Singapore, the Microcosm of Asia


Singapore is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres north of the equator. Singapore is highly urbanised but almost half of the country is covered by greenery. More land is being created for development through land reclamation. Singapore is a microcosm of Asia, populated by Chinese, Malays, Indians and a large group of workers and expatriates from all across the globe, in a country that can be crossed in barely an hour.

Singapore had been a part of various local empires since it was first inhabited in the second century AD. Modern Singapore was founded as a trading post of the East India Company by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. In 1963 Singapore united with other former British territories to form Malaysia and became a fully independent state two years later after separation from Malaysia. Since then it has had a massive increase in wealth, and is one of the Four Asian Tigers.

The food is legendary, with bustling hawker centres and 24-hour coffee shops offering affordable food from all parts of Asia. Combining the skyscrapers and subways of a modern, affluent city with a medley of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences and a tropical climate, with tasty food, good shopping and a vibrant nightlife scene, this Garden City makes a great stopover or springboard into the region.

The country has a partly deserved reputation for sterile predictability that has earned it descriptions like William Gibson’s “Disneyland with the death penalty” or the “world’s only shopping mall with a seat in the United Nations”. Nevertheless, the Switzerland of Asia is for many a welcome respite from the poverty and dirt of much of the Asian mainland. If you scratch below the squeaky clean surface and get away from the tourist trail you’ll soon find more than meets the eye.

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Singapore, the Microcosm of Asia

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