First Impressions of Singapore

The island state of Singapore is more than just the second largest port in the world, it is a hub for international air traffic; a modern city of skyscrapers, the financial and commercial center of Southeast Asia. It’s also an island full of surprises, bathed in the tropical sun.

Here, numerous Asian peoples live together in a fascinating and harmonious way, with their different cultures, customs, languages, religions, manners, festivals, cuisine and handicraft skills. It is an extremely green and very clean island.

Location and area

According to Topmbadirectory, the island nation of Singapore consists of one main island, three larger islands and 58 other smaller islands. It is located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, separated from it by the Johor Strait. The islands are the southernmost extension of the Indian Peninsula and mainland Asia. To the west, the Strait of Malacca touches one of the busiest waterways in the world. To the south lies the Strait of Singapore. Neighboring countries are Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula to the north and Indonesia with Sumatra and the Riau Islands to the south.


The climate is tropical-humid. The temperature is a little over 28 degrees Celsius almost all year round. In the months of October to February, the temperatures are only slightly lower than in the rest of the year due to the monsoon, with heavier rainfall.


According to the Singapore Bureau of Statistics, the total population was 5.6 million as of December 2016. Citizens and permanent residents belong to different ethnic groups: 76.8 percent are Chinese, 13.8 percent are Malays, 7.9 percent are Indians and 1.4 percent are other. According to the Department of Statistics, there are around 1.2 million migrant workers and foreigners in Singapore. Statistics on the ethnicity of migrant workers and foreigners are not published.


Singapore has the following four official languages: Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil. In business life and as a lingua franca, English is primarily used. English is also the language of instruction in most schools. Since a large part of the Chinese population comes from southern China, many southern Chinese dialects are spoken in Singapore (e.g. Teochew or Hokkien). In order to strengthen the influence of Mandarin, the government launches the so-called “Speak Mandarin” campaign every year. In the meantime (as of 2015), most ethnic Chinese mainly speak standard language or English at home; only 16% still speak predominantly “dialects”.

Trading place

The earliest records of Singapore come from 3rd-century Chinese texts. The island served as an outpost of the Srivijaya Empire based in Sumatra. Singapore originally bore the Javanese name Temasek. After Temasek initially rose to become an important trading town, it soon lost its importance again. Except for a few archeological traces and the street Temasek Avenue, hardly anything remains from that time.


After a nationwide referendum in 1962, Singapore was released into a federation with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak and thus became independent from the United Kingdom on September 1, 1963. In the fall of 1964, massive riots broke out between Chinese and non-Chinese residents. Fierce ideological conflicts between the PAP government and the federation government in Kuala Lumpur, as well as fears on the Malaysian side that the unrest could spread beyond the city’s borders, led to Singapore’s expulsion from the federation on August 7, 1965. Two days later, on August 9, 1965, Malaysia became the first country to recognize Singapore’s sovereignty. Since then, August 9 has been Singapore’s national holiday.

First Impressions of Singapore