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Singapore (/ˈsɪŋ(ɡ)əpɔːr/ (listen)), officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude (137 kilometres or 85 miles) north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bordering the Strait of Malacca to the west, the Singapore Strait to the south, the South China Sea to the east, and the Straits of Johor to the north. The country's territory is composed of one main island, 63 satellite islands and islets, and one outlying islet; the combined area of these has increased by 25% since the country's independence as a result of extensive land reclamation projects. It has the third highest population density in the world. With a multicultural population and recognising the need to respect cultural identities of the major ethnic groups within the nation, Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. English is the lingua franca and numerous public services are available only in English. Multi-racialism is enshrined in the constitution and continues to shape national policies in education, housing, and politics.

Singapore's history dates back at least a millennium, having been a maritime emporium known as Temasek and subsequently as a major constituent part of several successive thalassocratic empires. Its contemporary era began in 1819 when Stamford Raffles established Singapore as an entrepôt trading post of the British Empire. In 1867, the colonies in Southeast Asia were reorganised and Singapore came under the direct control of Britain as part of the Straits Settlements. During World War II, Singapore was occupied by Japan in 1942, and returned to British control as a separate Crown colony following Japan's surrender in 1945. Singapore gained self-governance in 1959 and in 1963 became part of the new federation of Malaysia, alongside Malaya, North Borneo, and Sarawak. Ideological differences, most notably the perceived encroachment of the egalitarian "Malaysian Malaysia" political ideology led by Lee Kuan Yew into the other constituent entities of Malaysia—at the perceived expense of the bumiputera and the policies of Ketuanan Melayu—eventually led to Singapore's expulsion from the federation two years later; Singapore became an independent sovereign country in 1965.

After early years of turbulence whilst lacking natural resources and a hinterland, the nation rapidly developed to become one of the Four Asian Tigers based on international trade and economic globalisation, integrating itself within the world economy through free trade with minimal-to-no trade barriers or tariffs, export-oriented industrialisation, and the large accumulation of received foreign direct investments, foreign-exchange reserves, and assets held by sovereign wealth funds. A highly developed country it has the second-highest GDP per capita (PPP) in the world. Identified as a tax haven, Singapore is the only country in Asia with a AAA sovereign credit rating from all major rating agencies. It is a major aviation, financial, and maritime shipping hub, and has consistently been ranked as one of the most expensive cities to live in for expatriates and foreign workers. Singapore is placed highly in key social indicators: education, healthcare, quality of life, personal safety, infrastructure, and housing, with a home-ownership rate of 88 percent. Singaporeans enjoy one of the longest life expectancies, fastest Internet connection speeds, lowest infant mortality rates, and lowest levels of corruption in the world.

Singapore is a unitary parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government, and its legal system is based on common law. While the country is a multi-party democracy with free elections, the government under the People's Action Party (PAP) wields significant control and dominance over politics and society. The PAP has governed the country continuously since full internal self-government was achieved in 1959, with 83 out of 104 seats in Parliament as of the 2020 general election with 61.23% of the popular vote. One of the five founding members of ASEAN, Singapore is also the headquarters of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) Secretariat, and is the host city of many international conferences and events. Singapore is also a member of the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), East Asia Summit (EAS), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and the Commonwealth of Nations. (Full article...)

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The Four Asian Tigers (also known as the Four Asian Dragons or Four Little Dragons in Chinese and Korean) are the developed East Asian economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. Between the early 1950s and 1990s, they underwent rapid industrialization and maintained exceptionally high growth rates of more than 7 percent a year.

By the early 21st century, these economies had developed into high-income economies, specializing in areas of competitive advantage. Hong Kong and Singapore have become leading international financial centres, whereas South Korea and Taiwan are leaders in manufacturing electronic components and devices. Large institutions have pushed to have them serve as role models for many developing countries, especially the Tiger Cub Economies of southeast Asia. (Full article...)
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Fireworks at the 2009 Singapore National Day
Credit: William Cho (25 July 2009)

The fireworks display over the Marina Bay area as part of the 2009 Singapore National Day Parade preview. Read more...

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Lee Choon Seng (Chinese: 李俊承; pinyin: Lǐ Jùnchéng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Lí Tsùn-sîng; 1888—5 June 1966) was a businessman and philanthropist in pre-independence Singapore. He founded several companies, cultivated rubber plantations in Malaya and started Chinese banks in the region. Lee held leadership roles in several Chinese community organisations in Singapore, notably the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI), and supported Sun Yat-Sen's revolutionary cause in China. In addition, he promoted the growth of Buddhism in Singapore by setting up several Buddhist institutions, including the Singapore Buddhist Lodge, Singapore Buddhist Federation and Poh Ern Shih Temple. In 2008, his life and contributions to society were commemorated in a memorial hall at the Ee Hoe Hean Club. (Full article...)

Did you know (auto-generated)

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  • ... that Ng Yu Zhi owned the only Pagani Huayra in Singapore?
  • ... that to reflect the neighbourhood's heritage as a songbird-watching community, Singapore's Mayflower MRT station is decorated with 22 bird sculptures?
  • ... that gynaecologist Oon Chiew Seng, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2013, was the founding chairperson of the first dementia home in Singapore?
  • ... that Roland Tan, the most-wanted fugitive in Singapore, remained at large for 50 years until his death in April 2020 in Denmark?
  • ... that Singaporean authorities hope that the Mandai Wildlife Bridge will reduce the risk of animals such as Sunda pangolins and leopard cats becoming roadkill?
  • ... that Lim Ban Lim, Singapore's most wanted fugitive, stole at least $2.5 million in his career but was found with only $1.40 on him when he was killed by police?

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  • ... 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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A view from the Singapore Flyer
Credit: Chensiyuan (10 February 2012)

A view of the Marina Bay area from the Singapore Flyer.

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