Introduction to Singapore
The Republic of Singapore or, Singapore as it more generally known is a city state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor. Only 85 miles north of the equator, Singapore is highly urbanised although over half the country is covered by greenery and lush vegetation. Actually 63 islands make up Singapore and the process of land reclamation is creating more land for development.
There has been an active community in Singapore since the second century often coming under the jurisdiction of various local empires but modern Singapore came into being in 1819. It was founded as a trading post for the East India Company, an organisation created for the purposes of pursuing trade with both the East Indies and the Indian subcontinent.
This organisation was the brainchild of the wonderfully named Sir Stamford Raffles, a British statesman and entrepreneur who was born on a boat off the coast of Jamaica and went on to become known as the Father of Singapore and its first British Colonial Official. To this day, the Raffles Hotel remains one of Singapore`s most famous landmarks, named in commemoration of the hard work and sense of duty this extraordinary character brought to the country.
As a parliamentary republic Singapore is run primarily along the lines of the UK Westminster system with constituencies, a Cabinet and Prime Minister although there is also a President in place. Elected MPs are voted into Parliament in much the same way as in the UK and the legal system of Singapore draws its roots from English Common Law, although trial by jury was abolished back in 1970.
Singapore has an interesting demographic mix. With a population of just over 5 million, nearly 75% are Chinese, the rest being Malay, of Indian descent, Eurasian or from other continents. The fertility rate is the third lowest in the world and well below the levels required to replace the population. Consequently about 40% of the population is made up of foreigners and there has been a government backed campaign to encourage immigration to the country.
Singapore boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world with the Central Business District on Shenton Way its financial and economic hub. This skyscraper filled avenue represents the commercial vibrancy that underpins Singapore`s status as a great place to live and work.
There is plenty to do here as well. The Civic District known as Riverside is home to Singapore`s colonial past and present as museums and statues blend effortlessly with theatres, restaurants, nightclubs and bars. For the avid shopper a visit to Orchard Road is a must with its miles of shopping malls offering something to entice, enhance or interest everybody.
Not surprisingly Chinatown in Singapore has a classic authenticity all of its own. It was once an area designated for Chinese settlement but has since grown into a Chinese heritage area very popular with the local population and tourists alike.
Marina Bay is a relatively new addition to the Singapore resort landscape with its own hotel, casino and shopping complex. There`s a Convention Centre here, it also stages annually the Singapore Grand Prix and the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay offer opera, dance, classical concerts and other entertainments on a daily basis.
Despite all its hustle and bustle, economic activity and general sense of fun, there is time for reflection and "room to breathe" here. For a new fulfilling and expectant lifestyle, Immigration to this corner of South East Asia could certainly prove to be a wise decision, very well made.