Revealing Singapore's Secrets
The little Lion City continues to roar. Singapore celebrated her Golden Jubilee yesterday.
This tiny nation, which earned the moniker "the little red dot" in her earlier years, has become one of the four Asian economic tigers.
She has developed immensely through the last 50 years. There is a lot known about her, yet she has many unguarded secrets. Here is why Singaporeans take pride in their country.
The seen face of Singapore
Singapore is a small island, just over 612 square kilometers. Traveling to and fro across it takes merely an hour.
A tropical paradise that is just a degree north of the equator, she experiences humid, scorching heat. Temperatures average 30 degrees when it is not so hot, but can soar to a searing 34 degrees.
This island nation is famous for her multilingual, cosmopolitan culture. People of different races coexist peacefully, with many counting their best friends among other races. A food paradise, she is known for hawker fare that teases the senses. Char Kway Teow (flat noodles), Chai Tow Kway ( carrot cake) and Rojak (salad).
Singapore is one of the most connected cities in the world. Nearly everyone owns a mobile phone or has a WI FI connection. Transport and amenities, neatly integrated, are plentiful.
Home-Music Video by Kit Chan
The unguarded secrets of Singapore
While these are well-known facts, there are many that many are less aware of. These are some of Singapore's best kept secrets.
1. The nation comprises 63 islands.
Singapore is tiny, but makes up for her lack of size with 62 other islands. Some, like Sentosa, have become popular tourist draws. Less known ones like Sisters Islands, Pulau Ubin and St John's islands are local camping and cycling haunts.
2. She is now 25% bigger.
Only 612 square kilometers after her independence, Singapore is now 25% bigger than before. This is thanks to her government's land reclamation efforts. It has added much land for the building industrial parks and more recently, the Marina barrage, now a center for water sports.
3. Buildings have height restrictions.
For everyone's safety and to sustain electrical cabling, Singapore's government has implemented a height restriction of 280m on new buildings. This allows planes and helicopters to pass safely over them safely.
4. She has fast walkers
Singapore has some of the fastest walkers on Earth. According to surveys, her citizens walk faster than people who live in major cities like Copenhagen, Madrid, Guangzhou and Dublin.
5. Has diverse natural growth
It may surprise many that a dense, urban city like Singapore has diverse natural growth. The Bukit Timah Nature reserve has a wider variety of trees than many nations. Some of them are apt to give a person Dendrophobia (a fear of trees)!
6. Singaporeans can vote in British elections.
Singapore, founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles, is a former part of the British Empire. After the decolonization of the British Empire through increased self-governance of these territories, Singapore remained as part of the Commonwealth of Nations. This is an intergovernmental organization of 53 states that were former British territories.
Singapore citizens may not realize that they can vote in the British elections. By virtue of being members of the Commonwealth, Singapore's citizens may vote in British elections if they are residing in the United Kingdom.
7. Malay is Singapore's national language.
This country has a large Chinese population, so many people believe that Singapore's national language is Mandarin. This is a mistaken notion. Having been part of Malaysia from 1963 to 1965, her national language is Malay.
8. She has a high rooftop bar.
At a stunning 92 feet above sea level, Singapore is home to 1-Altitude, one of the highest rooftop bars in the world. Guests can concoct their own drinks or order from the menu and enjoy the view.
8. The world's first night safari
The Night Safari, part of the Singapore Zoological Gardens, was the first zoo in the world to open at night. Visit it and spot familiar nocturnal creatures like wolverines and tapirs.
Being a proud Singaporean
Singaporeans have many reasons to laud their country on her 50th birthday.
Providence has blessed this nation with multiracial harmony. it is a nation where children, no matter their race, can all attend the same school. It is where you can find Chinese, Malay, Indian and Japanese food in the same coffee shop.
Singapore did not earn her "Clean and Green" moniker for nothing. She has stringent laws, including an anti-littering fine. That said, they have served their purposes. it is difficult to find litter on our streets.
The nation's citizens are proud of its multilingual culture. Everyone in the country speaks at least two languages, with some adventurous souls taking on a third. All children have to learn English and the language of their race, known as their mother tongue.
For a laugh- Dick Lee's Mustapha
Reasons to pay Singapore a visit
If that is not enough lyrical wax, there are compelling reasons to visit her.
She boasts new, vast verdant spaces, reflecting a push to become a green city. From Gardens by the Bay with its Treetop towers and conservatories to the community parks in the heart lands, the country has a surprising number of grassy, tree-lined knolls.
The city now boasts new hip haunts. Tiong Bahru, known for its small alleys and old, preserved housing, boasts a heritage trail that takes a person through the estate. He can take his time to explore a neighborhood that is reminiscent of the 1950s.
Singapore's hotel scene is all about cutting-edge design. Sofitel So, with a Lion's Seal, is a blend of French opulence and Singapore savvy. The Patina Singapore, in the Colonial District, boasts a range of room types to suit all travelers.
There is the Changi International Airport, a world-class transport hub. Her terminals are accessible by sky train, and she is about to boast two extra terminals. This will make her as big as London's Heathrow.
Singapore's unguarded secrets, and a few compelling draws, will make anyone want to visit her.
For a little entertainment, do enjoy the made in Singapore videos that speak a lot about our culture.