50 interesting facts about Singapore and Singaporean
Singapore is a country in Southeast Asia that shares many similarities with neighbouring countries. But at the same time, it’s a unique country, with its own customs, history and culture. In this article, we’ve gathered 50 fascinating facts about the country and its people that will help you form your first impression and plan your holiday in Singapore in a fun way.
50 Most Interesting Facts About Singaporean and Singapore
So, let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions and sights of this amazing country.
1. The island of Singapore was first mentioned in Chinese chronicles in the 3rd century AD. At that time, there was a small settlement called Pulojun.
2. The convenient geographical position of Singapore has been noted since ancient times. As early as the eighth century, the Malays built the port of Temasek, which became the main trading centre of the region.
3. The advantageous position of the island was also noticed by the British colonists. In the year 1819 they founded a port settlement, around which the town quickly sprang up.
4. Singapore has been repeatedly raided by pirates in the past, and in the 20th century it was occupied by Japan during World War II.
5. Singapore gained its first independence in 1959, when Britain recognized it as an autonomous state and allowed it to assemble a Legislative Assembly.
6. From 1963 to 1965, Singapore was part of Malaysia. However, fearing the influence of Singapore’s leaders on the ethnic Chinese, the Malaysian Parliament excluded Singapore from the federation. This is a unique case where a part of the state gained independence not on its own initiative, but because it was asked to withdraw.
7. Singapore is not an island as we are used to thinking, but an entire archipelago. It consists of about 60 small islands and the largest, Pulau Ujong, where the capital is located.
8. The word «Singapore» comes from the Malay language, a relative of Sanskrit, and means «City of the Lion».
9. The Republic is connected to neighbouring Malaysia by two bridges with road and rail links.
10. The majority of the population is Chinese, almost 75% of the population. One-tenth of the population is Indian. But the Malays, once the main indigenous population, account for only 13%.
11. There is only one tourist-friendly beach area in Singapore. It is on Sentosa Island. The locals don’t like sunbathing, and if they go to the beach, they prefer it to neighbouring Malaysia.
12. The country’s education system is considered one of the best in the world. Primary school, a four-year programme, is free to all. Secondary school is also subsidised by the state and charities, allowing even children from low-income families to get an education. The country’s literacy rate is therefore as high as 96%.
13. The school year in Singapore begins in January and is divided into two half-years. The first lasts until June, and the second from July to December. There are no such long holidays as in our country.
14. The country is the second most densely populated country in the world, between Monaco and the Vatican. It is home to 6 million people on an area of 734 square kilometres.
15. Singapore is one of the most heavily armed countries in Asia. It spends 5 per cent of its sizeable GDP on defence annually. Some islands are military bases and are closed to tourists.
16. The country’s capital is built according to the principles of Feng Shui. Its architecture and landscape zones are in harmony with the doctrine of the influence of energy flows on human health.
17. The symbol and main attraction of Singapore is thought to be Merlajon, a mythical creature with a lion’s head and a fish’s tail. Its three largest statues are a tourist attraction and fountains, while the smaller ones can’t be counted.
18. Another attraction in the country is Changi Airport. It is not just Asia’s largest hub but a full-fledged entertainment area with rides, gardens and waterfalls. Here, 2,500 trees grow right under the roof.
19. The gardens by the bay are another of the republic’s landmarks. It consists of several parks with a variety of flora and tall artificial trees, as well as two orangeries with an unusual domed shape.
20. The famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel is built in the shape of a ship. It towers over the picturesque bay and is a favourite spot for selfies and panoramic shots. On its roof you’ll find a swimming pool, a park with hundreds of trees and even an observatory.
21. The Singapore Zoo covers an area of only 28 hectares and is home to 315 animal species. But it offers tourists a unique opportunity to watch animals in the wild or to take part in exotic shows, in which zoo animals participate along with the guests.
22. Sentosa Island is an amusement park. It has an oceanarium, 2 kilometres of beach area, luxury hotels and an interactive park called Universal Studios.
Character and customs of the Singapore people
23. The locals are very friendly and polite, which does not prevent them from behaving very cavalierly in the streets, shops or transport. That is a peculiarity of their mentality.
24. Singapore is a multicultural country, and each ethnic group has its own traditions. For instance, you may meet someone by shaking his or her hand, as is common in Europe, or through a series of elaborate ceremonies.
25. Singaporeans love children and are considered good family men, but that doesn’t stop them from using corporal punishment. They even sell cane sticks in shops to punish naughty children.
26. When visiting Singaporean homes, you should take off your shoes before entering and remember to take a small souvenir with you.
27. No gifts for Singaporeans include knives and cutters, no gifts for local Chinese – watches are considered to be a symbol of death, Hindus – alcohol and leather goods.
28. Pair items are considered a good gift. According to the locals, they bring harmony and comfort to family relationships.
29. Gifts from locals should always be accepted with both hands, examined carefully and politely thanked.
30. A Singaporean’s festive clothes will definitely be new and contain red detailing. Red is considered to be the symbol of the country and is present on the national flag.
31. Singaporeans don’t like sunbathing, so the best-selling cosmetic product in the city is skin whitening products.
32. There is no special, national dish in Singapore. Local cuisine comes from a blend of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and European gastronomic traditions.
33. Eating here is either with chopsticks or with the right hand. The left hand is considered unclean for most Singaporeans. But European cutlery is also in use.
34. Tipping is officially forbidden in the country, but in reality, locals expect a reward and accept it gratefully. The customary tip is 15%.
35. Singaporeans are very superstitious. Their houses usually don’t have a 13th floor or a flat. Number 8 is considered lucky for them, and 4 is unlucky. That’s why locals never gather in groups of four.
36. Having a car in Singapore is expensive. There are a lot of toll road sections, a permit to drive costs $60,000 and there are additional fees.
Penalties in Singapore
37. For its strict, if not severe laws, tourists have nicknamed Singapore «Fine city». This play on words can be translated as Fine City or Fine City.
38. A stiff fine awaits those who bring chewing gum into the country, spit it out or attach it to anything. This fine is attributed to a transport collapse that allegedly happened in the underground when the car doors could not close because of gum stuck on it.
39. The fine for bringing chewing gum into the country could be up to $72,000 or a year in prison.
40. The fine for tearing off a stopcock in the underground is less, only 5 thousand dollars, as well as for smuggling durian in the carriages. Smoking on the underground, on the other hand, is only fined $1,000.
41. You should also be careful on the streets of the city. You could get a fine of $500 – $100 if you drink or eat in a wrong place, sing too loudly or try to go somewhere without queuing.
42. You may also be fined or have to do community service if you throw refuse in the street or even spit.
43. Feeding monkeys and birds is prohibited in Singapore. Violation also leads to a fine. Because of this, the behaviour of local monkeys is very different from that of their counterparts in other countries. Monkeys don’t beg because they know they won’t get anything.
44. There is a penalty for using free Wi-Fi. You can only connect to free municipal networks.
45. One of the most ridiculous fines, from our point of view, is the penalty for leaving water in the flowerpot after watering. The authorities explain this fine by the fight against mosquitoes and mosquitoes.
46. Another amusing fine concerns public toilets. If you don’t flush the water behind you, you will be fined. Although this law is a bit outdated. All toilets in the country are now equipped with an automatic flushing system.
47. Singapore is one of the most highly developed countries in the world, but that’s why its people cherish nature. There are four nature reserves in the tiny area. There are no large animals in the wild on the islands, but there are plenty of birds and insects.
48. Miss Joakim’s Wanda orchid is considered a symbol of the country. It is a long-blooming hybrid bred by Agnes Joakim and is named after her. The orchid appears on the country’s coins and banknotes and is the symbol of the ruling party.
49. Most of the reservoirs here are artificial. They are designed to collect rainfall and prevent flooding. But there are also more than a dozen small rivers on the islands.
50. Singapore is a flat island. There are no mountains here at all, and the highest point rises only 165 metres above sea level – less than the many skyscrapers of the capital city.
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Friends! If you know more interesting facts about Singaporean and Singapore, please share them in the comments. It’s a country full of amazing stories, culture and traditions and many would love to learn something new. We would really appreciate it!