Singapore’s strategic position on the strait between the Indian Ocean and South China Sea, complemented by its deepwater harbour, has made it the largest port in Southeast Asia and one of the world’s greatest commercial centres.
Known variously as the “Lion City” or “Garden City,” — the latter for its many parks and tree-lined streets — Singapore has also been called “instant Asia” because it offers the visitor an expeditious glimpse into the cultures brought to it by immigrants from all parts of Asia. While predominantly Chinese, it has substantial minorities of Malays and Indians.
Because of this ethnic diversity, no fewer than four official languages are recognized—English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. English remains the main medium for administration, commerce, and industry, and it is the primary language of instruction in schools.
Once a British colony and now a member of the Commonwealth, Singapore first joined the Federation of Malaysia on its formation in 1963 but seceded to become an independent state on August 9, 1965.
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