Monday, October 16, 2006

Introducing Singapore

Introducing Singapore
By Alexander van Eyk

Corner of Orchard & Paterson RoadsSingapore is lively and unique travel destination. A blend of both eastern and western cultures which has made this South East Asian nation such a popular tourist destination for both Asian and European travellers.

Sir Stamford Raffles plays an important part in Singaporean history. Raffles was a British government official who more or less put Singapore on the map as a strong trade and business centre.

Hundreds of years before Raffles made the deal to purchase Singapore from the ruler of Johor in the early 19th century, Singapore had been an insignificant settlement but under British rule it quickly flourished into one of the economic powers in Asia.

The Japanese took control of Singapore in 1942 during the midst of the Second World War. At the end of three years of Japanese occupation, Singapore was returned to the British. The Singaporean population soon after made it clear to its British rulers that they in fact wanted to govern and control their own country which lead to its self government which starting in 1959.

Wetland Waterfalls, Jurong Bird ParkDuring the early 1960s, Singapore briefly joined the Malaysian federation for a period of two years. However, it soon became clear that Singapore was better off as a fully impendent nation. Many of the larger nations in the region at that time believed that Singapore was making an error due to its small size and lack of natural resources.

The Singapore prime minister at that time, Lee Kuan, believed that Singapore did have an existence right as an independent nation and he proved himself right by starting and expanding an export orientated industry as well as a flourishing tourism industry.

The tourism industry has proven to be very successful and has been an important part in Singapore's success. Tourists especially love the blend of different cultures and cuisines due to the backgrounds of its citizens. Many Singaporeans have Chinese, Malaysian or Indian ancestors which can be seen throughout Singapore. Have a walk through the streets of Singapore and you can spot a temple on one corner, a church on the next and mosque just next door.

Dining in Singapore is a true delight due to the fusion of the various cuisines which have created some excellent dishes unique to Singapore. Not only has Singapore proven to be a popular destination for tourists it has also been a big hit with business travellers due to the excellent meeting and congress facilities available. Many large international events are held in Singapore attracting thousands of visitors and exhibitors each month. This has greatly increased hotel occupancy levels to the highest in the region together with those of Hong Kong. Singapore remains an extremely clean town where you will find Singaporeans trying their best in keeping their city spotless. Throwing rubbish on the street is strongly frowned upon by locals and big fines are issued to those that do so. The laws and rules in Singapore are known to be among the toughest in the world as are the punishments to those that break the laws.

Singapore still has the death penalty and has one of the highest averages per capita of the number of people executed. There have been a number of high profile executions recently involving foreign nationals however the Singaporean government has not been forgiving or flexible when foreign governments have requested clemency or mercy for its citizens.

Singapore is somewhat the political leader of the group of countries that make up ASEAN which stands for the association of South East Asian Nations which includes countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Singapore has been a stabilising factor in the region although it has had its own share of tensions with neighbouring Malaysia over various topics including fishing territories, air space and natural resources. However, Singapore has always been able to resolve matters at the negotiating table.

Singapore Accommodation
For Singapore Hotels visit HotelTravel.com


About the Author
Alex enjoys the travel industry and is part of the creative team at
Globe Bookings. Visit them for discounts on hotel accommodation for many popular destinations.

Pictures
Corner of Orchard & Paterson Roads
Wetland Waterfalls, Jurong Bird Park

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