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Singapore – how far can you go?

Is there anyone today who hasn’t heard of Singapore? That little island at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula?  As the city state celebrates its 50th birthday all this year, here’s a snapshot about a small nation that’s come a long way.

Singapore is small, with a population of just over 4 million in an area of 660 square kilometres. Around 70% are Chinese, the rest being Malays, Indians and Eurasians (mixed race).

Singapore is unique: the melting pot of races and languages – Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and English, makes Singapore different from Chinese-dominated Hong Kong, to which it is often compared. Singapore has its unique identity and accent, exemplified in “Singlish”, familiar to those who have lived there.

Singapore is food paradise: there is a huge variety of delicious food from  anywhere in SouthEast Asia and beyond. You will find various cuisines in the same place, in for example open air eateries known as hawker centres. These are food and drink stalls where prices are still very reasonable. A full meal and drinks can cost under 10 euros. Every shopping centre has at least one food court where people often stop for dinner on their way home after work.

Singapore means shopping : although increasingly expensive, you cannot avoid shops in Singapore – under or above ground. Electronics, luxury items, clothes, shoes, bags – you are spoilt for choice.

Singapore is a gateway city: Singapore has cleverly positioned itself as the gateway to China and today over 3,000 multinationals are based here. It is a business and travel hub and increasingly on the circuit for glamorous high-profile events, including Formula One Grand Prix and global product launches.

Singapore soars: skycrapers dominate the landscape, including the ones under construction: a vertical city, the tallest in Asia is on its way up.  Although the relentless construction is reminiscent of far less humid, but equally airconditioned Dubai, the landscaped greenery in Singapore softens the impact.

So think of Hongkong, take away the peaks, add a dash of Dubai glam and green,  lots of humidity – and there you go – Singapore! 

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