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Republic of Singapore (English)
Republic of Singapore (Malay)
新加坡 共和国 (Chinese)
சிங்கப்பூர் குடியரசு (Tamil)

Xīnjiāpō Gònghéguó (Chinese)
Ciṅkappūr Kudiyarasu (Tamil)
Republic of Singapore
Singapore flag
Singapore coat of arms
flag coat of arms
Motto : Majulah Singapura
Malay for "Onward, Singapore"
Official language Tamil , Malay 1 , Chinese and English 2
Capital Singapore 3
Form of government republic
Government system Parliamentary illiberal democracy
Head of state President
Halimah Yacob
Head of government Prime Minister
Lee Hsien Loong
surface 725.1 km²
population 5,703,600 (2019)
Population density 7867 ( 2nd ) inhabitants per km²
Population development   +1.2% per year
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 364.1 billion ( 35th )
  • $ 571.7 billion ( 37th )
  • $ 64,579 ( 8. )
  • $ 101,386 ( 4. )
Human Development Index   0.935 ( 9th ) (2018)
currency Singapore Dollar (SGD)
independence August 9, 1965 (from Malaysia )
National anthem Majulah Singapura
Time zone UTC + 8
License Plate SGP
ISO 3166 SG , SGP, 702
Internet TLD .sg
Telephone code +65
1Malay is the national language .
2English is the language of communication, business and administration .
3Singapore is a city-state .
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Singapore (officially the Republic of Singapore , English Republic of Singapore [ ɹɪˈpʰʌb.lɪkʰ.əv.ˈsɪŋ. (G) ə.pʰɔː ], Malay Republic of Singapore , Chinese  新加坡 共和国 , Pinyin Xīnjiāpō Gònghéguó , also: 新加坡 [ ɕin.tɕiɑ.pʰuɔ ], Tamil சிங்கப்பூர் குடியரசு Ciṅkappūr Kudiyarasu ) is an island and city-state and the smallest state in Southeast Asia in terms of area . He is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations .

When the Human Development Index ranked Singapore in 2018 to ninth place. Singapore is one of the richest countries (and cities) in the world and is considered one of the cities with the highest cost of living in the world . In addition, with more than eleven million foreign tourists a year, the city-state is one of the ten most visited cities in the world and, along with Hong Kong, is the most important financial center in Asia. Singapore is a multiethnic state with the Chinese, Malays and Indians making up the largest proportion of the population.

Origin of name

The name “Singapore” comes from Sanskrit and is composed of Singha ( सिंह siṃhalion ”) and Pura ( पुर pura “city”), which means lion city .

According to legend, Sang Nila Utama , a prince from Palembang , the then capital of the Srivijaya Empire, reached Singapore in 1299 and founded the Kingdom of Singapura . After his arrival, the prince is said to have seen a lion in the dense jungle - but it was probably a Malaysian tiger , as no lions lived in this region. Impressed by the encounter, he interpreted it as a good omen and decided to call the place "Lion City" from now on and to build a settlement. The symbol of Singapore has been the Merlion , a mythical creature with a lion's head and a fish body , since 1964 .


Location and area

Panorama of Singapore
Aerial view of Singapore, with Marina Bay Sands in the foreground

The island nation of Singapore comprises a main island , three larger and 58 other smaller islands . It is located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula , separated from it by Johor Street . The islands are the southernmost branch of the rear Indian peninsula and the Asian mainland. In the west, the Strait of Malacca touches one of the most heavily traveled waterways in the world. To the south is the Strait of Singapore . Neighboring states are Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula in the north and Indonesia with Sumatra and the Riau Islands in the south.

The total area roughly corresponds to the area of Hamburg . Land reclamation plays an important role for Singapore. The earth material is taken from our own mountains, the sea floor or from neighboring countries and deposited in the adjacent sea. As a result, the land area rose from 581.5 km² in the 1960s to 725.1 km² today and is expected to grow by around 100 km² (to around 800 km²) by 2030. The MacRitchie reservoir was built in 1868.

Singapore is a city-state . The city of Singapore is located at the coordinates 1 ° 17 ′  N , 103 ° 50 ′  E Coordinates: 1 ° 17 ′  N , 103 ° 50 ′  E on the main island Pulau Ujong , which takes up most of the national territory. The Johor – Singapore Causeway , an artificial dam in the north, connects the main island with Johor Bahru on the mainland belonging to Malaysia. Another connection to the mainland ( Malaysia-Singapore Second Link ) exists in the west through a bridge leading to Gelang Patah . The highest point in the island state is the Bukit Timah Hill at 163.63 meters in the Bukit Timah Reserve .

Sentosa Island is sometimes called the southernmost point of mainland Asia. This is a bit controversial as both Sentosa and Singapore are islands; however, they are connected to the mainland by dams and bridges.


The climate is tropical and humid. The temperature is just over 28 degrees Celsius for most of the year. In the months of October to February, the temperatures are only slightly lower than in the rest of the year, due to the monsoons , with heavier rainfall.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: WMO , ;
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Singapore
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 29.9 31.0 31.4 31.7 31.6 31.2 30.8 30.8 30.7 31.1 30.5 29.6 O 30.9
Min. Temperature (° C) 23.1 23.5 23.9 24.3 24.6 24.5 24.2 24.2 23.9 23.9 23.6 23.3 O 23.9
Precipitation ( mm ) 198.0 154.0 171.0 141.0 158.0 140.0 145.0 143.0 177.0 167.0 252.0 304.0 Σ 2,150
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 5.6 6.5 6.2 5.8 5.8 5.9 6.1 5.8 5.2 5.0 4.3 4.3 O 5.5
Rainy days ( d ) 19th 12 17th 19th 18th 18th 18th 17th 18th 19th 23 22nd Σ 220
Water temperature (° C) 27 27 28 28 28 29 28 28 28 28 28 27 O 27.8
Humidity ( % ) 83 82 83 84 84 83 83 83 84 84 86 87 O 83.8
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: WMO , ;



Population development
year population delta
1950 1,022,000 n / A
1960 1,633,000 + 611,000 (+ 59.78%)
1970 2,072,000 + 439,000 (+26.88%)
1980 2,412,000 + 340,000 (+ 14.10%)
1990 3,013,000 + 601,000 (+ 24.92%)
2000 3,914,000 + 901,000 (+ 29.90%)
2010 5,074,000 + 1,160,000 (+29.64%)
2017 5,709,000 + 635,000 (+ 12.51%)
Population pyramid 2016: Singapore has an extremely low birth rate

According to the Singapore Statistical Office, the total population in December 2016 was 5.6 million people. The citizens and residents with permanent residence permits (permanent residents) belong to different ethnic groups:

76.8 percent are Chinese, 13.8 percent Malay, 7.9 percent Indian and 1.4 percent other. According to the Department of Statistics, there are around 1.2 million guest workers and foreigners in Singapore. Statistics on the ethnicity of guest workers and foreigners are not published.

Singapore has a fertility rate of 1.2 children per woman (2017). 15 percent of the population are under 15 years old, 12 percent are over 64 years old (as of 2017). Life expectancy at birth was 80.1 years for men and 84.5 years for women (as of 2017) and was one of the highest in the world.

The correct German name for citizens of the state of Singapore is “Singaporean” or “Singaporean woman”; the sometimes used "Singapuri" is based on a false analogy to other word formations.


Singapore has the following four official languages: Chinese , English , Malay and Tamil . In business life and as a lingua franca, English is primarily used. English is also the language of instruction in a large number of schools.

Since a large part of the Singaporean population comes from southern China , many southern Chinese dialects are spoken in Singapore (e.g. Teochew or Hokkien ). To strengthen the influence of Mandarin Chinese , the government launches the so-called “Speak Mandarin” campaign every year. In the meantime (as of 2015) most ethnic Chinese speak predominantly the standard language or English at home; only 16% still speak predominantly “dialects”.

Overall, English or Singlish is spoken most often at home (37%), followed by Standard Chinese (35%), Chinese dialects (12%), Malay (11%) and Tamil (3%).


The most widespread religions in Singapore are Buddhism (33% of the total population aged 15 and over), Christianity (19%, e.g. 2.8% Roman Catholic ), Islam (14%), Daoism (10th %) and Hinduism (5%). The Jewish community follows the Sephardic rite and has the synagogues Maghain Aboth (since 1878) and Chesed-El (since 1905), it has around 2500 members. 18.5% of the population of Singapore do not belong to any religion.

In Singapore, due to its limited space, institutions of different religions can be found in close proximity to one another. Buddhist and Hindu temples, Christian churches and Islamic mosques are partly next to each other or directly opposite. There are no arguments because of the tightness. This peaceful coexistence is the result of years of effort, equality and the guarantee of mutual respect. For example, the canteens of all state schools adhere to the Islamic halāl requirements - the halāl dishes are separated from the others. However, the pupils or students eat together; they just bring their dishes back to other places after eating. This is just one of many solutions in Singapore to enable close interactions between people of different religions and at the same time to guarantee everyone the freedom for their own religion. The Sri Mariamman Temple in the middle of Chinatown is another example of the unusual coexistence of people in Singapore.



Many parents let their children start teaching early, sometimes as early as the first year of life. There is a place in kindergarten for every child. Depending on the age, the stay can vary from two hours to the whole day. In addition to the state kindergarten (PAP), there are private after-school care centers in all variations, from Montessori to bilingual or trilingual kindergartens. Singapore also has international schools and kindergartens. Many children learn Singlish there on a permanent basis , a variety of English that contains parts of these children's mother tongues. However, the language of instruction is English.

Singaporean school

Students gather in the assembly hall of Nan Hua High School .

Singaporeans are not allowed to attend international schools unless they have another nationality. Instead, Singaporeans can choose between state and private schools. It should be noted here that there are state and private elite schools. To study at these schools, you have to take part in a selection process and apply one to two years in advance.

A well-known high school is Dunman High School .

Some of the most famous schools for the seventh through tenth grade are Raffles Institution, Raffles Girls 'School, Hwa Chong Institution, Anglo-Chinese Independent School, Nanyang Girls' School. For the eleventh and twelfth grades (high school graduation years) there are schools like National Junior College (the first junior college in Singapore), Hwa Chong Institution, Raffles Junior College, Victoria Junior College and Temasek Junior College. Students in the 18 junior colleges usually complete their Abitur (the Singapore-Cambridge GCE 'Advanced' Level Examinations ) in two years. Only in one Centralized Institute (Millennia Institute) do students do it in three years.

In addition, usually only students with very good grades in the sixth grade have the opportunity to study another foreign language (a third language) (French, German, Japanese, Malay, Indonesian and Arabic) at the Language Center of the Ministry of Education ( MOELC ). Some schools like National Junior College and Raffles Junior College also have their own language programs for some levels. Lately, with the support of the Ministry of Education, there have been more opportunities for exchange programs, especially between schools within ASEAN .

The schools in Singapore are considered to be extremely productive, especially in math and science. The students from Singapore regularly achieve top positions at TIMSS . In the 2015 PISA ranking, the country's schoolchildren came first out of 72 participating countries in all three categories (science, math and reading). The pressure to perform in schools is considered to be very high.

International schools

There is a wide choice for expatriates , here are the eleven most important international schools:

  1. Dover Court Preparatory School - children with special problems can also be accommodated and cared for here
  2. French School of Singapore
  3. German European School Singapore
  4. Overseas Family School
  5. Singapore American School
  6. Singapore International School
  7. Swiss School Association Singapore - Swiss School Singapore
  8. Tanglin Trust School - based on the UK system
  9. The Australian International School Singapore
  10. The Canadian International School Singapore
  11. United World College of South East Asia


Singapore has three state universities:

  • The city's oldest university, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is located 12 kilometers outside the city center in Kent Ridge. According to the “World University Ranking” of the British “Times Higher Education Supplement” (2006), it is one of the 20 best universities in the world.
  • The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is located in the far west of the main island of Singapore in Jurong , about 25 km outside the city center. The university was founded on July 1, 1991 by parliamentary resolution. It emerged from the former Nanyang Technological Institute (NTI), which was founded in August 1981. The university can be reached via the MRT to Boon Lay or Pioneer, from there two bus lines or one of the two bus lines and a shuttle bus go directly to the NTU campus. The National Institute of Education (NIE) is affiliated with the NTU . There the teachers for the high schools in Singapore are trained.
  • The newest university, the Singapore Management University (SMU), moved into its new inner city campus in Bras Basah, MRT station Dhoby Ghaut, in the summer of 2005.

In addition to the state universities, there are a number of private, mostly foreign universities and educational institutions, such as the French Insead . Another university is a branch of the Sorbonne in Singapore. Theology, politics and economics are taught there.

The Technical University of Munich operates the TUM Asia mentioned German Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) since 2002, a branch in Singapore.

The University of St. Gallen also operates a branch in Singapore with the St. Gallen Institute of Management in Asia.

  • A fourth public university in the northeast of the city is being planned.
  • For several years now, the universities have been organizing regular events aimed at promoting private relationships and starting families between academics.
  • There is also a Qantm or SAE Institute in Singapore, where students can learn media professions and obtain a bachelor's degree.


Statue of Thomas Stamford Raffles by Thomas Woolner , built on the (presumed) landing point.

Trading center

The earliest records of Singapore come from 3rd century Chinese texts. The island served as an outpost of the Sumatra-based Srivijaya Empire . Singapore originally had the Javanese name Temasek. After Temasek initially rose to become an important trading town, it soon lost its importance again. Apart from a few archaeological traces and Temasek Avenue , hardly anything remains from that period.

On January 28, 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles , commercial agent for the British East India Company , arrived in Singapore and on February 6 of the same year established the first British branch. Hence, he is considered to be the founder of modern Singapore. The island was previously inhabited by only 20 Malay fishing families and was a haven for pirates. In 1824 the company had captured the entire island, which it had bought from the Sultan of Johor for $ 60,000 and an annual pension of $ 24,000.

British Crown Colony

In 1826 Singapore became part of the Straits Settlements and in 1836 their capital. On April 1, 1867, the Straits Settlements became a British crown colony against the backdrop of further territorial expansion - and so did Singapore. Singapore soon grew in importance as a transshipment port due to its geographical location along the busy shipping routes between China and Europe. In 1881 the total population of Singapore was 172,993. The appearance of the city and its people at that time was captured in countless photos by GR Lambert & Co.

Singapore towards the end of the 19th century

During the Second World War , Japanese troops invaded Malaysia and surrounded the island. The inadequately prepared British, Australian and Indian soldiers under Arthur Percival could not hold on despite their numerical superiority. They lost in the Battle of Singapore the Japanese army and surrendered in February 1942. The Japanese named Singapore consecutive Shonan-tō ( 昭南島 ), short for Showa no jidai ni eta minami no shima ( 昭和の時代に得た南の島 ) "Island in the south that was won in the Shōwa period " and held it until the Japanese surrender in September 1945.

In 1945 Singapore came back under British rule. Under British administration, women were given the right to vote and stand for election on July 18, 1947 and exercised this right for the first time in the 1948 elections to the Legislative Council . In 1959, Singapore became a self-governed crown colony , whose government was the first Prime Minister to be led by Lee Kuan Yew after the 1959 People's Action Party (PAP) election .


Old Chinese residential and commercial building on Club Street, Telok Ayer

After a nationwide referendum in 1962, Singapore was released into a federation with Malaya , Sabah and Sarawak and thus became independent from the United Kingdom on September 1, 1963 . In the fall of 1964, there was massive unrest between Chinese and non-Chinese residents. Violent ideological conflicts between the government provided by the PAP and the federation government in Kuala Lumpur, as well as fears on the Malaysian side that the unrest could spread beyond the city's borders, led to the expulsion of Singapore from the federation on August 7, 1965. Two days later, on August 9, 1965, Malaysia became the first state to recognize Singapore's sovereignty. Since then, August 9 has been Singapore's national holiday.

With independence in 1965, the active and passive right to vote for women was confirmed.

The young and territorially restricted nation had to fight for its economic independence and was faced with problems such as mass unemployment, shortages of housing, arable land and raw materials such as oil. During his tenure as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990, Lee Kuan Yew successfully fought mass unemployment, the standard of living and Singapore's economic strength rose. As one of the four tiger states , Singapore made the leap from a developing country to an industrial nation within a generation .

On November 26, 1990, Goh Chok Tong took over the post of Prime Minister. Under his government, the country faced new problems: in 1997 there was an economic slump with the Southeast Asian crisis, in 2003 SARS dampened economic development, and there was also the terrorist threat from the Jemaah Islamiah (JI). On August 12, 2004, Lee Hsien Loong , the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, was elected Singapore's third prime minister in the parliament, which is still dominated by the PAP.


Political system

The head of state is the president, who has veto rights in some key areas and appoints the chief judges. The president has theoretically been elected directly by the people every six years since 1993. In 1993, Ong Teng Cheong was elected president. Since then, the 1999 and 2005 elections have been canceled because only one candidate - Sellappan Ramanathan - was accepted by the electoral commission. Only after 18 years in 2011 was there another election that Tony Tan Keng Yam won. For the elections in September 2017, Halimah Yacob was the only candidate, which is why there was no election this year. Halimah was appointed eighth President on September 13, 2017, and the official swearing-in ceremony took place on September 14.

houses of Parliament

The legislature is the parliament . The executive branch is formed by the cabinet headed by the prime minister as head of government. Voting is compulsory (non-voters are removed from the electoral roll and only added again on request, possibly subject to a fee).

Singapore's politics have been dominated by the People's Action Party (PAP) since independence in 1965 . Critics classify Singapore as a one-party state , and the PAP are accused of rigid actions against the opposition parties. The PAP is supposed to have a manipulative effect or to get unpleasant opponents out of the way through civil law suits ( defamation ). The extremely strict majority voting system also contributed to the dominant position of the PAP and resulted in only a few opposition members sitting in parliament. The restrictions in public and private life should also be mentioned. Critics also claim that Singapore's courts are on the side of the government, even if some cases have been won by the opposition . Western democracies therefore sometimes consider Singapore's form of government closer to authoritarianism than to democracy in the western sense. In Freedom Index 2017 by Freedom House , the political system of the country is assessed as "partly free". Singapore received a grade of 4 in the “political rights” category and also a grade of 4. In the Economist's 2019 Democracy Index , Singapore was ranked 76th out of 167 countries and is therefore considered an “incomplete democracy”. The Bertelsmann Transformation Index 2020 assigned Singapore to the autocratic ruled states, in particular due to the repression of the opposition.

However, Singapore has a very successful market economy . The policy of the PAP contains socialist aspects, such as a large-scale public housing program and a dominance of state companies in the local economy. In the past, however, the PAP partially distanced itself from the Western value system. In this context, the former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew cited the incompatibilities of Western democracies with “Asian values”. In the recent past, the PAP loosened parts of its socially conservative policy.

The interplay of Confucian- oriented, state-publicly communicated ethics, strict laws, a high degree of surveillance and very little corruption are characteristic of Singapore . Proponents of these guidelines see this as the cause of a prosperous society with one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

Critics criticize the authoritarian manifestations of the Singaporean state system, for example the requirement that a state license is required if more than three people want to speak publicly about politics, religion or internal affairs of the state.


Administrative structure

Indonesien Malaysia South West North West Central Singapore North East South East South East
Administrative division into five CDC districts

The administrative structure of Singapore includes five Community Development Council (CDC) districts, which are administered by mayors ( Mayors ) and local councils. These are further subdivided into Town Councils :

  1. Central Singapore District
  2. North East District
  3. North West District
  4. South East District
  5. South West District

State planning structure

The five districts of the administrative division are not identical to the five regions of the state planning.

Originally only the south of the country on the Singapore River was inhabited. The rest of the country consisted of tropical rainforest or was used for agriculture. In the 1960s, new urban areas were established primarily as satellite cities outside the original urban area. The government agency Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is responsible for urban development. Particular emphasis is placed on efficient land use and distribution as well as traffic planning. The land use for the 55 planning areas including the 2 water protection areas, which are grouped into five regions, is determined in a development plan. The individual planning areas are in turn divided into a different number of so-called subzones.

The 55 urban planning areas (UPA) of the Urban Redevelopment Authority / URA (including 2 water catchment areas ) are grouped into five regions.
region Largest suburb Area
06/30/2017 1)
density UPA
Central region Bukit Merah 132.7 930,600 7,015 12
East region Bedok 93.1 690.510 7,417 6th
North Region 2) Woodlands 97.3 543.360 5,104 8th
North-East Region Hougang 141.1 889,300 8,559 7th
West Region 3) Jurong West 201.3 911.760 4,529 12
Singapore Bedok 704.0 3,965,530 5,633 55
1) Resident population only (non-resident population totaled 1,646,457 people in 2017)
2) with Central Water Catchment, Singapore
3) with Western Water Catchment, Singapore

Relationship between state and religion

The Singaporean state sums up its relationship to religion in public in the concept of muscular secularism (English, analogous translation: "defensive" or "vigilant secularism "). According to repeated statements by Singaporean officials, the aim of this political stance is to ensure social cohesion on the one hand and to protect the multi-ethnic and multi-religious city-state from religious extremism on the other. Essentially, four legal texts form the legal basis of Singaporean secularism; the Internal Security Act , the Sedition Act , the Undesirable Publications Act, and the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act ("Act on Public Insurrection ") to maintain religious harmony ”). Civil society actors in the country oppose this policy with the antithesis of liberal secularism , which calls for the state to withdraw from interreligious differences of opinion on the one hand and to facilitate religious activities in public space on the other.

Security policy

Singapore has been conceiving its security policy since 1984 as a networking of all areas of public life, known locally as Total Defense (in German, for example: "comprehensive preparedness").

Total Defense is based on five pillars, namely military, civil, economic, social and psychological characteristics. The approach has to be seen against the background of several factors, such as Singapore's dependence on Malaysian freshwater imports.

Decrease in crime

A decline in crime has been observed worldwide, but crime rates in Singapore are extremely low. Politics also contributed to the above-average decline.

The homicides rate is used as an index for comparing the propensity to violence over long periods of time and over large spatial distances. Singapore only had 0.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017. East Asian countries averaged 0.6. In comparison, Germany had one case per 100,000 inhabitants, which is the average in Western Europe.

Long Term Murder Rate Trends in Jamaica and Singapore, 19th Century to Present. (The Straits Settlements were an association of colonies that also included Singapore)

Singapore has not always had low crime rates. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( english United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime , UNODC ) explores changes in crime in different countries and makes them social and political changes over the same periods against. From these comparisons, factors are identified that have a positive or negative influence on the development of crime. In one example, the UNODC compares Jamaica and Singapore. These two tropical, multiethnic island states have a population of the same order of magnitude and are exactly opposite on the globe. Even on the list of countries sorted by death rate , they are at the opposite extremes. That was not always so. As former British colonies, they were similar in many ways. The political and legal system adopted from England also dates from this period. The level of development in both countries was comparable.

The killing rates (as an index for the total crime rate) also developed in parallel until shortly before independence, which was achieved in both countries in the early 1960s. The rates at that time were four to five per 100,000 inhabitants. The divergence began even before sovereignty was achieved. Crime increased in Jamaica and decreased in Singapore. In Jamaica, the rate rose to over 60 in the 2000s. In Singapore it stagnated at around two per 100,000 until the 1990s, only to drop to 0.2 to 0.3. In 2017 there were 11 homicides in Singapore and 1,647 in Jamaica.

The relatively recent divergence between the two states makes it unlikely that the causes lie in centuries-old factors such as the past with slavery in Jamaica. The UNODC sees the development of crime as being influenced more by indirect factors than by political measures aimed at crime. The UNODC cites the country's politics, which are closely linked to the first President Lee Kuan Yew , as the main cause of the great decline in crime in Singapore . Specifically mentioned are the promotion of the rule of law, the fight against corruption, performance-oriented administration with competitive pay, strategic investments in general education and a health system, as well as social housing in order to minimize social exclusion. In addition, value strategies have been introduced that encourage hard work, social cohesion and mutual respect. It is also possible that targeted measures to combat crime played a role, such as law and order and rehabilitation programs.

For example, the UNODC identified the death penalty as an ineffective instrument. Singapore had one of the highest execution rates in the world. The death penalty was widely used between 1994 and 2004, but it did not lead to any development in murder rates other than in Hong Kong , where the death penalty was abolished in 1993. Both countries had similar falling rates during this period.

In principle, the UNODC emphasizes good governance, the rule of law and a consistent relationship between the state and civil society as beneficial in the fight against crime. It is questionable how far national policy alone is responsible for a specific crime trend. Changes in values, social and societal processes, but also cross-border crime, also affect neighboring countries. The Caribbean state of Jamaica is in the region of the world with the highest murder rates and the only region in the world with a documented increase in crime in recent decades. The cross-border drug trade intensifies the fatal bond there. A positive example are Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, China and Japan. Crime rates have been falling in these Asian countries for decades. In western countries, too, the cultural ties are evident and a parallel decline in crime over the centuries is well documented.


The Singapore Armed Forces comprise the armed forces, army , navy and air force .

The army has around 50,000 active soldiers and a reserve of 170,000 men. The equipment includes AMX-13 -SM1 battle tanks and Bionix AFV and M113 armored personnel carriers . 102 Leopard 2A4s entered service in 2008. In May 2014 it became known that Singapore ranks among the top countries to which weapons from Germany are exported.

The 4,500-strong Marine has five stealth frigates and corvettes , patrol boats and landing craft . The submarine fleet has boats of the Swedish Sjöormen class , which were supplemented by boats of the Archer class until 2010 .

The air forces formed after the withdrawal of the Royal Air Force in 1968 now number 6,000 men and are with aircraft of the types F-16 , F-15 , F-5 and C-130 Hercules and helicopters of the types AS 332 , Apache , CH-47 and S-70 equipped.

Singapore spent just under 3.4 percent of its economic output or $ 9.9 billion on its armed forces in 2016. Singapore ranked 2nd in the Global Militarization Index (GMI) in 2018 .

Foreign policy

Locations of the Singapore diplomatic missions

Singapore pursues a flexible and pragmatic foreign policy. Your main goals are:

  • Promoting a cosmopolitan trading system; at the same time conclusion of bilateral free trade agreements. Agreements are already in force with the ASEAN countries (ASEAN Free Trade Area), Australia , PR China , Costa Rica , the EFTA countries, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, India , Japan , Jordan , New Zealand , Panama , Peru , South Korea , Taiwan , the founding states of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (in addition to Singapore: Brunei , Chile , New Zealand) and the USA. A free trade agreement has been signed with Turkey . In September 2013, after two and a half years of negotiations, the EU and Singapore initialed a free trade agreement. The European Court of Justice is currently dealing with questions of competence on the European side.
  • Ensure national security by continuing to modernize the armed forces and rely on the US military presence in the region
  • Maintaining bilateral relations with neighboring countries and cooperation in particular with partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
  • Further development of relations with the USA, China, Japan and Europe (process of the Euro-Asian summits / ASEM).

Singapore has been an active member of the United Nations and its specialized agencies since September 21, 1965. From 2000 to 2002 Singapore was represented for the first time as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. It is also a member of the Commonwealth and - in its role as coordinator of the "Global Governance Group" - a regular guest at the G20 meetings, most recently at the Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bonn in February 2017.

Singapore plays a key role in the ASEAN network. With regional cooperation in the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and ASEAN framework, it is pursuing the goal of strengthening its foreign policy weight, its security, its export markets and investment opportunities in the region. Singapore is the seat of the APEC Secretariat.

In the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) established by the ASEAN countries, Singapore is actively trying to promote the security dialogue with countries such as the USA and China.


Prohibition sign in the metro

Many of Singapore's laws are very strict. An English proverb says, "Singapore is a fine city" ( fine has the meaning beautiful , but also fine ). The sometimes horrific penalties listed below for comparatively minor offenses are rarely enforced in practice and serve more as a deterrent.

Criminal offenses

  • Vandalism and graffiti can result in prison sentences as well as being beaten with a cane .
  • The sale of chewing gum was banned from 1992 to May 2004. The import of chewing gum is prohibited, except for those for medical use. The sale of chewing gum is now permitted, but still severely restricted. The buyer must show a doctor's prescription and ID card . If the pharmacist fails to record the buyer's name, he or she may be fined SGD 3,000. There are different opinions about the reasons for the cancellation. Other sugar-free and "health-promoting" chewing gums have also been released under pressure from Wrigley .
  • High fines and social work fines (e.g. cleaning the beach with a fluorescent vest and the label “ORDER FOR corrective work”) are imposed on people who carelessly throw garbage (including cigarette butts) on the street.
  • Eating, drinking, smoking and transporting dangerous goods on public transport are subject to heavy fines (500 to 5,000 SGD).
  • The transport of the odor-intensive durian fruits in public transport is also prohibited, but there is no threat of punishment. Due to the great popularity of the fruit, the ban on buses is largely ignored.
  • There is a general smoking ban in public buildings, public transport and restaurants as well as in groups of more than five people (for example in queues). As of July 1, 2007, smoking is no longer permitted in bars and discos. Outside bars and restaurants there are smoking areas, in discos there are smoking rooms.
  • When entering from Malaysia there is no duty-free limit for goods purchased abroad. When entering from Indonesia, the duty-free limits are staggered depending on how long (24, 48 or 72 hours) you left Singapore.
  • Singapore is the only country in the world into which cigarettes cannot be imported duty free . The fine for importing a carton of cigarettes is ten times the price within Singapore (currently 110 SGD, hence 1100 SGD, or around 740 euros). Even if you carry an opened box with you, it can contain a maximum of 17 cigarettes. Tobacco products can be bought officially at the airport when you leave the country.
  • Lies are punished with high penalties similar to fraud (2,000 to 10,000 SGD) if they can be proven. In addition, the sentence can also result in being beaten with a cane . Usually the penalties for so-called "lying" are 3 to 8 strokes.
  • Sexual practices that are considered “unnatural” by the government are illegal. This includes every form of homosexual sex (cf. homosexuality in Singapore ). However, corresponding laws are not applied. In October 2007, oral and anal intercourse was legalized for heterosexual people aged 16 and over.

Corporal punishment

In Singapore, corporal punishment is imposed in addition to imprisonment for serious crimes ( e.g. rape ), but often also for a number of offenses that are considered administrative offenses by European standards . These are only enforced against men between the ages of 16 and 50, who, regardless of age, are punished with up to 24 lashes in one pass on the bare buttocks . In this so-called caning , the delinquent is stretched over a beating block and receives severe blows with a long cane from a specially trained judicial officer in a specified procedure , which lead to permanent scars. The purpose is to achieve maximum agony with the smallest permanent damage. The cane used is about 1.20 meters long and 13 millimeters thick, but extremely elastic; the instructors are required to reach speeds of at least 160 km / h with the stick and to pull the stick when it hits the tissue in order to tear the skin with each blow. This type of punishment is also used against tourists and other non-locals and has repeatedly been criticized internationally in the past. Since 2006, illegal immigrant workers have been punished on a large scale with a few months' imprisonment and three to six cane lashes before being deported without any criminal offense other than attempting to work in Singapore.

death penalty

In response to a report by Amnesty International , the Singaporean government published an overview in January 2004 showing the number of executions between 1990 and 2005. At least 420 people have been executed since 1991, one every 14 days on average, 85 to 90% of them for drug trafficking. There were also some western foreigners among them. Extrapolated to the population of Germany, this would correspond to around 8,000 people executed in the same period, in the USA 28,000 (actually: 884).

The rules for narcotics are very strict. Anyone who was arrested with more than 15 grams of heroin , 30 grams of morphine (or more than 1,200 grams of opium, if 30 grams of morphine had not been reached beforehand), 30 grams of cocaine , 250 grams of methamphetamine or 500 grams of cannabis had to face the death penalty . Since November 2012, Singapore law no longer mandates the death penalty for drug trafficking and homicides, but gives judges the discretion to impose life imprisonment for mere drug couriers and offenders who cooperate with the investigative authorities.

In March 2002, the case of a young German who faced the death penalty for drug trafficking attracted a great deal of attention. It was only through a subsequent laboratory analysis of the cannabis that had been seized that a purity value of less than 500 grams was determined, whereby the woman escaped death by hanging and was instead sentenced to a five-year prison sentence, which was later reduced by two years for good conduct.

Overall, the death penalty has failed as a deterrent in the drug sector, which accounts for 90% of the death penalty, only cannabis use is low, although not uncommon in Asia. Heroin is the most widely consumed drug, according to a 2012 state report. The price of heroin is very low compared to the risks. As in the USA, the use of methamphetamine, which is largely produced in Singapore itself, is increasing rapidly. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, the amount seized increased by 261 percent. However, the increase in the amount consumed is likely to be even higher.

Criticism of the sentences

In recent years, the Singapore government has relaxed some of the tough laws. For example, bungee jumping has been legalized and film censorship has been relaxed. There are also signs that the government is considering easing legal restrictions on sexuality with a view to improving the demographic situation. This also applies to homosexuals: As in other large cities in Southeast Asia, a small “scene” has now also established itself in Singapore.

The death penalty is also criticized by human rights activists. Small associations that speak out against the death penalty exist and are tolerated by the government. A particularly critical point was the mandatory death sentence due to the possession of intoxicants above a specified amount, which was valid until 2012. Opponents of this regulation saw it as an undermining of judicial authority.


Economic structure

The Concert Hall on the Singapore River: The Esplanade
The Marina Bay Sands hotel is a tourist attraction

As one of the so-called tiger states , Singapore made the leap from an emerging country to an industrialized state or an economy primarily focused on services within a few decades. The development of the economy began in colonial times. As early as the 19th century, when Singapore became a British colony, it was considered a major trading center for goods with its very favorable water transport location between China and Europe. As a result, commercial and industrial areas are mainly on the coasts. Many products are only processed or refined in Singapore, e.g. B. Food, petroleum, rubber, steel and machinery. Singapore's trading partners are the USA, Great Britain, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand. Despite its small size and small population, Singapore was the 11th largest exporting nation in the world in 2016, with exports of goods and services valued at US $ 511 billion. Singapore was also one of the few nations in the world where the value of exports exceeded that of gross domestic product, which shows Singapore's close links with world trade. In the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum, Singapore took first place in 2019, as well as in the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking (2020).

There are still disputes with Malaysia about the water supply and the settlement of the costs incurred. Singapore is in dire need of water imports. Water is supplied from Malaysia and treated by Singapore. There are also (border) disputes over Singapore's land reclamation, bridge construction and sea borders. Malaysia contractually guarantees water supply until 2061.

Singapore is one of the most deregulated and privatized economies in the world. In 2017, it ranked second behind Hong Kong in the Economic Freedom Index . Singapore is one of the most liberal economies in the world. The highly regulated housing market is a major exception.

In addition, Singapore ranks second worldwide in the Ease of Doing Business Survey (2018) carried out by the World Bank.

The state also has an influence on economic activity through the Temasek holding , which is owned by the government. Temasek invests strategically in the country's companies. Singapore aims to become a biotechnology hub in Asia. A * STAR, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research , a government agency, supports research capacities in Singapore. Private and state institutes, biotech and pharmaceutical companies are located in the newly created Biopolis . The port of Singapore is one of the most modern and largest transshipment centers in the world. The Straits Times Index is the leading stock index on the Singapore Exchange .

Singapore is of particular importance as an international financial center and in so-called " wealth management ", i. H. as a tax haven . In 2017, Singapore was ranked fourth on the list of the 17 largest tax havens in the world by the organization "Global Citizens". After the 2008/09 financial crisis, the volume of assets under management in Singapore doubled to around 2.5 trillion Singapore dollars by 2015. A part of these funds flowed into huge shopping malls, hotels and other investments on site, so that overcapacities in retail are complained. A consolidation phase in the banking sector has been emerging since 2014. Some European banks closed their subsidiaries. In a ranking of the world's most important financial centers, Singapore was ranked 4th (as of 2018).

With 11.8 million foreign visitors in 2015, Singapore was one of the most visited cities in the world. Tourism is specifically promoted by the government with marketing campaigns and generates billions in income every year. Citizens of Singapore themselves are allowed to enter 159 countries without a visa, which means that the residents of Singapore have the most powerful passport in the world, as Paraguay lifted the VISA restrictions for Singapore on October 24, 2017 and Germany is now in second place with 158 countries.

After the Corruption Perception Index ( Corruption Perceptions Index ) of Transparency International was Singapore in 2017 from 180 countries, along with Sweden in 6th place, with 84 of a maximum of 100 points. Singapore thus had the lowest corruption of all countries in Asia. In addition, Singapore ranks first in Asia in the Global Competitiveness Ranking for the protection of intellectual property. The World Justice Project , “Rule of Law Index 2018” ranks Singapore 13th worldwide and 1st in Asia. In addition, Singapore achieved first place in the International Arbitration Survey (2018) in the category "Most efficient framework in settling disputes" and third place worldwide in the category "Preferred Seat for International Arbitration".

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit , Singapore was the world's most expensive city in 2014. In a ranking of cities according to their quality of life, Singapore ranked 25th out of 231 cities worldwide in 2018.


  • Gross domestic product (2016): 296.6 billion euros; Shares (2016): 26.6 percent industry and 73.4 percent services
  • The people of Singapore are among the wealthiest in the world.
  • GDP / capita (PPP) (2016): $ 87,855
  • GDP / capita (2016): $ 52,961
  • Employees (2004): Services 67.4 percent, industry 32.6 percent, agriculture is almost non-existent,
  • Unemployment (2016): 2.1 percent
  • Foreign trade (2016): 283.0 billion euros (thereof from Germany: 6.7) imports and 329.9 billion euros (thereof to Germany: 5.3) exports
  • Among other things, Singapore is a member of APEC and is part of the P4 Agreement , a free trade agreement that also includes Brunei , Chile and New Zealand . A free trade agreement with the European Union was ready for decision in October 2014; On October 19, 2018, the EU signed a free trade and investment agreement with Singapore at the ASEM summit.
Development of important economic indicators

The key economic indicators of gross domestic product, inflation, budget balance and foreign trade have developed as follows in recent years:

Change in gross domestic product (GDP)
in% compared to the previous year (real)
year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Change in% yoy 8.9 9.1 1.8 −0.6 15.2 6.4 4.1 5.1 3.9 2.2 2.4 3.6
Source: World Bank.
Development of GDP (nominal)
absolute (in billion US $)
Development of GDP (nominal)
per inhabitant (in thousand US $)
year 2014 2015 2016 year 2014 2015 2016
GDP in billion US $ 308.1 296.8 296.9 GDP per inhabitant (in thousands of US $) 56.3 53.6 52.9
Source: World Bank.
Development of the inflation rate
in% compared to the previous year
Development of the budget balance
in% of GDP
year 2013 2014 2015 2016 year 2003 2004 2005
inflation rate 2.4 1.0 −0.5 −0.5 Budget balance 5.7 6.0 6.0
Source: World Bank.
Development of foreign trade
in billion US $ and its change compared to the previous year in%
2014 2015 2016
Billion US $ % yoy Billion US $ % yoy Billion US $
% year-on-year
import 366.2 −1.8 296.7 −15.4 283.0 −4.6
export 409.8 −0.1 346.6 −15.4 329.9 −4.8
balance +43.5 +49.9 +46.9
Source: GTAI
Singapore's main trading partner (2016), source: GTAI
Export (in percent) to Import (in percent) of
China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 13.0 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 29.1
Hong KongHong Kong Hong Kong 12.6 MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia 11.4
MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia 10.6 United StatesUnited States United States 10.9
IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia 7.8 TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Taiwan 8.2
United StatesUnited States United States 6.9 JapanJapan Japan 7.0
TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Taiwan 4.5 Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea 6.0
JapanJapan Japan 4.4 IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia 4.8
other countries 47.6 other countries 37.4

State budget

The state budget included expenditures in 2016 of the equivalent of 44.8 billion US dollars , which were income equivalent to 46.8 billion US dollar against. This results in a budget surplus of 0.6% of gross domestic product (GDP).

The national debt was US $ 186.6 billion or 113.1% of GDP in 2009 and 106.7% of GDP in 2014. This put Singapore in 11th place in the world in 2014 with the highest level of debt in relation to GDP. A budget deficit of around 6 billion Singapore dollars is expected in 2015; the planned expansion of infrastructure investments can no longer be paid for from reserves. (The indebtedness of companies and private households, on the other hand, even amounted to 251% of GDP.) Due to its high foreign assets, however, Singapore is a net debtor to other countries. Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation , had invested capital of $ 390 billion in 2018. The rating agency Standard & Poor's are government bonds of the country with the top AAA rated (as of 2018).


Road traffic

Due to the British colonial past, there is left-hand traffic . There are two land connections with Malaysia. The Johor-Singapore Causeway ( Johor-Singapore Causeway ) in the north, opened in the 1920s, connects Woodlands (Singapore) with Johor Bahru (Malaysia) for motor vehicles and railways. It is also the main connection for Singapore's water supply. A second bridge ( Malaysia-Singapore Second Link ) , which was completed in 1996, is located in the west of Singapore. It connects Tuas (Singapore) with Gelang Patah (Malaysia).

There were considerations to fill up the canal that separates Singapore from Malaysia and thus connect the island to the mainland. However, this plan was abandoned due to border problems. Singapore would have borne the main costs, but Malaysia insisted on maintaining the current border in the middle of the canal. The replacement of the causeway with a new bridge, as promoted by Malaysia, fails in response to resistance from Singapore. This must also be seen against an economic background, as a change in the status quo affects the navigability of the Johor Strait and thus the competition between the ports of Malaysia and Singapore.

As part of a restrictive transport policy, private car ownership is subject to strict regulations. Every potential car buyer must first acquire a Certificate of Entitlement (COE). The state Land Transport Authority (LTA) regularly decides on the granting of licenses, which can be bought in a bidding process, but expire again after ten years. This is a powerful tool to limit the number of cars in Singapore. The import of motor vehicles is taxed with duties of over 200 percent in some cases, but is of great importance as a status symbol. Furthermore, the traffic in the city center is charged with high taxes by an electronic toll system.

air traffic

In the east of the city-state is Changi Airport , one of the most important airports in Southeast Asia . It is served by over 100 international airlines . Some of the civil flights consist of transit traffic that only stops in Singapore - especially on the kangaroo route . The five most popular destinations are (in that order, as of 2017) Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Manila. The airport consists of four terminals. A connection between the terminals is ensured by a monorail (skytrain). The MRT stop is located between Terminal 2 and 3, with which you can get to the city center at low cost.

Another airport in Seletar is of lesser importance for civil air traffic.

Rail transport

There is a single-track railway connection (not electrified) with Malaysia, operated by KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu). Singapore's main train station is located in the southern part of the island. The entire railway system is extraterritorial, i.e. property of Malaysia. Therefore, you pass the Malaysian border control shortly before boarding the train and travel to Malaysia, but only leave the city-state when you reach the Singapore border control at the Woodlands Train Checkpoint (WTCP) on the causeway. The journey time from Singapore's Tanjong Pajor Station (also Keppel Road Station ) to Kuala Lumpur Sentral is around seven hours, the average train speed is 40–60 km / h. Malaysia intended to expand this connection to two tracks and to electrify it so that express trains could run on it. The current Malaysian Prime Minister has stopped these plans. Since July 2011 the trains have only run to and from the WTCP, where the Malaysian border control has also moved. The old station building on Keppel Road is to be preserved.

A cable car (Mount Faber Cablecar) opened on February 17, 1974 connects the tourist island of Sentosa in the south with Mount Faber on the main island. A stopover is at the Harbor Front Center (the former World Trade Center ) in the city's harbor. It operates daily from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Local public transport

Light rapid transit train
Dover Light Rail Station (MRT)

Singapore has a close-knit, highly timed and relatively inexpensive public transport system that is being systematically expanded. The subway network, called MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), operated by SMRT Corp. is well developed. and SBS Transit . The local bus system is also well developed. There are no fixed timetables. Instead, the bus stops indicate the average frequency (for example every ten minutes) at which the buses run. The stops are a few hundred meters apart and are only approached when necessary. Passengers must therefore give the bus driver a signal from the bus stop (hand movement downwards).

There are air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses. For the latter, you pay a slightly cheaper fare.

The land transport authority had transferred its buses to the bus contracting model with Tower Transit Singapore and Go-Ahead Singapore since September 2016, after 33 years of dominance with SBS Transit and SMRT buses.

Taxis are common and cheap. However, there are strong bottlenecks during rush hour , on Saturdays, when it rains and between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. During these times, the basic fares are between 10 and 50 percent higher.


The port of Singapore is one of the busiest in the world and the world's most important transshipment point for containers . This is due, among other things, to its favorable location on the sea route from China and Japan to Europe, especially with regard to its historical development.

The port of Singapore with Sentosa Island in the background


Singapore Melting Pot

It is very important that all ethnic groups live together in harmony. This is partly determined by the state, for example in social housing (HDB - Housing Development Board) through so-called ethnic group quotas. For example, only a certain percentage of the Chinese, Malays and Indians can be sold from an apartment block.

The large proportion of Chinese in the population often leads to the misconception that the other population groups are disadvantaged in their daily lives. The requirement for knowledge of the Chinese language in a job offer is not uncommon, but this mostly only happens in international companies that only serve foreign Chinese customers without knowledge of English, or in smaller Chinese family companies. The market is dominated by the Chinese because of their number, but not controlled. There is no shortage of Indians and Malays in management positions and in universities. These ethnic groups are also represented in the government.

Due to the rare occurrence of intercultural marriages, it is often assumed that there is segregation between the different ethnic groups in the country. In fact, marriages dominate within their own ethnic groups. On the one hand, a dominance of the intercultural variants with the high proportion of Chinese is statistically excluded. On the other hand, there are a number of social and religious reasons that make intercultural partnerships between women and men difficult. Even with young unmarried couples, the intercultural variant is rare. While Malay and Chinese youth sometimes come together, the caste system and tradition often discourage Indian parents from allowing their children to choose their partner. Sometimes Chinese women are also deterred from marrying a Malay by the need to convert to Islam. Still, it is noteworthy that marriages between Malays and Chinese in Singapore have a tradition that can be traced back to the early 20th century. This gave rise to the Nyonya or Peranakan culture , which is now threatened with extinction.

Another topic of marriage in Singapore that often makes locals smile is the state-run SDU ( Social Development Unit ), which is responsible for initiating relationships between academics and university graduates.

In everyday life, especially in schools and at work, there is definitely interaction with people from other cultures. However, segregation can be observed between the locals and the so-called “ expatriates ” who live there ; their children go to different schools and they rarely mix in everyday work.

The interweaving of cultures is evident in language, cuisine and way of life, among other things. The Singlish , a variant of the English language, is peppered with the terms and grammar of all four official languages. Unlike Spanglish , which is the colloquial language used by Latinos in the United States, which is composed of Spanish and English, Singlish is constantly being expanded independently of each other by the various ethnic groups and then put back together again through their interaction. Some examples: Sentences like “Referee kayu! Xiao liao ah? ”(“ The referee was wrong! Is he crazy? ”) Or“ Careful, wait you gana knock down! ”(“ Be careful, you could get run over! ”) Are the results of years of interaction between the Chinese and Malay language. As a result, the vocabulary and grammar of one language is constantly migrating to another by sharing the Singlish. However, the government is not very proud of this language. Their attempt to change the people's preference for Singlish by promoting "normal" English through local sitcoms such as " Phua Chu Kang " was not taken seriously by the fun-loving people.

As in other Asian countries, courtesy plays an important role in Singapore. For example, there is the rule that the contact partner must not “lose face”. This means that you do not speak directly to someone you are talking to about mistakes made, but rather push them aside and try to address them at a later point in time or call in a third person. Business cards are gladly distributed. This is given to the other person with both hands. It is rude to just put in business cards that you have received from the other person. Rather, it has to be treated with respect and left open on the table for a while. The rules of courtesy are what is common in China. In general, social life is strongly influenced by the ideas of Confucianism .

Despite the appreciation of politeness, the kiasu (fear of losing) mentality is still quite widespread in Singapore , which leads to a pattern of selfish behavior among some citizens.


Print media, television and radio are controlled by the state, and semi-state media are also permitted. Access to the Internet live stream is possible.

With the intention of becoming a media center in the region, the state is investing heavily in broadband technologies , online services and new media . In 2016, 82.5 percent of the population used the Internet. Singapore also has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world.


Freedom of the press does not exist in Singapore: the media are subject to strict state censorship . In addition, the permanent state pressure leads to self-censorship . The rules of reporting for foreign correspondents include a ban on expressing criticism of government policy. The private possession of satellite dishes is prohibited. Cable access to selected international programs ( Deutsche Welle , BBC , CNN and others) is available.

In the 2017 press freedom list published by Reporters Without Borders , Singapore was ranked 151st out of 180 countries. According to the NGO's report, the press freedom situation in the country was "difficult".

  • Material deemed politically “sensitive” is prohibited.
  • Pornography is prohibited; the representation of sex and nudity is restricted. Therefore, Playboy and other "adult magazines" are banned in Singapore. However, some less revealing magazines are available in stores. If sex and nudity are to be allowed, they have to fit the context. Films that show nudity, sex or excessive violence are usually rated Mature 18 (M18), in exceptional cases Restricted 21 (R21). However, the government is interested in relaxing these restrictions and has therefore recently created the M18 age rating to make more adult material accessible to those over 18. However, the valid approvals NC16 ("No Children") and R21 ("Restricted") remain. (For information on age ratings in Singapore, see also the publication of the "Media Development Authority".)
  • Some foreign newspapers and magazines, such as the Asian Wall Street Journal and the Far Eastern Economic Review , are restricted in their distribution. Newspapers from Malaysia are banned (newspapers from Singapore are not allowed to be distributed in Malaysia).
  • Writings and media that disturb the coexistence of the population groups and offend religious feelings are prohibited. Because of these laws, the religious community of Jehovah's Witnesses, including its literature, has also been banned since 1972.


Singapore's cuisine is characterized by the cultural influences of the ethnic groups represented. Their mutual influences are omnipresent in the city. In addition to the traditional recipes, there are always new variations. This resulted in dishes such as Laksa , Yong Tau Foo or Roti Prata , which over time have become part of the extensive range of national dishes . The Singapore noodles known abroad are unknown in the country itself.

public holidays

Sri Mariammam Temple and modern skyscraper

There are eleven public holidays in Singapore, three of which are secular and the remainder are cultural, religious, or ethnic.

Since the Islamic holidays are determined by a lunar calendar , there is a double holiday every 32 to 33 years. Instead, the festival of breaking the fast can coincide with the Chinese New Year.

The Chinese New Year holidays are determined according to the Chinese calendar . Hari Raya Puasa is on the first day of the tenth month in the Islamic calendar , Hari Raya Haji is on the tenth day of the twelfth month. Vesak Day takes place on the first full moon in May, Diwali on the last day of Asvina according to the Indian calendar .


Merlion with Singapore skyline in the background
Marina Bay aerial view
"Flower Dome" and Gardens by the Bay
Supertree Grove in the Gardens by the Bay
Esplanade - Theaters on the Bay
The Singapore River from a bird's eye view
Singapore Botanic Gardens , a 67.3 hectare botanical garden with a collection of more than 3,000 different orchid species.

Tourism is an important source of income in Singapore, with 17.4 million tourists visiting Singapore in 2017. The Raffles Hotel , in which famous personalities such as Charlie Chaplin , Rudyard Kipling and Winston Churchill were guests, is one of the upscale hotels . Most of the hotels are in the center or on Pearls Hill Park.

For tourists, Singapore is mainly an intermediate destination, where they spend an average of 3.67 days. Nevertheless, the city offers numerous attractions:


Location and appearance of the districts for the ethnic groups: Chinese, Malays, Indians, Muslims, etc. As you can see today, Thomas Stamford had Raffles docked soon after his arrival in Singapore. Raffles also ordered so-called shop houses to be built there throughout (business premises with a covered walkway below, apartments above), as he knew them from the island of Penang.

Historic Buildings


are partly located in historical buildings:

  • The Singapore Art Museum mainly shows Asian art
  • The National Gallery Singapore shows modern art (19th and 20th centuries) from Singapore and Southeast Asia
  • The Singapore Science Center offers interested visitors over 500 interactive experiments
  • The National Museum of Singapore explains the history of Singapore and also exhibits handicrafts and selected showpieces from the Singapore collections, such as John Singer Sargent's oil portrait of the British administrator Sir Frank Swettenham from 1904.
  • In the Asian Civilizations Museum collections from the Chinese, Malay, Islamic and Indian cultures are shown.
  • In the Battle Box , the former Allied command post in Singapore, the fall of the city is shown in front of the advancing Japanese.
  • Images of Singapore shows the local history as well as customs and traditions in the city
  • The Singapore Philatelic Museum displays rare postage stamps from Asia as well as exhibits on Singapore's postal history
  • In the Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum in the Chinese Garden can see a variety of turtles. Thanks to the large collection, the museum has managed to get an entry in the Guinness Book of Records .

Parks and gardens

  • The Jurong Bird Park , a bird park with 600 species of birds in huge part aviaries
  • The 165 hectare Bukit Timah Reserve , founded in 1883 , is an almost primary piece of jungle (coastal mountain forest Dipterocarpus ) with the highest elevation in the island state
  • The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve opened in 1993 in the northwest of the island, a 139 hectare national park with wetlands and mangrove forests
  • The Pasir Ris Park in the northeast of the island. You can explore the mangrove swamps in this third largest park in Singapore on footbridges.
  • The zoo , which offers a night safari to observe the nocturnal animals
  • The Singapore Botanic Gardens, founded by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1822, with more than half a million plants and a spectacular collection of orchids
  • The East Coast Park with many leisure activities and a number of fish restaurants
  • Fort Canning Park contains two Gothic gates, the city's oldest Christian cemetery, ASEAN Sculpture Park, the Battle Box and Spice Garden, the city's first botanical garden from 1822
  • In the park landscape around the MacRitchie Reservoir , an extensive network of paths invites you to hike.
  • The Chinese Garden with Pagodas is located on an island in Jurong Lake .
  • The Japanese garden
  • Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom are home to more than 1,500 species of butterflies and over 2,500 species of insects.
  • The Jurong Reptile Park with formerly more than 400 reptile species was closed in September 2006.
  • The Gardens by the Bay , laid out on man-made land east of Marina Bay. Consists of the Bay East Garden (32 hectares) opened in 2011 and the Bay South Garden (54 hectares) opened in 2012. The Heritage Gardens are also part of this complex . An extension to the Bay Central Garden (15 hectares) is planned. The "Cloud Forest" and "Flower Dome" halls as well as giant artificial trees are also located on the park area.
  • The Bishan Park is a converted to a river channel.

The Singapore government is pursuing the urban planning goal of connecting the natural, tropical surroundings with the existing buildings by greening the facade . The cityscape is characterized by street trees, green areas and countless small and large parks in and around the residential units. Over 3,320 hectares of the country are parks or green open spaces.


  • The symbol of Singapore, the Merlion , a combination of lion and fish
  • A plaque marks the spot where Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles allegedly first set foot on the Singapore floor.
  • The Lim Bo Seng Memorial commemorates the war hero Lim Bo Seng, who was killed by the Japanese in World War II

Other sights

  • The Esplanade , a cultural center opened in 2002 in the shape of a stink fruit, therefore better known in Singapore under the name Durian .
  • The island of Ubin (Pulau Ubin) northeast of the main island of Singapore is, in contrast to the rest of Singapore, almost completely undeveloped and natural. The small island is often visited by locals for weekend trips and bike tours in the great outdoors.
  • The Mount Faber viewpoint with a 360 ° view over Singapore. A cable car connects the mountain with Sentosa
  • The Haw Par Villa is an amusement park, designed by themes from Chinese mythology
  • The island of Saint John's Island (Pulau Sakijang Bendera) is off Singapore and offers day trippers the opportunity to swim and hike.
  • On March 18, 2010, Universal Studios Singapore opened, a theme park that offers attractions and shows on film-related topics on the resort island "Resorts World Sentosa".
  • In Singapore stands the second largest Ferris wheel in the world with a height of 165 meters , the Singapore Flyer .
  • Hotel Marina Bay Sands with viewing platform, bar and swimming pool at a height of 200 meters.
  • Kusu Island, a small partially heaped island off Singapore.
  • In 1998, the Fountain of Wealth was considered the largest fountain in the world.



Until the Olympic Games in London in 2012, the weightlifter Tan Howe Liang was the only Olympic medalist in Singapore to win silver in the lightweight division at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 . In London 2012, table tennis player Feng Tianwei won bronze in both the individual and team competition with Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu. The badminton player Li Li won the women's singles title at the Commonwealth Games 2002. Also known are the badminton player Ronald Susilo and his wife, the table tennis player Li Jia Wei . The Chinese chess grandmaster Zhang Zhong has played for the Singapore Chess Federation since 2007. The swimmer Joseph Schooling attracted attention at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and won gold in the 100 m butterfly and has since been one of Singapore's most famous athletes.


The S. League is the top division in Singaporean football and is organized by the Football Association of Singapore .

In addition, Singapore also has a national team that , having won the ASEAN soccer championship four times, is currently the strongest Southeast Asian national team.

Youth Olympic Games

In 2010, Singapore became the first city to host the Youth Olympic Games. From August 14th to 26th, 2010, young athletes from all over the world competed for the Olympic medals in Singapore.


The Singapore Marathon takes place at the beginning of December every year and is now one of the most popular in the world.

formula 1

The first Formula 1 race in Singapore took place on September 28, 2008 on the Marina Bay Street Circuit . It was also the first night race in Formula 1 history. Fernando Alonso won the race. The most successful Formula 1 drivers on this route are Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, each with 4 wins (as of 2019).


Singapore-born personalities

See also


Web links

Further content in the
sister projects of Wikipedia:

Commons-logo.svg Commons - multimedia content
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Wikimedia Atlas: Singapore  geographic and historical maps

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