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Orang Singapura
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Total population
c. 3.3 million
Regions with significant populations
 Singapore 3,343,000 (2014)[1]
 Malaysia 55,537 (2011)[citation needed]
 Australia 48,646 (2011)[2]
 United Kingdom 40,000 (2012)[3]
 United States 26,754 (2013)[4]
 China 20,000 (2012)[3]

Malay, English, Chinese, Tamil

Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion
Related ethnic groups
Bruneian, Indonesian and Malaysian peoples

Singaporeans or Singaporean people are people who identify with the city-state of Singapore, regardless of ethnicity. Singapore is a multi-racial country, with Chinese, Malays and Indians making up majority of the population. The majority of Singaporeans descend from the people of China, India and the Malay Archipelago. In 1819, the port of Singapore was established by Sir Stamford Raffles, and opened the port to free trade and free immigration on the south coast of the island. Many immigrants from China and the region settled in Singapore. By 1827, the population of the island made up of people from various ethnic groups.[5]

According to the 2006 AsiaBarometer survey, a majority of Singaporeans identify themselves as "Singaporean", while a small percentage prefer to identify with their racial group.[6] Currently, the population of Singaporeans stands at 3,343,000 and the population of overseas Singaporeans stands at 212,000.[7]


Indigenous population[edit]

The earliest records of settlement on the island dates back to the 2nd century, where the island was identified as a trading port which was part of a chain of similar trading centres that linked Southeast Asia with India and the Mediterranean.[8] The earliest settlers of the island were known as the Orang lauts, and the island was an outpost of the Srivijaya, until their decline in the 11th century.[9] A small Malay kingdom, known as the Kingdom of Singapura was founded in 1299 with a fleeing Srivijayan prince, Sang Nila Utama crowned as Raja of the new state. After the fall of the kingdom in 1398, the island was controlled by a succession of regional empires and Malayan sultanates.[5]

Prior to the arrival of Raffles, there were hundreds of indigenous Malays living on the island under the Johor Sultanate. Most of the indigenous Malays came from the Malay Archipelago.[10] There was an estimated 1,000 people living on the island, where the majority are Orang Laut and a small population of 20–30 Malays who were the followers of Temenggong Abdul Rahman and about 20–30 Chinese.

Modern Singapore[edit]

The majority of Singaporeans today are descendants of immigrants that settled on the island when Singapore was founded as a British trading port by Raffles in 1819.[11] At that time, Raffles decided Singapore would be a free port and as news of the free port spread across the archipelago, Bugis, Peranakan Chinese, and Arab traders flocked to the island, due to the Dutch trading restrictions.[12] After six months Singapore was founded as a free port, the population increased to 5,000, mostly Chinese and by 1825, it had passed the ten thousand mark.

After Singapore was granted self governance from the British, Singaporean citizenship was granted and according to the Singapore Citizenship Ordinance 1957, citizenship was granted to all residents who were born in Singapore or the Federation of Malaya, British citizens who had been resident for two years, and others who had been resident for ten years.[13]

Today, the Singaporean citizenship is granted by birth, by descent, by registration or by naturalisation.[14]

Racial and ethnic groups[edit]

Singaporeans of Chinese descent make up 74.3%, Malays make up 13.3%, Indians make up 9.1% and residents of other ethnicity make up 3.3% of the 3,870,739 of the resident population (including persons holding Permanent Residency).[15] To avoid physical racial segregation and formation of ethnic enclaves common in other multi-racial societies, the Singapore government implemented the "Ethnic Integration Policy" (EIP) in 1989 where each block of units are sold to families from ethnicities roughly comparable to the national average.[16] The country also celebrates Racial Harmony Day to commemorate the 1964 race riots in Singapore and to remember the consequences of racial disharmony the country experienced during the 1964 racial riots.[17]

Other minority groups in Singapore include, Arab, Armenians, Australians, Chitty, Eurasians, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Nepalis, Pakistanis, Peranakan and Sri Lankans.


Singapore has four official languages, English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil.[18] Malay is the ceremonial national language of the country and is the home language to 13% of the population.[19] Although majority of the population do not speak Malay, but as the national language, Malay is used in the national anthem of Singapore and also in citations for Singapore orders and decorations and military foot drill commands.[20] Singapore English is the main language spoken by Singaporeans.[21] It is officially the main language of instruction in all school subjects except for Mother Tongue lessons and is also the common language of the administration, and is promoted as an important language for international business.[22] English is the de facto lingua franca of the country.


  1. ^ Statistics Singapore - Population Trends
  2. ^ "Department of Immigration and Citizenship Australia- Singapore" (PDF). Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "200,000 Singaporeans living aboard" (PDF). National University of Singapore. Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Where do Singaporeans in the US live?". Today. December 17, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "History of Singapore". One World Nations Online. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  6. ^ Siok, K.T. (2012). Happiness and Wellbeing: The Singaporean Experience. Routledge. p. 100. ISBN 9781136177088. 
  7. ^ "2014 Population in Brief". Population SG. Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  8. ^ Hack, Karl. "Records of Ancient Links between India and Singapore". National Institute of Education, Singapore. Retrieved 2006-08-04. 
  9. ^ Heidhues 2001, p. 27
  10. ^ Vasil, R K (2000). Governing Singapore: democracy and national development. Allen & Unwin. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-86508-211-0. ISBN 1-86508-211-2. 
  11. ^ Jenny Ng (1997-02-07). "1819 - The February Documents". Ministry of Defence (Singapore). Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Singapore – Founding and Early Years". U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2006-07-18. 
  13. ^ Lepoer, Barbara Leitch (ed.) (1989). Singapore : A Country Study. Washington, D.C.: GPO for the Library of Congress. , ch. 10 ("Road to Independence").
  14. ^ "Citizenship rules of Singapore". Government of Singapore. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Statistics Singapore - Population Trends" (PDF). SingStat. Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  16. ^ HDB InfoWEB: Ethnic Integration Policy & SPR Quota : Selling Your Flat. Retrieved March 1, 2015
  17. ^ "Speech by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, at the Racial Harmony Day Celebrations on Monday, 21 July 2014, at 9:20am at Elias Park Primary School". MOE, Singapore. Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Official languages and national language". Constitution of the Republic of Singapore. Retrieved 2010-11-11. 
  19. ^ Tan, P.K.W. (2014). Singapore's balancing act, from the perspective of the linguistic landscape. Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, 29(2), 438-436.
  20. ^ Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Act (Cap. 296, 1985 Rev. Ed.)
  21. ^ Gupta, A.F. Fischer, K., ed. "Epistemic modalities and the discourse particles of Singapore" (DOC). Approaches to Discourse Particles (Amsterdam: Elsevier): 244–263. 
  22. ^ "31 March 2000". Retrieved 2011-01-27.