Location and Geography of Singapore
Lying between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, Singapore lies just off the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula in Southeast Asia. The main island Pulau Ujong with its 62 surrounding islands make up the world’s only island-city-state with Singapore city covering most of the main island. The highest point on the island is Bukit Timah Hill 163.63m (537ft).
In the north Singapore is connected to Johor in Malasia by a road and rail link: ‘The Johor-Singapore Causeway’, which also provides a means of piping water to Singapore. In the west, there is the bridge known as the ‘Tuas Second Link’ also linking Singapore to Johor. The bridge having been constructed with the aim of relieving traffic congestion on the causeway.
As a result of ongoing land reclamation, the island of Singapore is steadily growing in size. It has already increased its size by some 23% and more projects to add another 100 km2 are to be completed in 2030.
Climate of Singapore
The climate in Singapore is typical of Southeast Asia. It is hot and humid throughout the year with night time temperatures never dropping lower than 20°C (68°F)and daytime temperatures reaching as high as 30°C (86°F) or even higher. Humidity is usually around 75%.
The rainy season is through November and December although it does rain throughout the year, but rain usually comes in short downpours.
History of Singapore
Once known as the Kingdom of Singapura this island state was established as a trading port in 1299 and because of its strategic position as a gateway to the East, suffered a number of invasions before the Majapahit of Java (Indonesia) totally destroyed the city in 1398. The city was then rebuilt and Singapore became part of the Johor Sultanate. However, in 1613 it was totally destroyed by fire set by Portuguese raiders and thereafter, although the area was under the control of the Dutch, Singapore was largely forgotten until the British took over and began colonising the islands in 1819.
Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles was the Lieutenant-Governor of British Java from 1811 to 1815 and during the Napoleonic Wars was involved in the wrestling the Indonesian island of Java from the Dutch and French. In 1819 having established that there was no Dutch presence on the island, Raffles secured permission to establish a settlement. With a treaty signed by Hussein Shah, the Crown Prince of Johor, Raffles set about establishing the British settlement of Singapore and finally the Dutch gave up their claim to the island. By this time the original population of the island, approximately 500 – 1000 Malay and Chinese, was being added to by administrators, traders and soldiers growing the numbers to 5000. By 1923 the population on the island had grown so exponentially that it became clear that something had to be done to maintain law and order and a police force and magistracy were established along British lines so what had been a trading post, gradually began to evolve into a law-abiding city. By 1860, with the influx of immigrants from China, the population on the island had grown to 80,000. These immigrants came to work on the rubber plantations established by the British and Singapore soon became known for its international rubber exports.
The Second World War.
Prior to the war, in 1938, the General Officer Commanding of the Malaya Command issued warnings to Britain of the likelihood of an attack by Japan but sadly these warnings were not acted upon. The Japanese invaded British Malaya and finally Singapore was conquered at the Battle of Singapore in 1942. The Japanese occupation of the islands resulted in the Sook Ching massacre that took the lives of tens of thousands of Chinese. The suffering of the people of the island did not end there, as by November 1944 the Allies, in an attempt to regain control of the island, began their bombing raids in November 1944 continuing them until May 1945 during which the harbour was destroyed as well as power supplies, and the islands water supply systems.
The Japanese surrender was signed at the Singapore City Hall on 12 September 1945 and a British Military Administration was set up to govern the island until on 01 April 1946 Singapore became a separate crown colony.
Tin and rubber exports took the island along the road to recovery but the experience of the war led to much political upheaval, and anti-colonial sentiment and so began the cry for independence.
Self-government for Singapore
After the May 1959 elections Singapore, under the People’s Action Party, took responsibility for its own internal administration and the island became a self-governing state, and in 1963 a partnership with Malaysia formed the Federation of Malaysia.
The Federation of Malaysia did not last long as differences in ideologies and community disagreements led to the Singapore race riots of 1964. Finally, without a single delegate from Singapore, the Malaysian Parliament voted to expel Singapore, and she was once again on her own, achieving independence as a republic on 9 August 1965.
The success of modern-day Singapore is attributed to the policies of Lee Kuan Yew, the then Prime Minister. His son Lee Hsien Loong became Singapore’s third Prime Minister in 2004 and after his party’s seats in Parliament diminished after the 2011 elections he set about restructuring the economy raising productivity, providing grants and improving the island’s healthcare system.
2015 was the year of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee celebrations with the People’s Action Party still the popular choice.
Singapore today is a modern cosmopolitan city which still reveres its ethnic roots in such quarters as Little India, Arab Street and Chinatown. The beaches offer many water-sport options including sailing. This city-state is a mecca of shops, restaurants and resorts. A model public transport system provides a reliable, clean, comfortable and affordable way of getting around. Singapore is a clean, efficient and decidedly friendly city where everything works like clockwork and the crime rate is the lowest in the world.