Singapore is a really small place, a whole country on an island half the size of London. With a population of almost six million (5.78 million, 2018) people on this island, Singapore is 34% more crowded than Tokyo (in population density). But, it is also the number #1 place for Asia's Best Quality of Living (Mercer 2017).
Not long after World War II, in August 1965, island Singapore found herself in the pits of her defining moment in history. With zero natural resources, a super small economy, a declining port-based trade business and escalating domestic racial riots. Her people had to choose. To hang on to the hard won merger with Malaysia (just 2 years ago), deemed so desperately needed for trade and jobs, or choose the path of multiracialism and multiculturalism?
On 9th August 1965, negotiations with the Federation of Malaya broke down. News of "big surprise and shock" and "most painful and heartbreaking" was delivered to its people. Singapore would be separating away from Malaysia. A "dream [of union and growth was] shattered". Singapore's Prime Minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew, overcame by emotions, broke down. Singapore was on its own.
Since then, the land mass of this tiny country has ballooned by some 23% to 721.5 sq km (278.6 sq mi). She is at the number 3 spot for "Richest Countries in the World" (Fortune, 2018), and is also mentioned in other top global lists in the top 3 spots: "World's Top Airports" (SkyTrax), "World's Best Airlines" (AirlineRatings), "World's Tallest Ferris Wheel", "World's Largest Aquarium", "World's Most Expensive Casino", etc. The rest, as they say, is history.
Have an awesome time visiting this diamond in Asia. Enjoy the cuisine and beautiful fusion of people in this urban cultural melting pot.
p.s. Name of an alcoholic beverage named after this country - Singapore Sling. Try it. :-)
(Cover Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash)