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Singapore is an island nation located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It lies 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the Equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. At 704.0 km² (272 sq mi), it is one of the few remaining city-states in the world and the smallest country in Southeast Asia. Despite its small size, Singapore has a population of slightly over 5.6 million people, of which over half were born locally.

The British East India Company established a trading post on the island in 1819. The main settlement up to that point was a Malay fishing village at the mouth of the Singapore River. Several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people also lived around the coast, rivers and smaller islands. The British used Singapore as a strategic trading post along the spice route. It became one of the most important commercial and military centres of the British Empire. Winston Churchill called it "Britain's greatest defeat" when it was occupied by the Japanese during World War II. Singapore reverted to British rule in 1945. In 1963, it merged with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. Less than two years later it split from the federation and became an independent republic on August 9, 1965. Singapore joined the United Nations on September 21 that same year.

Since independence, Singapore's standard of living has increased. A state-led industrialization drive, aided by foreign direct investment has created a modern economy based on electronics manufacturing, petrochemicals, tourism and financial services alongside the traditional entrepôt trade. Singapore is the 3rd wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. The small nation has a foreign reserve of S$222 billion (US$147 billion).

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A giant Singapore flag suspended from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during a National Day Parade rehearsal on 29 July 2006.
"Majulah Singapura" ("Onward Singapore") is the national anthem of Singapore. Composed by Zubir Said in 1958 as a theme song for official functions of the City Council of Singapore, the song was selected in 1959 as the island's anthem when it attained self-government. Upon full independence in 1965, "Majulah Singapura" was formally adopted as Singapore's national anthem. By law the anthem may only be sung with its original Malay lyrics, although there exist authorized translations of the lyrics of the anthem in Singapore's three other official languages: English, Mandarin and Tamil.

Originally composed in the key of G major, in 2001 the national anthem was officially relaunched in the lower key of F major as this was said to allow for a "grander and more inspiring arrangement". The national anthem is regularly performed or sung in schools and armed forces camps at ceremonies held at the beginning and/or the end of each day, during which the national flag is also raised and lowered and the national pledge is taken.

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Esplanade Bridge
Credit: Sengkang (3 December 2005)

The Esplanade Bridge is a 260 metres long road bridge that spans across the mouth of the Singapore River in Singapore with the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay on its northern abutment and the Merlion on the southern.

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Singapore in the news

15 August 2018 – Economy of New Zealand
New Zealand's parliament votes to ban the sale of homes to non-resident foreign nationals amid a housing affordability crisis. Australians and Singaporeans are exempt due to free-trade deals. (BBC)

Selected Biography

Theresa Goh Rui Si (Chinese: 吴蕊思; pinyin: Wú Ruǐsī, pronounced [ǔ ʐwèisɨ́]; born 16 February 1987) is a Singaporean Paralympic swimmer. Due to congenital spina bifida, she does not have use of her legs. She started swimming at the age of five years, and began taking part in competitions at age 12. She soon established herself as a top competitor, winning medals at several competitions, including the ASEAN ParaGames, Far East and South Pacific Games Federation for the Disabled (FESPIC) Games (now known as the Asian Para Games), International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation (ISMWSF) World Wheelchair Games, National Swimming Championships , and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Swimming Championships. She also represented Singapore in the 2008 Summer Paralympics.

Theresa held the world record for the 50 metres and 200 metres breaststroke. She was ranked second in the world for the 100 metres breaststroke and third for the 200 metres individual medley. Goh received the 2001 Sportsgirl Merit Award from the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) and was named Sportsgirl of the Year in 2002 and 2003. From 2004 to 2006, she was the SDSC's Sportswoman of the Year. On 27 February 2008 Goh received a special award at the SDSC's Sports Superstar Awards 2007 for outstanding achievements in swimming, and in August that year she was conferred the Pingat Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Medal) in the National Day Awards.

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Did You Know

Photo of the Golden Mile Complex
  • ... that in her début at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Tao Li broke the Asian record for the 100m butterfly twice and became the first Singaporean swimmer to enter an Olympic final?

Selected Panorama

Sungei Serangoon
Credit: Sengkeng (12 November 2006)

Sungei Serangoon (Malay for Serangoon River; Chinese: 实龙岗河) is a river in the north-eastern part of Singapore. The 6-kilometre river starts as a canal near Tampines Road, and flows through Hougang, Sengkang, Punggol, Lorong Halus and Pasir Ris, before emptying into the Serangoon Harbour. The river is also known as the Serangoon Estuary.

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