By: Cher Tan
Located off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, the highly cosmopolitan city of Singapore is regarded as a world-class island country. Bearing a diverse 5 million populace, it is the fourth leading financial center in the world. The government has plans to further expand the population with a target of 6.5 million in the near future, or at least, create an infrastructure with that specific amount in mind.
The metaphor of the “melting pot” is a powerful image in the Singaporean imagination. It is the image of a multicultural, pluralistic Singapore; an integrated and mixed Singapore; a Singapore where different races, cultures, visions, ideas, and identities are not only free to co-exist, but also to mingle and blend, to merge and combine. Some people even proclaim, with glee or with horror, that Singapore will one day consist solely of expatriates and immigrants.
Singapore: The “PossibiCity”
Given the size of the tiny nation-state, it would be idealistic to assume that Singapore would be able to survive on its own natural resources. In fact, it has none to speak of. Therefore, Singapore relies heavily on trade, tourism, and human resources to make the city economically where it is now. Even tap water is purchased from neighboring Malaysia, though the contract between the 2 parties ends in 2011. Therein lies a challenge for Singapore to provide for its people sustainably – through means of desalination and the process of turning wastewater into potable water.
In the spirit of what some see as a city of opportunities, the idea of Singapore as a “PossibiCity” was birthed in August 2009, as a tag-line for its 44th National Day. As a result of an apparent “brain drain” from the 90s onwards, with increasing numbers of young people leaving the country for greener pastures (often dubbed as “quitters” in the eyes of the state), the Singapore government has been fervent on seeking foreign labor.
Singapore: Another city that never sleeps
Like many metropolitan cities in its own right, Singapore has something to cater for everyone, be it for work or for play. With an expanding service sector and a rapidly strengthening private sector, it has become one of the most livable cities in the world (ranked 34th on the Business Week World’s Top 100 Most Livable Cities index), sometimes more so for expats and immigrants than locals.
Food and shopping are the main attractions for both locals and foreigners alike. The city’s multiculturalism reaps a wide array of various kinds of food spanning from Indian to Chinese to Mediterranean. With many 24-hour joints abound, one can never go hungry .
An active nightlife scene also contributes to Singapore’s nocturnal side, with new establishments sprouting up in various parts of the city every couple of months. On top of that, an array of events happening almost every weekday night and every weekend eases the boredom of living in a tiny nation state; you just have to know where to look. Read our insider tips to know where!