Chapter 10: Singapore
Singapore is a geographically small city-state of 710 square kilometres located across the narrow Johor Strait off the southernmost coast of the eastern edge of the Asian continent. It comprises 63 islands, having a multi-ethnic, multi-religious population size of about 5.3 million. The dominant ethnic groups are Chinese, Malay and Indian; while the dominant ‘religions’ or philosophies are Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Tao and ‘secularism’. Singapore has four official languages: Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil. Mainly an immigrant society, Singapore’s core population comprises 3.3 million citizens; the remainder are permanent residents and temporary foreign workers. From its beginning as a British crown colony in the early nineteenth century, Singapore has evolved as a prominent international port and trade centre. Early immigrants to Singapore came from southern China to work in British rubber plantations across the various states of what is present-day Malaysia, and in the shipping services and trading activities in the port city of Singapore. By the end of the 1880s, Singapore was an international rubber-exporting centre. Singapore’s political and strategic importance became evident during World War II.
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