A Brief History and Cultural Overview of Singapore

The early history of Singapore centered on a Malayan prince, Sri Tri Buana, who, according to legend, established a settlement at Singapura on the southern shores of the island;

Early history of Singapore

Singapore was once the site of Singapura, a settlement built by prince Sri Tri Buana who landed on the island in the 13th century. The Portuguese later destroyed it and it remained dormant until the arrival of the British in the early 19th century, 6 centuries later on 28 January 1819.

British rule saw the infusion of legal, political and economic systems into the lives of Singaporean residents and remained so (even with the invasion of the Japanese).

Despite staunch resistance from local and British forces, the island surrendered to the Japanese on 15 February 1942. The island was recaptured again by American and Commonwealth forces 7 months later on 1 September 1942.

On 16 September 1963, Singapore joined the Federation of Malaya with Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. However due to strong disagreements on the treatment of Malays, race riots broke out in 1964. In 1965, Singapore separated and became independence on 9 August 1965.

Historical influences in Singapore

The Malays:

  • Began settling in Singapore in the 17th century, arriving from the Malay Peninsula, Java, Sumatra the Celebes, Indonesia and Malaysia. The group practiced its own traditional culture and custom, which gradually assimilated into Singaporean society.
  • Peranakans: Resident Chinese who were once traders from China. They married into Malay and Indonesian families and despite the gradual loss of their mother tongue, the Peranakans hold a distinctive culture that survives to this day.
  • Indian workers, soldiers and convicts: Began to arrive in large numbers when Singapore was founded by Britain in 1819. By the mid-20th century, a stable community emerged with Tamils forming the main group and Hindus the minority. Both kept to their traditional cultures and customs which have helped to form a unique and diverse society

Modern history of Singapore

The founding of modern Singapore is attributed to Sir Edmund Raffles, an English administrator.

Raffles arrived and quickly identified the island as a natural trading port. With a combination of foresight, ingenuity and diplomacy, he secured the island for Britain and founded the colony of Singapore.

From dump to dynamo

  • In the 1960s and 70s, Singapore suffered from a combination of crime, racial tensions, low employment and sanitation woes with inevitable health issues.
  • The island quickly turned into a destitute and derelict society with very little hope of redemption.
  • But Singapore fought back and since about 40 to 50 years ago, started its upward climb.
  • Government was key to this transformation in such a short period of time.
  • It established HDB flats, and created a CPF savings plan, the cornerstone of financial assistance for its residents.
  • Spurred on by the technological boom, the economy started to pick up speed and released itself from the shackles of depravity.
  • More decisions, plans and schemes followed and Singapore was forever free of its woes.
  • Today Singapore has the highest GDP per capita in the world, an impeccable system of infrastructure, shockingly low crime, clean streets and organized bureaucracy. A truly amazing feat in a short span of time.


3 Simple Steps to Getting Home Improvement Projects Done!

Home improvement projects, honey-do lists, yard clean-ups, the list can go on and on. Once spring gets here there is a new passion to get things done. The winter rains have subsided. The sun shines bright. We get this boost of energy that wants to get things done. So do it! Here is my advice to tackling all the things that you want and need to do.

1. Get pencil and paper and write down all the things that you would like to have done. Lists the big, small, cheap, expensive, easy and hard. Get them all down on paper, this is just the brainstorming session. Do not take time to reason why it is on the list- just write! You will be surprised how many things will pop up.

2. Divide the brainstorming list into three categories: Must do right away, Needs to get done soon, and If I get a chance. This needs to be quick. Why? If we spend too much time dwelling on which list to put it in, we are wasting time. The goal is to get started in doing something. By dividing the first list up into smaller lists we can look at the important things first. My list of things to do may be overwhelming, for me this leads to in action at all.

3. Start! I suggest starting with a “must do” item, pick the easiest item there. For example, replace the dead tree in the planter at the front door for the party tomorrow. Get this done, feel good about getting started. Once you’ve started, keep moving down the list. Begin the next easy “must do” item. Everything takes time. A long list will take a while to do. Little by little, this list will get shorter and shorter.

The key to this exercise is to get started by getting something done and building on it. Checking off items that are completed can do wonders for you and your home. Three simple steps – List, Divide, and Start.

Hope this helps!