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Singapore. Even saying the word and some of the uninformed may still hold the belief that it is located somewhere in China, knowing only where it is approximately. Yet this vibrant, newly industrialized city-state is in fact located close to the equator and is often overlooked on the world map; not surprising, considering it is only represented by a small dot in the South China Sea. Today, the island of Singapore has earned high acclaim for its rapid transformation from a humble trading post to the modern, technological metropolis that it has proudly become.
Singapore has been described by some economists as a modest miracle, simply because it has managed to achieve the status of an Asian business headquarters with its only resource: people. (Marshall, 1970) Despite it's lacking of other resources, due to its strategic location at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore is a thriving business hub for Southeast Asia with an excellent communications network infrastructure. It possesses all the trappings of a successful business center with an extremely multicultural heritage, as well as an abundance of colorful and modern environment.
History on this island began around the 15th century, when it became a port of call for various Malay empires ruling at the time. It was most likely favorable to them for its perfect deep-water harbor area; it is one of the world's largest at roughly 93 square miles, and offers six gateways to the open seas. What the early settlers probably didn't care about was its rich, hilly landscape and fertile tropical forestry. The coastal region of Singapore is very smooth and rocky, easily accessible for all types of boats. They were more interested in the coastal possibilities, and perhaps with the temperate, relatively uniform climate. It is a humid and rainy island, with occasional violent winds. However, the early history wasn't documented as much for its accuracy as it was for its mythology.
Singapore's modern history began with the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles of the British East India Company who landed there in 1819 in search of establishing a trading site. It was quickly transformed into a legitimate British colony, not recognized as property by anyone. Singapore was declared a city by a royal British charter and it quickly created a municipal colony. (Marshall, 1970) With this colony, Singapore was to become a prosperous industrial trade nation. Perhaps it's most alarming attribute to success is the growth in population, comprising mainly Singapore citizens and permanent residents. What I mean by citizens is the medley of races making up Singapore's resident base; they consist of the Chinese, Malays, Indians, Arabs, Persians, and Europeans. The population in the early years was probably not more than a few hundred thousand.
Today, the number, and ethnicity, of people have risen almost a ten-fold. With all of the dramatic increases in populations of immigrants came the influx of different languages, and cultures, too. Singapore's officially-recognized languages are Malay, Chinese (Mandarin), Tamil, and English; which is considered the administrative language, the social conglomerate.
Singapore's mainstay of British authority lasted around a hundred-fifty years before its brief accommodation with Malaysia. Despite being a small, resource-poor island, Singapore gained its full independence in 1965. This new Singapore, staunchly anticommunist, was finally free to pursue capitalism with vigor and determination that set new standards for nations of the Rim.
Singapore faced a problem that was similar to other former colonies: how to take the disparate cultures and blanket of colonial European influences and weave them into a free, modern state. Singapore was spared the problem of traditionally hostile indigenous cultures bound together by unnatural modern state boundaries, with constant tribalism and distribution of power. However, Singapore also lacked the cultural building blocks that are obvious characteristics of a modern nation-state. So how do you turn a multiethnic colony into a cohesive nation?
Singapore's former Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, tried to do this. His policies were attacked and ridiculed. The included strict enforcement of codes of public behavior, use of English as the important language, a national ideology built around cultural tolerance and loyalty to the nation. Because of the other nations of the world in conflict for post-colonialism, Yew believed the only alternative was to establish a strong central
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Ethnic groups in Singapore, Republics, Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, Culture of Singapore, Languages of Singapore
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