Geographical Location of Singapore
Much of Singapore's coastline is covered in landfills, port facilities and marsh drainages. The climate is humid tropical and almost without seasonal variations with an average temperature of 27°C. Tropical forests have been preserved in some reserves. Singapore is a city-state, so wildlife is largely limited to nature reserves and the Nee Soon Swamp Forest.
Environmental problems in Singapore include pollution from industry, limited access to fresh water, and problems with waste disposal due to a lack of available land. The country could also suffer from smoke and air pollution from wildfires in neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia.
Brief History of Singapore
Since the 200s, Singapore has been a trading outpost for several kingdoms in the region. After the 14th century, several conflicts between the major powers of the region led to the city being almost completely abandoned. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the island was ruled by the Sultanate of Johor. In 1819 the city became part of the British Empire. Along with Penang and Malacca, Singapore was part of the newly created British colony of the Straits Settlements. Singapore was a free port and became the dominant trading and port city in Southeast Asia. The population grew rapidly and the Chinese became the dominant ethnic group. Since the 1920s, Singapore has become a heavily fortified British naval base.
During World War II, the island was occupied by Japan and the Straits Settlements colony was dissolved. Singapore became an independent British Crown colony in 1946 and became part of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. Strong divisions between radical Chinese-dominated Singapore and conservative Malay-dominated Malaysia led Singapore to leave the federation in 1965. Since then the island has become an independent republic.
The dominant party is the People's Action Party. The party has held power and the post of prime minister since liberation in 1965. Political opposition is suppressed, but since 1981 it has been allowed to be represented in parliament.
Society and Politics of Singapore
Officially, Singapore is a democratic republic, but in practice the country has clear authoritarian and undemocratic characteristics. Executive power belongs to the government and the prime minister. The head of state is a popularly elected president with relatively few powers. In 2017, Halima Yacob was elected as the country's first female president. Both the media and the Internet in Singapore are controlled by the government.
Singapore has always been an important trading center and the population consists of many different peoples, cultures, languages and religions. Despite the undemocratic government and mixed population, the country is peaceful and well-functioning.
Singapore has one of the highest standards of living in the world, with a high life expectancy, a good healthcare system and a good education system. Women and men are equal under the country's laws, but women often earn less than men and are underrepresented in politics. The country has a special form of insurance for illness, pension and unemployment. Everyone pays taxes into a central health care fund, which residents can use to buy a home, pay for medical expenses or retire.
Economy and Trade of Singapore
During colonial times, the free port of Singapore was a meeting point for trade between neighboring countries. After independence, the country focused on industrialization and foreign investment. This led to strong economic growth. Today, industry accounts for 24 percent of the country's gross domestic product and produces ships, oil platforms, chemicals and electronic equipment, among other things. A well-developed industry contributes to the country having a positive trade balance (they export more than they import), despite being entirely dependent on imports of food, water, oil and gas from abroad. Singapore's shipping port is one of the busiest in the world.
The island nation has become an international banking and financial center and a large number of multinational companies have settled here. Since 1996, Singapore was no longer considered a developing country, and since the early 1990s the focus has been on developing services (trade, finance, transport and tourism). Today, services make up 75 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Singapore is considered the leading financial center of Southeast Asia and the best country in the world to start a company. As one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, several Chinese tech giants have settled here.