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Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It is located about one degree of latitude (137 kilometres or 85 miles) north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bordering the Strait of Malacca to the west, the Singapore Strait to the south along with the Riau Islands in Indonesia, the South China Sea to the east, and the Straits of Johor along with the State of Johor in Malaysia to the north. The country's territory comprises one main island, 63 satellite islands and islets, and one outlying islet; the combined area of these has increased by approximately 25% since the country's independence as a result of extensive land reclamation projects. It has the third highest population density of any country in the world, although there are numerous green and recreational spaces as a result of urban planning. With a multicultural population and in recognition of the cultural identities of the major ethnic groups within the nation, Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. English is the common language, with its exclusive use in numerous public services. Multi-racialism is enshrined in the constitution and continues to shape national policies in education, housing, and politics.

Singapore's history dates back at least eight hundred years, having been a maritime emporium known as Temasek and subsequently a major constituent part of several successive thalassocratic empires. Its contemporary era began in 1819, when Stamford Raffles established Singapore as an entrepôt trading post of the British Empire. In 1867, the colonies in Southeast Asia were reorganised, and Singapore came under the direct control of Britain as part of the Straits Settlements. During World War II, Singapore was occupied by Japan in 1942 and returned to British control as a separate Crown colony following Japan's surrender in 1945. Singapore gained self-governance in 1959 and, in 1963, became part of the new federation of Malaysia, alongside Malaya, North Borneo, and Sarawak. Ideological differences, most notably the perceived encroachment of the egalitarian " Malaysian Malaysia" political ideology led by Lee Kuan Yew into the other constituent entities of Malaysia—at the perceived expense of the bumiputera and the policies of Ketuanan Melayu—eventually led to Singapore's expulsion from the federation two years later; Singapore became an independent sovereign country in 1965.

After early years of turbulence and despite lacking natural resources and a hinterland, the nation rapidly developed to become one of the Four Asian Tigers. With its growth based on international trade and economic globalisation, it integrated itself with the world economy through free trade with minimal trade barriers and tariffs, export-oriented industrialisation, and the large accumulation of received foreign direct investments, foreign exchange reserves, and assets held by sovereign wealth funds. As a highly developed country, it has one of the highest GDP per capita (PPP) in the world. Identified as a tax haven, Singapore is the only country in Asia with a AAA sovereign credit rating from all major rating agencies. It is a major aviation, financial, and maritime shipping hub and has consistently been ranked as one of the most expensive cities to live in for expatriates and foreign workers. Singapore ranks highly in key social indicators: education, healthcare, quality of life, personal safety, infrastructure, and housing, with a home-ownership rate of 88 percent. Singaporeans enjoy one of the longest life expectancies, fastest Internet connection speeds, lowest infant mortality rates, and lowest levels of corruption in the world.

Singapore is a unitary parliamentary republic in the Westminster tradition of unicameral parliamentary government, and its legal system is based on common law. While the country is de jure a multi-party democracy with free elections, the government under the People's Action Party (PAP) wields widespread control and dominance over politics and society without much electoral competition. The PAP has governed the country continuously since full internal self-government was achieved in 1959, and currently holds a supermajority with 79 out of 93 elected seats in Parliament. One of the five founding members of ASEAN, Singapore is also the headquarters of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council Secretariat, and is the host city of many international conferences and events. Singapore is also a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the East Asia Summit, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth of Nations. ( Full article...)

The Singapore Stone is a fragment of a large sandstone slab which originally stood at the mouth of the Singapore River. The large slab, which is believed to date back to at least the 13th century and possibly as early as the 10th or 11th century, bore an undeciphered inscription. Recent theories suggest that the inscription is either in Old Javanese or in Sanskrit, which suggested a possibility that the island was an extension of the Majapahit civilization in the past.

It is likely that the person who commissioned the inscription was Sumatran. The slab may be linked to the legendary story of the 14th-century strongman Badang, who is said to have thrown a massive stone to the mouth of the Singapore River. On Badang's death, the Rajah sent two stone pillars to be raised over his grave "at the point of the straits of Singapura". ( Full article...)
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Henderson Waves
Henderson Waves
Credit: Yeo Kok Leong (20 February 2009)

Henderson Waves, a 274-metre (900-foot) long pedestrian bridge connecting Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. At 36 metres (120 feet) above Henderson Road, it is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. Read more...

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Edwin Nadason Thumboo B.B.M. (born 22 November 1933) is a Singaporean poet and academic who is regarded as one of the pioneers of English literature in Singapore.

Thumboo graduated in English from the University of Malaya in 1956. Although he applied for a position at the university, he was rejected as few locals held academic posts at that time. He therefore worked in the civil service for about nine years before finally joining the university, then renamed the University of Singapore, in 1966 following Singapore's independence. He received a Ph.D. from the university in 1970. Thumboo rose to the position of full professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, heading the department between 1977 and 1993. After the merger of the University of Singapore and Nanyang University in 1980 to form the National University of Singapore (NUS), he was the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from 1980 to 1991, NUS's longest-serving dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Thumboo was the first Chairman and Director of the university's Centre for the Arts from 1993 to 2005, and continues to be associated with the university as an emeritus professor, a position he has held since retiring from full-time teaching in September 1997. ( Full article...)

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Photo of the City Hall and Old Supreme Court Building
The City Hall and Old Supreme Court Building
  • ... that former chef Aziza Ali is credited with establishing Singapore's first Malay restaurant?
  • ... that the Singapore Constitution that came into force on 9 August 1965 was not drafted as a single document but was made up of provisions from three separate statutes?

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A daytime view of Singapore's Central Area
A daytime view of Singapore's Central Area
Credit: Chensiyuan

The skyline of Singapore's Central Business District in daytime. Notable landmarks in the picture includes the new and old Supreme Court of Singapore and the skyscrapers in the Marina Bay area.

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