events.
Yip was conferred a state medal, the Meritorious Service Medal. Her achievements contributed to public debate about the treatment and recognition of disabled athletes in Singapore. As a result of this debate, the cash rewards for Paralympic medals were doubled and funding for the Singapore National Paralympic Council was increased.