101 Essential Singapore Facts You Will Love!

Singapore is one of the most fascinating countries you can visit. Just like every other country in this world, this nation has its fair share of mind-blowing and unbelievable facts that will force your jaws to drop. 

So, without further ado, let’s start learning some essential Singapore facts that you must learn before visiting the country.

Singapore Facts: 1-5

1. Did you know that Singapore is the sole country in this world that earned her independence despite not wanting it in the first place?

2. Singapore was originally a part of Malaysia. It was one of the 14 states that made Malaysia. However, because of political skirmishes between Malaysia’s ruling party – United Malays National Organization and People’s Action Party based in Singapore, steep-rising racial riots took precedence.

3. Parliament of Malaysia eventually expelled Singapore from Malaysia despite Singapore’s (actually People’s Action Party’s) attempt to stick with Malaysia. The expulsion took place in 1965 on August 9.

4. Post expulsion from Malaysia, Singapore became the Republic of Singapore and Singapore’s Legislative assembly became her Parliament. Post independence, the country continued to use the Malaya and British Borneo dollar as its currency.

5. The Singapore dollar was introduced two years later in 1967. However, before separating the currencies, the Malayan government and government of Singapore tried to come to an agreement of having a common currency. That did not work out!

Singapore Facts: 6-10

6. Singapore is both a state and a country. While that may sound pretty weird, it is true. One good thing though – the postal system in the nation is pretty uncomplicated.

7. Singapore is a city-state with a representative democracy. The People’s Action Party has been the dominating politics since 1959, and the Prime Minister of the country is from the People’s Action Party.

8. The judicial system of the country is relatively simple. The High Court is the apex court, and then there is a Court of Appeals. Of course, there are several small courts called Commercial Courts. When the Prime Minister of the Nation advises the President of the country, the President appoints the judges.

9. The President of the nation has a 6-year term while legislators can serve only a 5-year term. The role of the President is ceremonial. The real powers lie with the Prime Minister and his council.

10. Singapore is the world’s third-most densely populated country with a population density of nearly 7,000 people per square kilometer that translates into nearly 19,000 people per square mile. As of 2017, the total population of Singapore stands at 5.71 million.

Singapore Facts: 11-15

11. In Singapore, 63% of the population are actually Singaporeans that is, they are citizens of Singapore by birth. The remaining 37% are foreign-born, but are either permanent residents of Singapore or are guest workers.

12. Going by ethnicity, 74% of citizens of Singapore are Chinese while Malays make up 13.4%. Indians makeup 9.2% while the remaining 3% come from mixed ethnicity.

13. In total, the nation has 4 languages that are officially used. Those four languages are Tamil, English, Malay and Chinese.

14. Over 50% of the population of Singapore have Chinese as their mother tongue. English as a first language has been adopted by nearly 32% of the citizens of the nation. 12% of the total population of Malay has their first language and Tamil is the first language for nearly 3% of Singaporeans.

15. Singapore has a very complex written language because of multiple official languages. The writing system that is prevalent in Singapore consists of Chinese characters, Latin alphabets as well as Tamil script. The Tamil script comes from the Southern Brahmi system of India.

Singapore Facts: 16-20

16. When it comes to religion, Singapore displays a lot of variety with Buddhism being the major religion. Mahayana Buddhism makes up the majority of the Buddhist population. Mahayana Buddhism practiced in Singapore finds roots in China.

17. Other forms like Vajrayana and Theravada are also quite popular. Nearly 43% of the total population of Singapore follow Buddhism.

18. It is hard to imagine Islam not being present somewhere. It is spreading like [whatever word you want to use]. 15% of Singaporeans are Muslims.

19. Hinduism, Catholic and Taoism are also present with Hindus making up 4% of the population, Catholics make up 5% of the total population, while Taoists outnumber the Hindus and Catholics by a handsome margin and stand at 8.5% of total population of Singapore.

20. 10% of people of Singapore come from other Christian denominations and a staggering 15% belong to the class with no religious preference at all.

Singapore Facts: 21-25

21. Did you know that Singapore is made of 64 separate islands? That may sound a lot but, can you guess the total area of the nation? It is merely 704 square kilometers or 272 square miles. That’s it!

22. The largest of all the islands of Singapore is Pulau Ujong. It also goes by the name Singapore Island.

23. A country so small can be really deceptive, and one may actually think that it is really backward and has nothing to offer to this world. Think again! In economic terms, it is one of the strongest in Asia with 5th highest per capita GDP in the whole world! Each person in Singapore earns an average of USD 60,500 per year.

24. In terms of economic contribution, the nation exports some important things like pharmaceuticals, refined petroleum, chemicals, telecommunications equipment and electronics.

25. Did you know that Singapore imports most of its consumer goods and food? Despite that, Singapore maintains a trade surplus of substantial amounts.

Singapore Facts: 26-30

26. Did you know that in Asia, Singapore is the least corrupt country. In the whole world, the country takes 5th position as the least corrupt country.

27. When it comes to ease of doing business, Singapore tops all other countries in the whole world as per the World Bank.

28. This tiny country generally remains humid and hot, and because it has a tropical climate, temperature variations are not significant. The temperature ranges between 23°C and 32°C.

29. The country gets monsoons twice. Once between June to September and between December to March. No point thinking that there’s no rain for the rest of the year. In reality, the country gets inter-monsoon rainy months with frequent afternoon showers.

30. The lowest point of the country lies at the sea level while the highest point that the country has is located at 545 feet or 166 meters. The highest point is known as Bukit Timah.

Singapore Facts: 31-35

31. Human settlement in Singapore can be traced back to the 2nd century CE. No one knows what happened before that. Chinese sources claim the existence of the main island since the 3rd century CE.

32. Mongol Empire in 1320 sent emissaries to Long Ya Men – a place which means ‘Dragon’s Tooth Strait’. It is believed that Long Ya Men was located on Singapore Island. The Mongols wanted some elephants from Singapore.

33. In Singapore it is believed that the place was founded by the prince of Srivijaya in the 13th century. As per the legend, the prince named Sri Tri Buana or Sang Nila Utama was shipwrecked on an island.

34. After being shipwrecked, the prince saw a lion. It was the first time in his life that he saw a lion ever. This was taken by Sang Nila Utama as a sign that a city must be founded there. So, he founded the Lion City or Singapura.

35. Unfortunately, however, the truth of this legend is highly contested because the island in question never had any lions or tigers. So, no lions in Lion City and it still has the name!

Singapore Facts: 36-40

36. From the 13th century, Singapore earned quite some notice from different empires and kingdoms. The ownership of the place changed between Siam’s Ayutthaya Kingdom (Siam is now Thailand) and Java’s Majapahit Empire.

37. By the 16th century, Singapore had become one of the most important trading depots for the Sultanate of Johor that was located in Malay Peninsula’s southern tip.

38. Then came the Europeans! In 1613 the city was completely burned down to the ground by the Portuguese pirates. For the next 200 years, the city simply vanished from the international map.

39. In 1819, the British came and reestablished Singapore as a trading post for the British Empire in Southeast Asia. In 1826, Singapore was given the name of Straits Settlement. In 1867, it was claimed as Britain’s Official Crown Colony.

40. British stayed in control till 1942 until Japan invaded it during WWII as part of the Southern Expansion drive. Japanese Occupation was, however, a short-lived one and lasted only till 1945.

Singapore Facts: 41-45

41. In Singapore, you may end up paying USD 150 as fine if you are caught not flushing the toilet in public urinals. Well, police officers often check. So, watch out!

42. Apart from fines for not flushing in public urinals, there are several things that are offensive and can get you into trouble in Singapore. They are:

  • Throwing off cigarette butts on the street is banned.
  • Spitting on the street is banned.
  • Pornography in any form (pictures, videos etc.) are completely banned. However, some magazines such as Cosmopolitan that talk about sex are allowed to be sold, but on one condition – ‘Parental Warning’ right on the cover page.
  • Walking naked around your own house is forbidden, because it is considered as a type of pornography.
  • Graffiti art is totally banned. If caught, you will be canned! There’s no escape from it because vandalism of public property is outlawed in this tiny nation.

43. Oh yes, drugs aren’t something you should ignore! Even if you are a tourist and you take drugs right before entering Singapore and you are found guilty by authorities, you can have some serious problems. This doesn’t mean you are allowed to take drugs after entering the country. Remember, for some drug related offenses, it is a mandatory death sentence in Singapore. It is really scary.

44. Did you know that selling of chewing gum in Singapore is completely forbidden. However, it doesn’t mean that you cannot take chewing gums with you to Singapore. You can do that, but just make sure that you don’t spit the gum on roads.

45. Talking of gums, you are allowed to chew a few types of medical gums in Singapore if you get a note from a doctor. This was done after Wrigley made a strong petition.

Singapore Facts: 46-50

46. It is illegal in Singapore to have gay sex. Lesbian sex is allowed. Oral sex between male and female or two females was forbidden till 2007, but that ban has been lifted. A man and woman or two women can have anal, vaginal and oral sex. 

47. Two gay men adopting a child is also totally illegal in Singapore. Also, gay men are required to attend National Service, but with very limited duties. 

48. Coming back to urination, in Singapore, you just cannot urinate in elevators. Well, you shouldn’t do it anywhere, but in Singapore, it is a serious offense. To enforce this, the elevators have special devices for detecting urine.

Once, the smell is detected by the device, it will set off an alarm and the elevator doors will refuse to open until law enforcement personnel arrive and grab the perpetrator. 

49. Littering on roads is also a serious offense in Singapore where the culprit can be fined up to USD 1,000 for littering and he or she will be forced to pick up the trash in public as humiliation. 

50. Singapore takes toilets so seriously that the nation actually tabled a UN resolution as a result of which, 19th November is today considered as World Toilet Day. The resolution received support from 122 countries and eventually the World Toilet Organization was formed in Singapore on 19th November, 2001. 

Singapore Facts: 51-55

51. Singapore has some seriously unbelievable rules. For instance, if you want to buy a car, you are allowed to do so, but the government will not certify it unless you pay an extra 1.5 times the price of the car itself. This is to discourage the usage of cars in the country.

52. Any building in Singapore cannot exceed the height of 280 meters. That’s a law. There are 3 buildings in Singapore that have exactly that height.

53. If you are born as a male in Singapore, you are in serious trouble unless you love military service. By law, every male in Singapore needs to serve 2 years of compulsory military service after they reach 18 years of age.

54. In Singapore, dogs are more revered than cats. If you are driving and you hit a dog and don’t stop for help, you will be committing a crime, and you can land in jail. This is not true if it were a cat you hit with your car. 

55. One of the fantastic punishments that you can get in Singapore for vandalism is caning. Yes, it is very much legal and you can have some hard time sitting after being caned. So, NO VANDALISM. 

Singapore Facts: 56-60

56. In 1984, a man by the name Ayakanno Marithamuthu was murdered in Orchard Road. He was chopped up into pieces and cooked up as a curry and then packed in a plastic bag and disposed of in rubbish bins.

57. In 1967, Singaporean men were engulfed by a mass hysteria when literally hundreds of men thought their penises were shrinking and disappearing and that they would die. They all rushed to hospitals. Nothing was really wrong with those men. 

58. Benjamin Sheares – Singapore’s second President – is the man responsible for the invention of Vaginoplasty – a method of making artificial vagina.

59. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Singapore was the 16th largest arms importer in the world between 2012 and 2016. 

60. Michael Fay – an American – committed vandalism and theft in Singapore in 1994. Fay was unaware of caning. U.S. officials had to pitch in to reduce the sentence from 6 strokes to 4. 

Singapore Facts: 61-65

61. In the whole of Southeast Asia, the Yakult bottles that are sold in Singapore are the largest. They are also the most expensive of all.

62. Apart from the main island, Singapore is made up of another 63 islands, but the problem is that most of these islands are not inhabited by humans.

63. Vanda Miss Joaquim is the national flower of the city-state. Did you know who discovered this flower? It was an Armenian by the name Agnes Joaquim. The flower was discovered in 1893.

64. Singapore is the largest exporter in the world when it comes to ornamental fish. The country accounts for 25% of the world market!

65. Though it sounds a bit weird, but it is true. More Singaporeans are born in October compared to any other month.

Singapore Facts: 66-70

66. When it comes to the number of death sentences given, Singapore is one of the leading countries in the world and most of these death sentences are related to drugs.

67. Singapore is often referred to as a concrete jungle, but that’s funny because nearly 50% of the whole of Singapore is covered in vegetation.

68. It is a rule in Singapore that every vehicle that is registered in Singapore should have at least 3/4th of the gas tank full when leaving Singapore. This is to ensure that people don’t cross over to Malaysia and buy cheaper gas.

69. When it comes to the rate of home ownership, Singapore leads the world with 92% home ownership. Interestingly, 85% of the Singaporeans actually own a government-subsidized home.

70. There were two soft drinks that were once sold in Singapore. They were named as ‘Anything’ and ‘Whatever’. Both the variants offered 6 different flavors. The catch was that the cans were designed to be identical and there was no way one could determine which flavor they would get.

Singapore Facts: 71-75

71. Singapore is known to be the easiest place to do business. That’s a free-market image! But, did you know that it is the government that owns all the land in Singapore. Government has its own housing corporation that provides subsidized houses to the citizens.

72. Not just that, the state-owned enterprises of Singapore account for 22% of the whole GDP of Singapore. One such state-owned enterprise is Singapore Airlines.

73. Singapore has been blamed for purchasing too much sand from several countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. For instance, Singapore purchased billions of cubic feet of sand just from Cambodia. The country did so because it needs land. Several blockades were imposed on sand trade after it came to notice that chunks of lands of other countries were shipped off to Singapore.

74. The Government of Singapore started what is known as the ‘Gardens by the Bay’ project. As a part of this project, the government planted several 50-meter high solar-powered man made trees. They have now become a tourist hotspot and cultural symbol of Singapore.

75. Speaking of trees, 7th November each year is observed as tree planting day across Singapore and everyone from citizens to the Prime Minister to foreign diplomats plant trees on this day. Citizens even adopt trees and give them a name, and these trees are often gifted as wedding presents and birthday presents.

Singapore Facts: 76-80

76. Did you know that on the whole of the planet, Singaporeans are the fastest pedestrians! They walk at a speed of 6.15 kilometers per hour. That’s quite fast.

77. Singaporean children are pretty smart. Ainan Celeste Cawley – a 7-year-old child from Singapore passed the GCE ‘O’ Level Chemistry paper, making him the world’s youngest person ever to have achieved that feat!

78. Singapore’s national symbol is the Merlion (much like mermaid). It is half lion (the head) and half fish (the body). The Lion comes from the story of Sang Nila Utama. The fish part is a tribute to Temasek – Singapore’s ancient sea town.

79. The Singapore Wheel at 165 meters is the world’s second-highest observation wheel. It missed the first spot by just 2 meters.

80. Out of 180 nations surveyed, Singapore was given a rank of 153 when it came to difficulty in reporting. The rating was given by Reporters Without Borders. It is an agency responsible for evaluating press freedom in various places in the world. Singapore isn’t the best of places for people in that profession!

Singapore Facts: 81-85

81. The largest bat in this world known as the Flying Fox with 1.5 meters of wingspan is found of Pulau Ubin – one of the several islands of Singapore off the mainland.

82. Night Safari – the first ever night zoo in the world – is located in Singapore.

83. Did you know that there are more tree species in Bukit Timah Nature Park of Singapore compared to the whole North American continent?

84. The National Flag of Singapore has a special meaning like every other country in this world. The red color means Universal Brotherhood. The 5 stars that sit on the red band represent equality, justice, progress, peace and democracy. The crescent moon on the red band represents a young progressive nation. The white band represents virtue and purity.

85. The USA is 15,000 times bigger than the whole of Singapore.

Singapore Facts: 86-90

86. In 1965 on September 21, Singapore was taken in as the 117th member of the United Nations.

87. There is another Singapore in this world. It is located in the USA’s Michigan. It is now known as a ghost town.

88. Singapore, just like European Union, Japan and Canada, has banned the practice of using Carbon Monoxide to give meat a fresher appearance. In the USA, this is a legal practice.

89. Chan Hon Meng is the owner of a street food stand in Singapore. That stand is a Michelin Star rated restaurant and is the cheapest in the world. For a single meal you need to pay just USD 1.50 and you will get a full plate of rice and soya sauce chicken.

90. In 2012, Singapore held what is known as National Night. The fertility rate of the country was, at that time, 0.79. The whole purpose of the National Night was to encourage the couples into creating a population spurt and also letting their patriotism explode!

Singapore Facts: 91-95

91. Suntec City in Singapore has all its towers built in the shape of a ‘palm’ of human hands. The reason? It symbolizes good feng shui.

92. For the last 28 years, the ‘Best Airport in Asia’ award has been won by Changi Airport in Singapore! The airport has managed to bag the award since 1987.

93. The best-selling local author in Singapore? Russell Lee! Well, that’s not a single person. It is the name that has been taken by a whole team of ghost writers. They authored ‘True Singapore Ghost Stories’ in 11 volumes and guess what? They have sold more than 600,000 copies till now.

94. “Hello Chok Tong, Goodbye Kuan Yew: The Untold Story” was Singapore’s fastest-selling book. George Nonis – a political cartoonist – wrote and drew the book. In the first two months, 40,000 copies of the book were sold!

95. The only country in this world whose citizens do not require any visa for entering America, China, South Korea and North Korea is Singapore.

Singapore Facts: 96-101

96. We all know that caning is corporal punishment in Singapore. What most of us don’t know is that prison officers get special training on how to swing a cane measuring 1.09 meters so that a minimum speed of 160 kph and impact force of 90 kilos is achieved.

97. If a parent in Singapore earns less than 2,500 Singaporean dollars a month, children of those parents automatically become eligible for financial assistance from the government where those children get 120 Singaporean dollars as transport credit and the cost of textbooks and tuition fees are all waived off.

98. The lowest temperature that was ever recorded in Singapore was 66.9 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s 19.38 degrees Celsius.

99. If all roads in Singapore are stretched out and placed end-to-end, they will cover 3,000 kilometers. That’s the distance between Singapore and Hong Kong.

100. The largest tropical orchid garden in the whole world is located in Singapore Botanic Gardens. This garden has been bestowed with the honor of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.

101. Did you know that the National Stadium of Singapore has a retractable roof that blocks sun rays and rain and also works as a gigantic projector? Made using cutting-edge weather-resistant material, the roof takes 20 minutes to open or close completely and it covers the 95% of the seats in the stadium!

Sources…

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