The name Singapore originates from the Malay word “Singapura” which means Lion City. A Sumatran prince thought that he had seen a lion after he landed here. However, there have never been lions in the country, but the name stuck. The Merlion, a half-fish, half-lion beast, is today a symbol of Singapore.
Singapore is a tiny island nation in Southeast Asia. It is one of the smallest as well as one of the richest countries in the world. The popular movie “Crazy rich Asians” has shown the crazy and rich side of this man made Asian wonder. Let’s explore some more interesting things about Singapore.
Interesting facts about Singapore
1. Singapore is one of the only three surviving city-states in the world. The other two are Monaco and Vatican City. And out of the three, only Singapore is an island.
Singapore was once a part of Malaysia and became a sovereign country only in 1965. In fact, Singapore didn’t even ask for independence. It was thrown out of Malaysia by democratic voting.
2. Many people think that Singapore is a single island which is not true. Singapore is actually made up of 63 islands and most of them are uninhabited and even unreachable, but some can be visited on daily ferry services.
3. The country has very specific rules regarding toilet habits. Singapore has passed a law which prohibits urinating in the elevators. The elevators here have Urine Detection Device, and if it detects any unwanted smell, it locks the doors until the police arrive. Not flushing the public toilet after use is also a crime. I wonder under what circumstances these laws were passed.
The country is so obsessed with toilets that Singapore government tabled a UN resolution to designate 19th November as the World Toilet Day. They got the support of 122 other countries and the World Toilet Organization was formed on 19th November 2001, in Singapore. Singapore and toilets – one epic love story! Where have we heard that before?
4. You can learn some honesty from the people of Singapore. It is the least corrupt in Asia and the 4th least corrupt country in the world.
Singapore is known for having the best paid country leader and civil servants in the world and it helps the country to remain corruption free. The Prime Minister of Singapore earns a whopping $1.7 million annually, which is four times higher than what the US president earns.
5. Singapore has one of the most expensive real estate in the world. Therefore more than 80% of the country’s population lives in government-subsidized houses.
6. Cars are a real luxury in the country. Due to the limited space and ever expanding population, the government has taken extreme measures to regulate the use of cars. This is achieved through high taxation which can be up to 200% of the car cost and the need to get a permit to drive the car, called COE. These add-ons help in discouraging the use of private vehicles on road. But you don’t need one either as public transportation is readily available, cheap and very comfortable.
7. I guess lack of cars have encouraged people to walk here. Singaporeans are collectively the fastest pedestrians on the planet. They can walk about 6.15km in an hour. Environment friendly and healthy, no wonder Singapore is one of the best places to live.
8. A weird rule about Singapore is that you are not allowed to chew gum. The government says that it is for the sake of cleanliness as people tend to throw the chewing gum on the street.
9. The Singapore Grand Prix Racing Circuit is famous for holding the world’s first ever F1 night-race in 2008.
10. The fascination with night activities continue as the world’s first night zoo is also located in Singapore.
11. Ainan Celeste Cawley, of Singapore is a child prodigy. He is a record holder for being the youngest child ever to pass O-level chemistry at 7 years old. At 9 years he cracked the Physics “O level certificate” too.
12. Singapore is a top spot for wealthy individuals and entrepreneurs. One in every six people here has assets worth $1 million or more.
13. The Changi Airport in Singapore was voted the World’s Best Airport for the eighth consecutive time in 2020. The airport is a mini city in itself. Apart from the amazing shopping stores, it has an indoor waterfall, a butterfly garden and a sunflower garden. There is so much to do that people include exploring the airport as part of their Singapore itinerary.
14. Singapore has one of the most renowned street food scenes. And I am sure that while watching “Crazy Rich Asians” you would have craved for it. The food courts sell the best dishes on the island. Two of its stands have even earned Michelin stars as well.
16. The Singapore Botanic Gardens are the only tropical gardens listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The most popular attraction is the National Orchid Garden which is the largest tropical orchid garden in the world. The orchid species in the garden are known as Very Important Plants (VIPs). And many of them are named after celebrities and visiting foreign dignitaries like Jackie Chan, Nelson Mandela, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and many more.
17. Singapore’s national anthem is in micro-text on the back of their $1,000 note. These notes are not easily seen but if you come across one, remember to have a look.
18. It’s one of the world’s greenest cities. Despite the high density of concrete structures, Singapore has still managed to remain green. Almost half of the territory of Singapore is covered by vegetation!
The country celebrates national tree planting day on 7th November every year. Every citizen plant trees on this day. Singaporeans even adopt and name trees for their children as birthday gifts or wedding presents.
19. People speak Singlish here which is a fusion language with English as the base and influence from many different languages, including Tamil, Malay, and Mandarin. Did you think that Hinglish is the only fusion language? Some Singlish words such as “sinseh” and “lah” have even been added to the online Oxford English Dictionary.
20. There is a rule in Singapore that buildings cannot be higher than 280 metres. This is because Singapore is a small country and the military base is situated really close to the central business district. High buildings could be big trouble for the planes, and that’s why the law regulates their height.
21. There’s a ‘Hug Me’ Coca-Cola machine in Singapore dispenses a bottle of Coke when a person wraps his or her arms around the machine. A little love never hurts anyone.
22. You can enjoy amazing thrill ride called the Flying bat here. It lets people experience life through the eyes of a flying bat.
23. Did you know there’s another Singapore in the world? Singapore is the name of Michigan’s famous ghost town.
Trip leader Sakshi’s Recommendations if you are visiting Singapore:
Gardens by the Bay: One of Singapore’s most remarkable green spaces with enormous biodomes rising out of the greenery and a home to over 800 species of plants, this is a popular tourist attraction in Singapore