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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 5.6 million people, of which over half 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 3rd 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).

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The watch tower of the Fort.
Fort Pasir Panjang or Labrador Battery is located within the lush Labrador Park at the southern tip of Singapore island. It was one of the 11 coastal artillery forts built by the British in the 19th century to defend the western passageway into Keppel Harbour against piracy and foreign naval powers. During the 1942 Battle of Pasir Panjang, the fort played a supporting role but a limited one in defending the Malay Regiments against the Japanese invasion at Bukit Chandu. In 1995, the site was gazetted by the National Heritage Board as one of the 11 World War II sites in Singapore.

Labrador was named after Labrador Bay which it overlooks the deep and calm water off its shores. The Long Ya Men (龙牙门) or Dragon's Teeth Gate, two craggy granite outcrops formerly stood on each side of the entrance to the New Harbour (now Keppel Harbour) as a navigation landmark to ancient mariners. The two rock outcrops were subsequently blown up by the Straits Settlement Surveyor, John Thomson, in August 1848 to widen the entrance to the harbour.

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Orchids in Bedok Reservoir Park
Credit: Sippala (28 March 2002)

Bedok Reservoir (Chinese: 勿洛蓄水池; pinyin: Wùluò Xùshuǐchí) is a reservoir located in the eastern part of Singapore, to the north of Bedok New Town. The reservoir has a surface area of 880,000 m², and a capacity of 12.8 million m³. The mean depth of the reservoir is 9 m, with a maximum depth of 18.2 m. The shoreline length is 4.3 km.

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Gan Eng Seng (Chinese: 颜永成; Pinyin: Yan Yongcheng; 1844—1899) was one of the early Chinese pioneers of Singapore known for his generosity to many charitable causes during the era of the British Straits Settlements of Malaya and Singapore. Some of his most recognised contributions known were the setting up of Gan Eng Seng School, the Thong Chai Medical Institution, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the Ee Hoe Hean Club.

Gan was of Hokkien Chinese descent, born and educated in Melaka, and the eldest son of five in his family. His forefathers emigrated from Fujian Province, China to Malaya. Owing to poor circumstances, he probably had an elementary school education in which he learnt to read and write in simple English and keep accounts. After his father's death, sixteen year old Gan was involved in the nutmeg business on a very small scale. Later, he was taken on as an apprentice by Messrs. Guthrie and Company. Gan was diligent and capable, and his ability won him the recognition and keen interest of Thomas Scott, one of the partners in the company. Scott was one of the early British pioneers responsible for developing Tanjung Pagar and the port of Singapore.

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Photo of the Golden Mile Complex
  • ... that in her début at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Tao Li broke the Asian record for the 100m butterfly twice and became the first Singaporean swimmer to enter an Olympic final?

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Bukit Ho Swee
Credit: Sengkang (22 July 2006)

Bukit Ho Swee is a place in Singapore which is located near Jalan Bukit Ho Swee. It was once an unplanned self-built township of about 20,000, though this was destroyed by the Bukit Ho Swee Fire, which broke out on 25 May 1961. It is now a residential area with little remains of its chaotic past.

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