Portal:Singapore

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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 5.6 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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Durio kutejensis fruits
The durian (/ˈdjʊəriən, -æn/) is the fruit of trees from the genus Durio belonging to the Malvaceae, a large family which includes hibiscus, okra, cotton, mallows, and linden trees. Widely known and revered in Southeast Asia as the "King of Fruits", the fruit is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale-yellow to red, depending on the species.

The durian is sometimes featured in the popular culture of Singapore. The durian was a nickname for the protagonist of the Singaporean TV comedy Durian King, and the oddly shaped Esplanade building in Singapore is often called "The Durian" by locals. Despite its great local popularity, the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Singapore.

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Raffles Place
Credit: Someformofhuman (28 March 2010)

Saint Joseph's Church on Victoria Street during a Good Friday evening procession

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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 sign of the Speakers' corner in Singapore

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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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