Open Source Encyclopedia


The Singapore Portal

Flag of Singapore
Location on the world map
Map of Singapore

Singapore is an island nation located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It lies 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the Equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. At 704.0 km² (272 sq mi), it is one of the few remaining city-states in the world and the smallest country in Southeast Asia. Despite its small size, Singapore has a population of slightly over 5 million people, of which 2.91 million were born locally.

The British East India Company established a trading post on the island in 1819. The main settlement up to that point was a Malay fishing village at the mouth of the Singapore River. Several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people also lived around the coast, rivers and smaller islands. The British used Singapore as a strategic trading post along the spice route. It became one of the most important commercial and military centres of the British Empire. Winston Churchill called it "Britain's greatest defeat" when it was occupied by the Japanese during World War II. Singapore reverted to British rule in 1945. In 1963, it merged with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. Less than two years later it split from the federation and became an independent republic on August 9, 1965. Singapore joined the United Nations on September 21 that same year.

Since independence, Singapore's standard of living has increased. A state-led industrialization drive, aided by foreign direct investment has created a modern economy based on electronics manufacturing, petrochemicals, tourism and financial services alongside the traditional entrepôt trade. Singapore is the 17th wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. The small nation has a foreign reserve of S$222 billion (US$147 billion).

Selected Article

The Vigilante drive entrance to Kent Ridge Park
Kent Ridge Park is a 47-hectare public park in western Singapore, between the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Science Park. Due to its undisturbed habitat and abundant plant life, it is a popular venue for bird-watchers and eco-tourists. During World War II, a hill in the park was the site of one of the last and fiercest battles fought by the Malay Regiment against the invading Japanese army, the Battle of Bukit Chandu (also known as the Battle of Pasir Panjang), 12–14 February 1942.

The park was officially opened in 1954, and was gazetted by the National Heritage Board as one of 11 World War II sites in Singapore in 1995. It is one of 300 parks managed by Singapore's National Parks Board, NParks. The area occupied by Kent Ridge Park was formerly known as Pasir Panjang Ridge, and was originally a lowland evergreen rainforest. The park's natural vegetation survives in the form of groves of Tembusu, Acacias and Dillenias. When the first settlers arrived in Singapore in the early 19th century, they grew crops such as rubber, pepper, gambier and pineapple on the ridge. During World War II, it was used as a fortress by the British in the defence of Singapore.

Selected Picture

Raffles Place
Credit: Ramir Borja (25 October 2007)

Raffles Place is a geogaphical location in Singapore, south of the mouth of the Singapore River. Located in the Downtown Core and the Central Area, it features some of the tallest buildings and landmarks of the country.

Selected Biography

Denise Phua Lay Peng (Chinese: 潘丽萍; pinyin: Pān Lìpíng, born 1959) is a Singaporean politician and disability rights activist. a successful corporate career spanning two decades, After her son was diagnosed with autism, she founded WeCAN, a charity which helps caregivers of autistic people and offers early intervention programmes for autistic preschoolers to help other autistic children. She became full-time special needs volunteer in 2005, and subsequently became the president of the Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) and co-founded Pathlight School, the first special school for autistic children in Singapore.

Denise is also a Member of Parliament (MP), representing the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) in Jalan Besar Group Representation Constituency. As an MP, she has focused on developing programmes for the disabled and special needs communities in Singapore.

In This Month

Did You Know

Photo of the The Majestic
  • ...that although archaeologists in Singapore have discovered many artifacts, they do not have government support for their work, and there is no centralised place to store the artifacts?

Selected Panorama

The National Stadium, Singapore
Credit: Sengkang (May 2007)

The National Stadium (Chinese: 国家体育场; Malay: Stadium Nasional Singapura) is located in Kallang. Opened in July 1973, the National Stadium was officially closed on June 30, 2007 and will be demolished in late 2008 to make way for the Singapore Sports Hub which is expected to open in 2011.


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