The Esplanade Bridge is a 261-metre-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. The 70 metre-wide low-level concrete arched bridge has seven spans and supports two four-lane carriageways and walkways along both sides.
The bridge was built to provide faster vehicular access between Marina Centre and the financial district of Shenton Way. Construction of the bridge began in early 1994 and was completed in March 1997. The main contractor was Obayashi Corporation while the street lamps were designed by Light Cibles. The bridge then blocked views of the Merlion statue from the Marina Bay waterfront, raising a need for the original Merlion statue to be relocated from the back to the front of the bridge.
OCCASIONAL ROAD CLOSURES
The bridge offers panoramic views of Marina South and the rest of Marina Bay. However, this also makes it subject to occasional road closures on special occasions, where the bridge closes to all road traffic to allow spectators and pedestrians to observe fireworks seen during the National Day celebrations, New Year’s Eve and the Singapore Fireworks Celebrations. On these nights, the bridge is usually full of onlookers. The street lights on the bridge are usually turned off before the fireworks start, and turned on after their completion.
The bridge also forms part of the Singapore Grand Prix’s Marina Bay Street Circuit, which debuted on 28 September 2008, and therefore has to be completely closed for the duration of the racing weekend.
Singapore (Listeni/ˈsɪŋɡəpɔːr/), officially the Republic of Singapore, and often referred to as the Lion City, the Garden City, and the Red Dot, is a global city and sovereign state in Southeast Asia and the world’s only island city-state. It lies one degree (137 km) north of the equator, at the southernmost tip of continental Asia and peninsular Malaysia, with Indonesia’s Riau Islands to the south. Singapore’s territory consists of the diamond-shaped main island and 62 islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23% (130 km2), and its greening policy has covered the densely populated island with tropical flora, parks and gardens.
The islands were settled from the second century AD by a series of local empires. In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles founded modern Singapore as a trading post of the East India Company; after the company collapsed, the islands were ceded to Britain and became part of its Straits Settlements in 1826. During World War II, Singapore was occupied by Japan. It gained independence from Britain in 1963, by uniting with other former British territories to form Malaysia, but was expelled two years later over ideological differences. After early years of turbulence, and despite lacking natural resources and a hinterland, the nation developed rapidly as an Asian Tiger economy, based on external trade and its human capital.
Singapore is a global commerce, finance and transport hub. Its standings include: "easiest place to do business" (World Bank) for ten consecutive years, most "technology-ready" nation (WEF), top International-meetings city (UIA), city with "best investment potential" (BERI), 2nd-most competitive country (WEF), 3rd-largest foreign exchange centre, 3rd-largest financial centre, 3rd-largest oil refining and trading centre and one of the top two busiest container ports since the 1990s. Singapore’s best known global brands include Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport, both amongst the most-awarded in their industry; SIA is also rated by Fortune surveys as Asia’s "most admired company". For the past decade, it has been the only Asian country with the top AAA sovereign rating from all major credit rating agencies, including S&P, Moody’s and Fitch.
Singapore ranks high on its national social policies, leading Asia and 11th globally, on the Human Development Index (UN), notably on key measures of education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety, housing. Although income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes, and the country has one of the highest per capita incomes, with low taxes. The cosmopolitan nation is home to 5.5 million residents, 38% of whom are permanent residents and other foreign nationals. Singaporeans are mostly bilingual in a mother-tongue language and English as their common language. Its cultural diversity is reflected in its extensive ethnic "hawker" cuisine and major festivals – Chinese, Malay, Indian, Western – which are all national holidays. In 2015, Lonely Planet and The New York Times listed Singapore as their top and 6th best world destination to visit respectively.
The nation’s core principles are meritocracy, multiculturalism and secularism. It is noted for its effective, pragmatic and incorrupt governance and civil service, which together with its rapid development policies, is widely cited as the "Singapore model". Gallup polls shows 84% of its residents expressed confidence in the national government, and 85% in its judicial systems – one of the highest ratings recorded. Singapore has significant influence on global affairs relative to its size, leading some analysts to classify it as a middle power. It is ranked as Asia’s most influential city and 4th in the world by Forbes.
Singapore is a unitary, multiparty, parliamentary republic, with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. The People’s Action Party has won every election since self-government in 1959. One of the five founding members of the ASEAN, Singapore is also the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat, and a member of the East Asia Summit, Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth of Nations.
The English name of Singapore is derived from the Malay word, Singapura, which was in turn derived from Sanskrit (Singa is "lion", Pura "city"; Sanskrit: सिंहपुर, IAST: Siṃhápura), hence the customary reference to the nation as the Lion City, and its inclusion in many of the nation’s symbols (e.g., its coat of arms, Merlion emblem). However, it is unlikely that lions ever lived on the island; Sang Nila Utama, who founded and named the island Singapura, most likely saw a Malayan tiger. It is also known as Pulau Ujong, as far back as the 3rd century, literally ‘island at the end’ (of the Malay Peninsula) in Malay.
Since the 1970s, Singapore has also been widely known as the Garden City, owing to its extensive greening policy covering the whole island, a priority of its first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, dubbed the nation’s "Chief Gardener". The nation’s conservation and greening efforts contributed to Singapore Botanic Gardens being the only tropical garden to be inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The nickname, Red Dot, is a reference to its size on the map, contrasting with its achievements. In 2015, Singapore’s Golden Jubilee year, the celebratory "SG50" branding is depicted inside a red dot.
Temasek (‘Sea Town’ in the Malay language), an outpost of the Sumatran Srivijaya empire, is the earliest written record relating to the area now called Singapore. In the 13th century, the Kingdom of Singapura was established on the island and it became a trading port city. However, there were two major foreign invasions before it was destroyed by the Majapahit in 1398. In 1613, Portuguese raiders burned down the settlement, which by then was nominally part of the Johor Sultanate and the island sank into obscurity for the next two centuries, while the wider maritime region and much trade was under Dutch control.
BRITISH COLONISATION 1819-1942
In 1819, Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived and signed a treaty with Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor, on behalf of the British East India Company, to develop the southern part of Singapore as a British trading post. In 1824, the entire island, as well as the Temenggong, became a British possession after a further treaty with the Sultan. In 1826, Singapore became part of the Straits Settlements, under the jurisdiction of British India, becoming the regional capital in 1836.
Prior to Raffles’ arrival, there were only about a thousand people living on the island, mostly indigenous Malays along with a handful of Chinese. By 1860, the population had swelled to more than 80,000 and more than half were Chinese. Many immigrants came to work at rubber plantations and, after the 1870s, the island became a global centre for rubber exports.
After the First World War, the British built the large Singapore Naval Base. Lieutenant General Sir William George Shedden Dobbie was appointed General Officer Commanding of the Malaya Command on 8 November 1935, holding the post until 1939;
WORLD WAR II AND JAPANESE OCCUPATION 1942-45
in May 1938, the General Officer Commanding of the Malaya Command warned how Singapore could be conquered by the Japanese via an attack from northern Malaya, but his warnings went unheeded. The Imperial Japanese Army invaded British Malaya, culminating in the Battle of Singapore. When the British surrendered on 15 February 1942, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the defeat "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history". Between 5,000 and 25,000 ethnic Chinese people were killed in the subsequent Sook Ching massacre.
From November 1944 to May 1945, the Allies conducted an intensive bombing of Singapore.
RETURN OF BRITISH 1945-59
After the surrender of Japan was announced in the Jewel Voice Broadcast by the Japanese Emperor on 15 August 1945 there was a breakdown of order and looting and revenge-killing were widespread. The formal Japanese Occupation of Singapore was only ended by Operation Tiderace and the formal surrender on 12 September 1945 at Singapore City Hall when Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of Southeast Asia Command, accepted the capitulation of Japanese forces in Southeast Asia from General Itagaki Seishiro.
A British Military Administration was then formed to govern the island. On 1 April 1946, the Straits Settlements were dissolved and Singapore became a separate Crown Colony with a civil administration headed by a Governor. Much of the infrastructure had been destroyed during the war, including the harbour, electricity, telephone and water supply systems. There was also a shortage of food leading to malnutrition, disease, and rampant crime and violence. High food prices, unemployment, and workers’ discontent culminated into a series of strikes in 1947 causing massive stoppages in public transport and other services. In July 1947, separate Executive and Legislative Councils were established and the election of six members of the Legislative Council was scheduled for the following year. By late 1947, the economy began to recover, facilitated by a growing demand for tin and rubber around the world, but it would take several more years before the economy returned to pre-war levels.
The failure of Britain to defend Singapore had destroyed its credibility as an infallible ruler in the eyes of Singaporeans. The decades after the war saw a political awakening amongst the local populace and the rise of anti-colonial and nationalist sentiments, epitomized by the slogan Merdeka, or "independence" in the Malay language.
During the 1950s, Chinese Communists with strong ties to the trade unions and Chinese schools carried out armed uprising against the government, leading to the Malayan Emergency and later, the Communist Insurgency War. The 1954 National Service Riots, Chinese middle schools riots, and Hock Lee bus riots in Singapore were all linked to these events.
David Marshall, pro-independence leader of the Labour Front, won Singapore’s first general election in 1955. He led a delegation to London, but Britain rejected his demand for complete self-rule. He resigned and was replaced by Lim Yew Hock, whose policies convinced Britain to grant Singapore full internal self-government for all matters except defence and foreign affairs.
During the May 1959 elections, the People’s Action Party won a landslide victory. Singapore became an internally self-governing state within the Commonwealth, with Lee Kuan Yew as its first Prime Minister. Governor Sir William Allmond Codrington Goode served as the first Yang di-Pertuan Negara (Head of State), and was succeeded by Yusof bin Ishak, who became the first President of Singapore in 1965.
MERGER WITH MALAYSIA 1963-65
As a result of the 1962 Merger Referendum, on 31 August 1963 Singapore joined with the Federation of Malaya, the Crown Colony of Sarawak and the Crown Colony of North Borneo to form the new federation of Malaysia under the terms of the Malaysia Agreement. Singaporean leaders chose to join Malaysia primarily due to concerns over its limited land size, scarcity of water, markets and natural resources. Some Singaporean and Malaysian politicians were also concerned that the communists might form the government on the island, a possibility perceived as an external threat to the Federation of Malaya.However, shortly after the merger, the Singapore state government and the Malaysian central government disagreed on many political and economic issues, and communal strife culminated in the 1964 race riots in Singapore. After many heated ideological conflicts between the two governments, on 9 August 1965, the Malaysian Parliament voted 126 to 0 to expel Singapore from Malaysia with Singaporean delegates not present.
INDEPENDENCE 1965 TO PRESENT
Singapore gained independence as the Republic of Singapore (remaining within the Commonwealth of Nations) on 9 August 1965. Race riots broke out once more in 1969. In 1967, the country co-founded ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and in 1970 it joined the Non-Aligned Movement. Lee Kuan Yew became Prime Minister, leading its Third World economy to First World affluence in a single generation. His emphasis on rapid economic growth, support for business entrepreneurship, limitations on internal democracy, and close relationships with China set the new nation’s policies for the next half-century.
In 1990, Goh Chok Tong succeeded Lee as Prime Minister, while the latter continued serving in the Cabinet as Senior Minister until 2004, and then Minister Mentor until May 2011. During Goh’s tenure, the country faced the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the 2003 SARS outbreak and terrorist threats posed by Jemaah Islamiyah.
In 2004, Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, became the country’s third Prime Minister. Goh Chok Tong remained in Cabinet as the Senior Minister until May 2011, when he was named Emeritus Senior Minister despite his retirement. He steered the nation through the 2008 global financial crisis, resolved the disputed 79-year old Malayan railways land, and introduced integrated resorts. Despite the economy’s exceptional growth, PAP suffered its worst election results in 2011, winning 60% of votes, amidst hot-button issues of high influx of foreign workers and cost of living. Lee initiated a major re-structuring of the economy to raise productivity, improved universal healthcare and grants, especially for the pioneer generation of citizens, amongst many new inclusive measures.
On 23 March 2015, its founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who had ‘personified Singapore to the world’ for nearly half a century died. In a week of national mourning, 1.7 million residents and guests paid tribute to him at his lying-in-state at Parliament House and at community sites around the island.
Singapore celebrated its Golden jubilee in 2015 – its 50th year of independence, with a year-long series of events branded SG50. The PAP maintained its dominance in Parliament at the September general elections, receiving 69.9% of the popular vote, its second-highest polling result behind the 2001 tally of 75.3%.
Singapore consists of 63 islands, including the main island, Pulau Ujong. There are two man-made connections to Johor, Malaysia: the Johor–Singapore Causeway in the north and the Tuas Second Link in the west. Jurong Island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and Sentosa are the largest of Singapore’s smaller islands. The highest natural point is Bukit Timah Hill at 163.63 m. April and May are the hottest months, with the wetter monsoon season from November to January.
From July to October, there is often haze caused by bush fires in neighbouring Indonesia, usually from the island of Sumatra. Although Singapore does not observe daylight saving time (DST), it follows the GMT+8 time zone, one hour ahead of the typical zone for its geographical location.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Singapore is a parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government representing constituencies. The country’s constitution establishes a representative democracy as the political system. Executive power rests with the Cabinet of Singapore, led by the Prime Minister and, to a much lesser extent, the President. The President is elected through a popular vote, and has veto powers over a specific set of executive decisions, such as the use of the national reserves and the appointment of judges, but otherwise occupies a largely ceremonial post.
The Parliament serves as the legislative branch of the government. Members of Parliament (MPs) consist of elected, non-constituency and nominated members. Elected MPs are voted into the Parliament on a "first-past-the-post" (plurality) basis and represent either single-member or group representation constituencies. The People’s Action Party has won control of Parliament with large majorities in every election since self-governance was secured in 1959.
Although the elections are clean, there is no independent electoral authority and the government has strong influence on the media. Freedom House ranks Singapore as "partly free" in its Freedom in the World report, and The Economist ranks Singapore as a "flawed democracy", the second best rank of four, in its "Democracy Index". Despite this, in the 2011 Parliamentary elections, the opposition, led by the Workers’ Party, increased its representation to seven elected MPs. In the 2015 elections, PAP scored a landslide victory, winning 83 of 89 seats contested, with 70% of popular votes. Gallup polls reported 84% of residents in Singapore expressed confidence in the government, and 85% in its judicial systems and courts – one of the highest ratings in the world.
Singapore’s governance model eschews populist politics, focusing on the nation’s long-term interest, and is known to be clean, effective and pragmatic. As a small nation highly dependent on external trade, it is vulnerable to geo-politics and global economics. It places great emphasis on security and stability of the region in its foreign policies, and applies global best practices to ensure the nation’s attractiveness as an investment destination and business hub.
The legal system of Singapore is based on English common law, but with substantial local differences. Trial by jury was abolished in 1970 so that judicial decisions would rest entirely in the hands of appointed judges. Singapore has penalties that include judicial corporal punishment in the form of caning, which may be imposed for such offences as rape, rioting, vandalism, and certain immigration offences.There is a mandatory death penalty for murder, as well as for certain aggravated drug-trafficking and firearms offences.
Amnesty International has said that some legal provisions of the Singapore system conflict with the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that Singapore has "… possibly the highest execution rate in the world relative to its population". The government has disputed Amnesty’s claims. In a 2008 survey of international business executives, Singapore received the top ranking with regard to judicial system quality in Asia. Singapore has been consistently rated among the least corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International.
In 2011, the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index ranked Singapore among the top countries surveyed with regard to "order and security", "absence of corruption", and "effective criminal justice". However, the country received a much lower ranking for "freedom of speech" and "freedom of assembly". All public gatherings of five or more people require police permits, and protests may legally be held only at the Speakers’ Corner.
Education for primary, secondary, and tertiary levels is mostly supported by the state. All institutions, private and public, must be registered with the Ministry of Education. English is the language of instruction in all public schools, and all subjects are taught and examined in English except for the "mother tongue" language paper. While the term "mother tongue" in general refers to the first language internationally, in Singapore’s education system, it is used to refer to the second language, as English is the first language. Students who have been abroad for a while, or who struggle with their "Mother Tongue" language, are allowed to take a simpler syllabus or drop the subject.
Education takes place in three stages: primary, secondary, and pre-university education. Only the primary level is compulsory. Students begin with six years of primary school, which is made up of a four-year foundation course and a two-year orientation stage. The curriculum is focused on the development of English, the mother tongue, mathematics, and science. Secondary school lasts from four to five years, and is divided between Special, Express, Normal (Academic), and Normal (Technical) streams in each school, depending on a student’s ability level. The basic coursework breakdown is the same as in the primary level, although classes are much more specialised. Pre-university education takes place over two to three years at senior schools, mostly called Junior Colleges.
Some schools have a degree of freedom in their curriculum and are known as autonomous schools. These exist from the secondary education level and up.
National examinations are standardised across all schools, with a test taken after each stage. After the first six years of education, students take the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), which determines their placement at secondary school. At the end of the secondary stage, GCE "O"-Level exams are taken; at the end of the following pre-university stage, the GCE "A"-Level exams are taken. Of all non-student Singaporeans aged 15 and above, 18% have no education qualifications at all while 45% have the PSLE as their highest qualification; 15% have the GCE ‘O’ Level as their highest qualification and 14% have a degree.
Singaporean students consistently rank at or near the top of international education assessments:
– In 2015, Singapore topped the OECD’s global school performance rankings, based on 15-year-old students’ average scores in mathematics and science across 76 countries.
– Singaporean students were ranked first in the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, and have been ranked in the top three every year since 1995.
– Singapore fared best in the 2015 International Baccalaureate exams, taken in 107 countries, with more than half of the world’s 81 perfect scorers and 98% passing rate.
The country’s two main public universities – the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University – are ranked among the top 13 in the world.
Singapore has a generally efficient healthcare system, even though their health expenditures are relatively low for developed countries. The World Health Organisation ranks Singapore’s healthcare system as 6th overall in the world in its World Health Report. In general, Singapore has had the lowest infant mortality rate in the world for the past two decades.
Life expectancy in Singapore is 80 for males and 85 for females, placing the country 4th in the world for life expectancy. Almost the whole population has access to improved water and sanitation facilities. There are fewer than 10 annual deaths from HIV per 100,000 people. There is a high level of immunisation. Adult obesity is below 10%
The government’s healthcare system is based upon the "3M" framework. This has three components: Medifund, which provides a safety net for those not able to otherwise afford healthcare, Medisave, a compulsory health savings scheme covering about 85% of the population, and Medishield, a government-funded health insurance program. Public hospitals in Singapore have autonomy in their management decisions, and compete for patients. A subsidy scheme exists for those on low income. In 2008, 32% of healthcare was funded by the government. It accounts for approximately 3.5% of Singapore’s GDP.
Buddhism is the most widely practised religion in Singapore, with 33% of the resident population declaring themselves adherents at the most recent census. The next-most practised religion is Christianity, followed by Islam, Taoism, and Hinduism. 17% of the population did not have a religious affiliation. The proportion of Christians, Taoists, and non-religious people increased between 2000 and 2010 by about 3% each, whilst the proportion of Buddhists decreased. Other faiths remained largely stable in their share of the population. An analysis by the Pew Research Center found Singapore to be the world’s most religiously diverse nation.
There are monasteries and Dharma centres from all three major traditions of Buddhism in Singapore: Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. Most Buddhists in Singapore are Chinese and are of the Mahayana tradition, with missionaries having come into the country from Taiwan and China for several decades. However, Thailand’s Theravada Buddhism has seen growing popularity among the populace (not only the Chinese) during the past decade. Soka Gakkai International, a Japanese Buddhist organisation, is practised by many people in Singapore, but mostly by those of Chinese descent. Tibetan Buddhism has also made slow inroads into the country in recent years.
Singapore has one of the lowest rates of drug use in the world. Culturally, the use of illicit drugs is viewed as highly undesirable by Singaporeans, unlike many European societies. Singaporeans’ disapproval towards drug use has resulted in laws that impose the mandatory death sentence for certain serious drug trafficking offences. Singapore also has a low rate of alcohol consumption per capita and low levels of violent crime, and one of the lowest intentional homicide rate globally. The average alcohol consumption rate is only 2 litres annually per adult, one of the lowest in the world.
Foreigners make up 42% of the population, and have a strong influence on Singaporean culture. The Economist Intelligence Unit, in its 2013 "Where-to-be-born Index", ranks Singapore as having the best quality of life in Asia and sixth overall in the world.
LANGUAGES; RELIGIONS AND CULTURES
Singapore is a very diverse and young country. It has many languages, religions, and cultures for a country its size.
When Singapore became independent from the United Kingdom in 1963, most of the newly minted Singaporean citizens were uneducated labourers from Malaysia, China and India. Many of them were transient labourers who were seeking to make some money in Singapore and they had no intention of staying permanently. A sizeable minority of middle-class, local-born people, known as the Peranakans, also existed. With the exception of the Peranakans (descendants of late 15th and 16th-century Chinese immigrants) who pledged their loyalties to Singapore, most of the labourers’ loyalties lay with their respective homelands of Malaysia, China and India. After independence, the process of crafting a Singaporean identity and culture began.
Former Prime Ministers of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, have stated that Singapore does not fit the traditional description of a nation, calling it a society-in-transition, pointing out the fact that Singaporeans do not all speak the same language, share the same religion, or have the same customs. Even though English is the first language of the nation, according to the government’s 2010 census 20% of Singaporeans, or one in five, are illiterate in English. This is a marked improvement from 1990 where 40% of Singaporeans were illiterate in English.
Languages, religions and cultures among Singaporeans are not delineated according to skin colour or ancestry, unlike many other countries. Among Chinese Singaporeans, one in five is Christian, another one in five is atheist, and the rest are mostly Buddhists or Taoists. One-third speak English as their home language, while half speak Mandarin Chinese. The rest speak other Chinese varieties at home. Most Malays in Singapore speak Malay as their home language with some speaking English. Singaporean Indians are much more religious. Only 1% of them are atheists. Six in ten are Hindu, two in ten Muslim, and the rest mostly Christian. Four in ten speak English as their home language, three in ten Tamil, one in ten Malay, and the rest other Indian languages as their home language.
Each Singaporean’s behaviours and attitudes would therefore be influenced by, among many other things, his or her home language and his religion. Singaporeans who speak English as their native language tend to lean toward Western culture, while those who speak Chinese as their native language tend to lean toward Chinese culture and Confucianism. Malay speaking Singaporeans tend to lean toward the Malay culture, which itself is closely linked to the Islamic culture.
ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS
At the national level in Singapore, meritocracy, where one is judged based on one’s ability, is heavily emphasised.
Racial and religious harmony is regarded by Singaporeans as a crucial part of Singapore’s success, and played a part in building a Singaporean identity. Singapore has a reputation as a nanny state. The national flower of Singapore is the hybrid orchid, Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’, named in memory of a Singapore-born Armenian woman, who crossbred the flower in her garden at Tanjong Pagar in 1893. Many national symbols such as the Coat of arms of Singapore and the Lion head symbol of Singapore make use of the lion, as Singapore is known as the Lion City. Other monikers by which Singapore is widely known is the Garden City and the Red Dot. Public holidays in Singapore cover major Chinese, Western, Malay and Indian festivals.
Singaporean employees work an average of around 45 hours weekly, relatively long compared to many other nations. Three in four Singaporean employees surveyed stated that they take pride in doing their work well, and that doing so helps their self-confidence.
Dining, along with shopping, is said to be the country’s national pastime. The focus on food has led countries like Australia to attract Singaporean tourists with food-based itineraries. The diversity of food is touted as a reason to visit the country, and the variety of food representing different ethnicities is seen by the government as a symbol of its multiculturalism. The "national fruit" of Singapore is the durian.
In popular culture, food items belong to a particular ethnicity, with Chinese, Malay, and Indian food clearly defined. However, the diversity of cuisine has been increased further by the "hybridisation" of different styles (e.g., the Peranakan cuisine, a mix of Chinese and Malay cuisine).
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