Singapore is officially known as the Republic of Singapore. It is also known as Singapura, which means ‘Lion City’ in Malay.
Singapore’s land area is getting bigger, mainly due to land reclamation; it is currently made up of 63 tiny islands.
Some 5 million people live in Singapore. Most are of Chinese, Malay, Indian descent and there are Eurasians as well. There are four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate, with high humidity. It is hot and sunny all year with temperatures ranging from 23-35 degree Celsius. The two monsoon seasons occur during December to March, and June to September. These contribute to the high rainfall in Singapore.
Shopping, watching movies and dining are said to be Singapore’s national pastimes. There is a diversity of cuisine in Singapore, so you might get the feeling of having travelled around the world, just by eating in Singapore!
No, we do not have a national sport but we are competitive in swimming, badminton and shooting.
The traditional dress of Singapore is the traditional attire of the four ethnic groups. However, foreigners often associate the Singapore Airlines uniform as the dress of Singapore. At times, you will see our Ministers wearing shirts with orchid prints. Singapore Airlines is our national airline.
The Vanda Miss Joaquim is Singapore’s national flower, and the term ‘Vanda’ was adopted from the genus which the flower belongs to.
With Singapore’s hot and humid climate, people generally dress casually. Casual attire usually means T-shirts, jeans, shorts and flip-flops. Smart casual usually means shirts, pants/chinos or skirts, summer dresses and covered shoes.
It is always good to have an extra piece of outerwear (e.g. a light sweater/jacket, shawl or cardigan) with you as it can get cold in air-conditioned lecture theatres, buses, shopping malls and cinemas, which often have air-conditioners on at full-blast.
Given that Singapore’s weather is usually hot or wet, some people have the habit of carrying foldable umbrellas, whether to shield themselves from the sun or rain. Even if you do not have an umbrella, fret not! Usually, there are sheltered walkways from bus stops to MRT stations and shopping malls.
Eating out is not uncommon and can be fairly affordable in Singapore. Do not be surprised to see items such as tissue packets and umbrellas lying on tables in food centres unattended. This is how Singaporeans typically reserve seats so that they can secure a place while they buy their food at ease!
Also, don’t be upset if you find your Singaporean friends tapping away on their mobile phones. Many Singaporeans cannot live without their phones, and with all the new high-tech gadgets, apps and social media, no wonder they are hardly seen without a phone.
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