Singapore is an island city/state located at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula. In 2010, Singapore boasted the world's fastest-growing economy and one of the most diverse in all of Asia, with strong industrial, manufacturing and services sectors. Singapore boasts a diverse population of 5 million in a country 2.5 times larger than Washington, D.C., with a large percentage (roughly 30%) of the population made up of guest workers, permanant residents and expatriates.
A former British colony, Singapore is thoroughly modern and cosmopolitan. Its airport, hospitals, mass transit systems and road networks are ranked among the best in the world. Situated one degree north of the equator, Singapore has a steamy year-round tropical climate, and its strategic location along the Straits of Malacca, the world's busiest shipping lanes, combined with its excellent infrastructure makes it one of the world's busiest shipping ports.
- Population: 5.07 Million
- Official Language: English (though Mandarin is widely spoken)
- Per Captia Income: $40,000/year (as of 2010)
- Currency: Singapore Dollar
- Literacy Rate: 97%
- Home Ownership Rate: 88%
- Average High Temperature: 90 degrees Farenheit at 1 p.m.
- Average Low Temperature: 70 degrees Farenheit at 3 a.m.
- Annual Rainfall: 94 inches/year
- Water: Flouridated, drinkable from the tap
Singapore is an exceptionally clean and peaceful city/state. Violent crime is exceptionally rare, as are graffiti and vandalism. Many ascribe this to Singapore's strict laws on quality of life offenses such as littering, jaywalking and spitting. Singapore also imposes harsh penalties for violent crimes and the importation or distribution of drugs is punishable by death. Singapore's police department is highly organized and professional, and extremely vigilant.
Minor offenses carry much larger penalties than in the U.S. For example:
Littering: $25 - $1,000 fine
Jaywalking: $50 fine
Spitting: $50 fine
Graffiti/Vandalism: Up to 10 years jail, and caning
Not flushing public toilets: $150 fine
Eating/Drinking on Public Transportation: Up to $500 fine
Unlawfully touching another person is considered “outraging modesty” and is a serious offense in Singapore. It is also an offense to carry any form of weapon. Pocketknives with a blade length exceeding 2 inches are considered to be weapons. Though most Americans don’t have any problems with these laws, it's important to be aware of them.
After you arrive, you will need to provide all passports (Official and Tourist) to your command for immigration stamps, which indicate you will be in a residential status during your tour. Once your passport has these stamps, known as the "FIN," or Foreign Identification Number, you can travel in and out of Singapore without having to complete an immigration card.
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