My Singapore photo album
The Republic of Singapore consists of the island of Singapore and around sixty smaller islands of which just over twenty are inhabited. Singapore is located just off the southern tip of the Malaysian Peninsula to which it is linked by a causeway.
The main island is about twenty-six miles wide and stretches around fourteen miles from north to south. Singapore City is the country's capital.
Singapore's climate is tropical and very humid. The winter monsoon period brings the greatest amount of rain. The island has no natural resources except for its location on the trade routes between East and West and the geography which has given it one of the world's finest deep harbours.
Singapore's original environment consisted of rainforest and coastal mangrove swamps. Some forest areas remain in the north of the island. Only around two percent of the land is used for agriculture.
The wildlife of the island is now limited to smaller animals such as wild cats, flying squirrels, monkeys, lizards and snakes. There are around one hundred species of birds and some four hundred types of butterflies. The larger mammals such as tigers and bears have been wiped out.
Nearly ninety percent of Singapore's population lives in public housing, built by the government, so apartment blocks are part of the landscape. There are also many modern hotels and commercial buildings, some designed by leading international architects. Changi Airport, opened in 1987, is one of the world's most modern airports.
Many buildings from the colonial era remain; the Raffles hotel being one of the most famous.
One form of building from the earlier days of Singapore still to be found, though in declining numbers is the shophouse. In these traditional buildings the ground floor consists of a shop, while the upper story is residential.
The population of Singapore was estimated at 4,492,150 in 2006.
The majority of the population is Chinese; Malays make up around fourteen percent.
Languages are Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil. Hokkien, Cantonese and Teochew are also spoken.
With its mixture of races, Singapore has a number of religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Confucianism, Christianity, Taoism, Judaism and Sikhism are all practised in the city state.
Singapore's multicultural identity is seen in the food of the city state, with the influences of China, India, Malaysia and Indonesia all found in the local cuisine.
The regional variations of Chinese food are all available. Malaysian recipes often include coconut and shrimp paste and satay.
The food which is nearest to a national cuisine is Nonya which is a combination of Chinese ingredients with Malaysian herbs and spices.
As an island, seafood (crayfish, lobster, prawns, squid, tuna, seabass and snapper) is an important part of the diet. Chilli crab is regarded as the national dish.
Singapore is famous for its hawker stalls where street sellers offer a wide variety of different foods.
Fruit available in Singapore includes coconuts, green lemons, jack fruit, lychees, mangoes, pineapple and starfruit.