Singapore is the only city-state in Southeast Asia. It sits on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, south of Johor in Malaysia and north of Riao Islands in Indonesia. With a total land area of 704.0 km², it is the smallest country in the region. Despite its size, Singapore is an affluent modern city with a GDP of 137.7622 billion US dollars. Singapore is also rich in history and Chinese, Malay, and Indian cultural influences. It has four official languages namely, English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. Its people practice Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikh, Taoism, and Confucianism.
Singapore got its name from the Sanskrit words singa for “ lion” and pura for the word “city”. This gives the city its literal name “lion city”. It was coined by Sang Nila Utama, a Sumatran prince, after his prime minister mistook a tiger for a lion. Today , Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers, together with Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea, whose economies are growing rapidly. Singapore’s economy largely depends on exports and manufacturing in the areas of electronics, petroleum refinery, mechanical engineering, biomedical sciences, and chemicals. It has one of the busiest ports and the fourth largest foreign exchange trading center in the world. Its Central Business district offices a number of multi-national companies with numerous foreign expatriates working in them.
Singapore is also a popular tourist destination and can be accessed in almost every possible way. Singapore can be entered through the Changi and Seletar airports, through the Causeway which connected to Johor Bahru in Malaysia, through the “Second Link” which is another crossing to Johor via Tanjung Kupang, by taking the bus from Kuala Lumpur or other areas in Malaysia, by riding the Keretapi Tanah Melayu or Malayan Railway from Kuala Lumpur, by taking a Malaysian taxi on Rochor road, and by riding a ferry from Johor or the Riau Islands, in Indonesia.
Residential Places in Singapore
There are many public houses located in Singapore. However, most expatriates choose to live in the Central Region of the city-state, where the commercial and business district of Central core is located. Most also choose to live in condominiums, which abound in the many districts in the region, because of the increasing restrictions on foreigners owning land. Each district has a variety of housing units. For instance Marine Parade, located east of the Central Business District, has an abundance of condominiums. Some of the private estates there include Amberville, Coasta Del Sol, Fernwood Towers, Mandarin Gardens, Lagoon View, The Bayshore, and Qifuat Terraces. Bishon has relatively more expensive flats and caters to the upper and middle classes. Residences in Noveena also tend to be higher than in other districts because of its location. It does not have public housing, but an abundance of condominiums and houses. Some condominiums in Noveena are Lion Towers, Thomson Euro-Asia , and Birmingham Mansions. Bukit Timah also has a considerable number of condominiums as well as bungalows and duplexes. Queenstown is primarily a residential area with many private housing estates. Some of these estates are Forfar Heights, Commonwealth Green, Mei Ling Heights, Tanglin Halt Green, and Commonwealth Heights. Although highly commercialized, there are still some areas in the Central Core that provides a residential area. These are found in River Valley , Newton, Outram, and Rochor.
Hospitals and Universities of Singapore
The city-state has numerous esteemed colleges and universities. Among these, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is a favorite choice for foreign exchange students, Established in 1905, it is the oldest university in Singapore and the largest when it comes to number of student enrollment and the variety of courses offered. It has its main campus in Kent Ridge and two other campuses in Bukit Timah and Outram. NSU has taken steps to provide its students a globalized approach in learning. For instance, The NSU-MIT alliance brings together students from MIT and Singapore into a virtual classroom for lectures and interactions through video conferencing. NSU also has teaching and research partnerships with several foreign esteemed educational institutions. Some of its partners include the Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy school of Government, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and the Technical University of Munich. Several foreign universities and graduate schools have also put up their Asian Campuses in the city-state. They include the European graduate business school of INSEAD, SP Jain Center of Management, Redmond, the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and DigiPen Institute of Technology.
Medical care in Singapore is consistently excellent despite the lower cost. The medical care standard is at par with medical care given in western institutions. Thus, it makes for a favorite choice for medical tourism. One of the most popular destinations of medical tourists is the Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Medical Center located on Orchard road. It is a private hospital owned by Parkway Holdings and specializes in cardiology, oncology, and neuroscience. Another large hospital in the city-state is the Singapore General Hospital found in Outram Park. It is the largest and oldest public hospital in Singapore and is part of Singapore Health Services aim to provide accessible and affordable healthcare. Other national medical centers are the National Cancer Center, the National Heart Center, the Singapore National Eye Center, and the National Dental Center.
Commercial Places in Singapore
Singapore can very well be a shopper’s paradise with its numerous shopping malls. These shopping malls and department stores can be found at Orchard Road, Raffles City, the Raffles Hotel, Bugis Junction, and at Marina Bay. Orchard Road has the following malls and department stores: Isetan, Takashimaya, John Little, Robinson’s, and Tangs. Boutiques on Orchard include Stussy, Guess, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Chanel. The Marina Bay area has malls conveniently connected by covered walks and pedestrian bridges to the hotels found there. Raffles City has an upscale mall called the Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade. Specific products are easy to find as they are usually grouped together in a single location. Antiques are usually sold in shops along South Bridge Road in Chinatown. They can also be bought on the second floor of the Tanglin Shopping Centre on Orchard Road. Second-hand books are found in Far East Plaza and Bras Basah Complex where they can be haggled when buying in bulk. Cameras are sold in shops in Sim Lim Square, Lucky Plaza, and Peninsula Plaza. Of the three, the former has the best selection of camera shops. Computers and electronic products can be found in shops at Sim Lim Square, Sim Lim Tower, Funan IT Mall, and any Challenger chain of stores. Batik, sarong, and other fabrics are sold in shops along Arab Street and Little India. Chinese products are, of course, sold in China Town where the 5-storey shopping center of Yue Hwa is located. Other antiques and Indonesian merchandise are sold in shops along Arab Street, while Indian merchandise is sold in Little India.
Restaurants, Bars and Delicacies
Restaurants serving local, regional, and international cuisines abound in Singapore. Eating is one of Singaporeans’ pastimes, so it comes as no surprise to find food served from hawker markets to the most luxurious fine dining establishments. Over 2,000 establishments are found in Singapore and they are predominantly found in Riverside which has numerous bars, pubs and restaurants, on Orchard Road, in hotels which usually have cafes and upscale dining, in malls which has food courts, fast-food chains, to upscale restaurants, and hawker markets. Restaurants serving specific ethnic cuisine are usually found in smaller establishments in different neighborhoods. Some of these areas are CHIJMES in the Historical District , Boat Quay and Clarke Quay along the Singapore River, Club Street in Chinatown, Holland Village which is northwest of the city, and in Lorong Liput and Lorong Mambong across Holland Road. Just as there are numerous food establishments, there are equally as many bars and clubs in Singapore. These establishments are found primarily in Boat Quay where dozens of clubs, karaokes, and cafes are located particularly in Clark Quay, Robinson Quay, along Mohamed Sultan Road, along the intersection of Orchard Road and Scotts Road, and CHIJMES in the Historical district.
Service Establishments of Singapore
Singapore Telecom is the largest telephone service provider in Singapore. Singapore citizens of permanent residents applying for a line must be at least 17 years old. Foreigners with a social pass or working pass who are applying for a line must be 21 years old, present a rental agreement or a proof of ownership of a property in Singapore, and give a minimum deposit per line. Application may be done by getting a form faxed from SingTel, applying online, or by personally filling a form in a post office or any of their customer service outlets. SingTel also provides mobile (SingTel Mobile), broad band (SingNet), and pager services. Other companies that provide mobile services are M1 and StarHub. Foreign applicants for a mobile subscription must present a valid passport, an employment pass, and any proof of billing. M1 and StarHub also provide internet connection service. Another internet service provider is Pacific Internet. The requirements are the same as with applying foe a phone line.
Other Companies that Cater to the Public
Singapore Power is the sole private company that transmits and distributes gas and electricity in Singapore through its subsidiaries, Power Gas and SP Power Assets. Applying for a residential utility account can be done by visiting their customer service counters, calling their hotline, by submitting a completed form through fax or mail, applying online, or by sending an SMS. Law enforcers in Singapore are well-respected and are viewed positively by the public. They are largely responsible for maintaining the low crime rate in the city-state. The agency responsible for law enforcement in the city-state is the Singapore Police Force. It has 37341 sworn police officers and 97 police stations all over the city-state’s districts. The SPF has its headquarters located at New Phoenix Park in Noveena.
Embassies in Singapore
Almost all the nations in the world have their embassies to Singapore. They are the embassies of Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Laos, Mexico, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Vietnam. Other nations have their consulates and commissions, such as the High Commission of Australia, High Commission of Bangladesh, High Commission of Canada, General Consulate of Cyprus, Consulate of Belize, Consulate of Ecuador, Consulate of Fiji, High Commission of India, Consulate of Lebanon, Consulate of Madagascar, Consulate of Malta, High Commission of New Zealand, High Commission of Pakistan, High Commission of South Africa, Consulate of Spain, Taipei Representative Office, High Commission of The United Kingdom, and the Consulate of Uruguay.