Facts at a Glance

About Singapore - Facts at a GlanceAbout Singapore - Facts at a GlanceAbout Singapore - Facts at a Glance

This page covers information and statistics of Singapore. Including events and holidays in Singapore, population, land size, the Singapore flag and other useful tips.


Events and Public Holidays

Singapore's polyglot population celebrates a number of festivals and events. Chinese, Hindu and Muslim celebrations follow a lunar calendar so dates of festivities vary from year to year.

Chinese New Year, in January or February, is welcomed in with dragon dances, parades and much good cheer. Chinatown is lit up and there are fireworks and night markets.

During Ramadan, food stalls are set up in the evening in the Arab Street district, near the Sultan Mosque. Hari Raya Puasa, the end of Ramadan in January or February, is marked by three days of joyful celebrations.

Vesak Day in April or May celebrates Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. It is marked by various events, including the release of caged birds to symbolise the setting free of captive souls.

The Dragon Boat Festival, held in May or June, commemorates the death of a Chinese saint who drowned himself as a protest against government corruption. It is celebrated with boat races across Marina Bay.

The Festival of the Hungry Ghosts is usually celebrated in September. This is when the souls of the dead are released for feasting and entertainment on earth. Chinese operas are performed for them and food is offered; the ghosts eat the spirit of the food but thoughtfully leave the substance for the mortal celebrants.

The festival of Thaipusam is one of the most dramatic Hindu festivals and is now banned in India. Devotees honour Lord Subramaniam with acts of amazing body-piercing masochism - definitely not for the squeamish. In Singapore, devotees march in procession from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Serangoon Road to the Chettiar Hindu Temple on Tank Road. The festival is based on the lunar calendar but will be held in October for the next couple of years.

Public Holidays in 2016

New Year’s Day

1 January 2016

Chinese New Year

8 February - 9 February 2016

Good Friday

25 Mar 2016

Labour Day

1 May 2016

Vesak Day

21 May 2016

Hari Raya Puasa

6 July 2016

National Day

9 August 2016

Hari Raya Haji

12 September 2016

Deepavali

29 October 2016

Christmas Day

25 December 2016

Facts and Figures

Quick Facts

Full country name:

Republic of Singapore

Area:

715.8 sq km

Population:

5,312,400 (36% foreigners)

People:

74% Chinese, 13% Malay, 9% Indian, 3% Others

Language:

English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil

Religion:

9% Taoist, 42% Buddhist, 15% Muslim,
15% Christian, 4% Hindu, 15% Others

Government:

Parliamentary democracy

President:

Tony Tan

Prime Minister:

Lee Hsien Long

Major industries:

Shipping, banking, tourism, electrical & electronics, chemicals, oil refining

Major trading partners:

US, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan

Health risks:

None

Time:

GMT/UTC+8

Electricity:

220-240V, 50 Hz

County code:

+65

Mobile Phone network:

GSM 900, GSM 1800, 3G, 4G

Weights & measures:

Metric with local variations


General Information

Banking

The local currency is Singapore dollars and cents. Notes come in denominations of SGD 2, SGD 5, SGD 10, SGD 20, SGD 50, SGD 100, SGD 500, SGD 1,000, and SGD 10,000. Coins come in denomination of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and SGD 1.

Banking hours are Monday to Friday: 10 am to 3 pm, and Saturday: 9.30 am to 1 PM (some banks are open until 3 PM). Sunday, 9.30 am to 3 PM (some banks in Orchard Road). Most banks handle travelers' cheques and change foreign currencies. However, some banks do not have foreign exchange dealings on Saturday. Passports are required when cashing travelers' cheques. A nominal commission may be charged.

Credit / Charge Cards

Major cards are widely accepted by establishments in Singapore. Should any shop insist on adding a surcharge, contact the respective card company to report the errant shop-owner.

Drinking Water

It is perfectly safe to drink water straight from the tap in Singapore. However, for those who prefer bottled mineral water, local supermarkets and grocers always have ample stocks.

Immigration

Visas: Most Western nationals either do not require a visa at all or do not require a visa for a social stay of up to 90 days. A 30-day permit is issued on arrival, and extensions are difficult to obtain.

Law

Singapore's government is strict on drug laws, with the death penalty applied for drug trafficking. It is also against the entry of firearms, controlled drugs, endangered species of wildlife, chewing gum and cigarette lighters in the shape of a firearm. Smoking in public buses, the MRT, taxis, lifts and air-conditioned places is also deemed against the law; with fines up to S$1,000. The government is also adamant that littering is an offence and carries penalties of a fine of S$1,000 or more; and also a stint of corrective work order.

Tipping

Tipping is seldom necessary, as a 7% goods and services tax (GST) and a service charge of 10% is usually added automatically (though always double-check the bill). However it is customary to spare a few dollars for efficient waiters, bellboys and taxi drivers.


Singapore Flag

The colours of the Singapore flag represent red for brotherhood and equality; white for purity and virtue. The crescent moon represents a young nation on the rise. The five stars stand for Singapore's ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

The crescent moon originally served as a symbol of assurance to the Malays in 1959 —the year the flag was designed— that Singapore was not a Chinese state. Today it is generally said that the moon signified a young nation rising. The flag was designed initially to have three stars, until leaders such as then Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye expressed concern that Singapore might be perceived to have associations with the Malayan Communist Party, the flag of which also had three stars. The flag was originally meant to be red as red is a very traditional Chinese color. But because of the fear of Communism in those days, a completely red flag was abandoned.

The Singapore Flag


Related Page

   
Re: Free Medical Help in UK for Tourists ?

Barnsley:
It's clear that in an emergency you will be treated.

However, it is very vague as to what you will be charged and how they intend to make you pay. They cannot stop you leaving the UK.

Welcome your thoughts. ( Context: Filipino, 2 week holiday, limited means, no insurance ).

Why wouldn't you get travel insurance?

Seems a bit of an oversight.

Submitted application today - had to make a lot of amendments

Lotus1990:
Hi guys,

I'm just curious if any of you were asked to make amendments during your application submission? I had to make changes in about 5 different places (at least) and was told to populate the Annexe A form on behalf of my company (my company submitted a letter instead of populating the form)? I was also told to write a note to explain the situation. I was also asked to make a new photocopy of my ID because the one submitted was not clear.

Is this normal? Or is my application down the drain? :s

Thanks..

Re: Anyone PR is Approved this month (April 2016)

sundaymorningstaple:
I would supposed that would at least show that you have had your EP/S pass renewed at least once (e.g., you are reasonable stable with your employment). They need to set some type of OB markers. If they don't, then every TOM, Dick and Harry will apply for PR regardless of whether they want it or not. A lot leave after a year. It's better to make it harder to get. That way, if you really want it then you will persist. Frankly, it's about time.

Re: 32M Spanish

jareales:
Thank you very much Minyeong

I will see you there :)

Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Lcct333:
Thanks a lot for the replies.

@Lcct333: May I ask you how much you approximately pay for rent and utilities?
Moreover, may I also ask you where do you come from?
This is because I have been speaking with many different people, and I tend to get very different replies:

1. European/Aussies/Americans with expat package will say my salary is low to keep a certain lifestyle - They have been so lucky that they got disconnected from reality I would say.
2. Indians tells me that on a 100K a year you can save around 50 a year easily - This is IMPOSSIBLE for a western European, at least from my side.

In reality, I think that for the age and for the role, the offer I was given is really decent.
I gave a look at Numbeo and it seems that the lifestyle I am looking for should take approximately 5400SGD/monthly or something like that.
We will see!

I am from Australia. I rent in Katong, and total rent inclusive of utilities would be about $3400.

I think you will find that, these days, there are very few people on 'expat packages', and the numbers are continuing to decline.

I spend (waste?) $100s of dollars each week on alcohol and going out, often take cabs when I can't be bothered to get the bus/train, go overseas every quarter or so, etc so I am by no means thrifty, and I still find the salary more than comfortable... you should be fine!

Re: Visa for parent of Employment Pass holder

x9200:
Hi group!

I have recently relocated to Singapore from India and have joined a European bank under Employment Pass. My mother is dependent on me and needs to join me here. Salarywise, I am eligible to bring my parents along. However, my bank's policies do not allow it to sponsor dependent pass for parents.

I was considering bringing her on short term visitor visa as a workaround but I have been led to believe she cannot stay more than 30 days at a time. I am also worried about requesting extensions every time.

I will really appreciate if anyone has any suggestion? I welcome all suggestions!
It's not your bank. The parents are simply not eligible to have DP under your EP.

http://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permit ... ligibility
You can get a pass for the following family members:

Legally married spouse.
Unmarried children under 21 years old, including legally adopted children.

If your salary is above 10k you can try to get an LTVP for your mother:
http://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permit ... ligibility

but again, your company needs to sponsor the application. Are they also not happy to do it for LTVPs?

Short term visa will only work for 1-3 extensions/reapplications and then she will be asked (at best) to wait half a year or so before coming again.

Re: Visa for single dependent parent

ravi26:
Hi,

I am facing the same situation. I am eligible to bring my parents but my employer (a big bank) won't sponsor the visa. I don't know what else I can do to bring her over.

What did you eventually do? I hope you will find time to respond.

Regards,

Ravi

Re: Renting a condo unit whose building has termite infestation in some other floor.

x9200:
Hi fellow expats,

I'm considering renting a condo unit near Dakota MRT station. It's a very good location as there is direct bus with short travel period to both my and my wife's working locations. However there is one problem. We learned that one unit in that building is having termite infestation and that unit is on the 4th floor. The unit we are renting is on the 2nd floor. Any suggestions if we should still rent it? How good is Singapore's pest control? Is there any chance that the whole building might be infected?

Thank you!
I would think most of termite edible goods in this country are impregnated against the termites. We had termites once in our first condo and without any control/treatment the poor things only managed to eat (a bit only):
1) a tv set of the LL
2) a central speaker of my audio set
3) a salt dough sheep
To be completely frank, my wife did a lot of more damage to various furniture and appliance within the same period.

Re: Anyone PR is Approved this month (April 2016)

dynoto:


hmm ... what kind of information that they can actually derive from the tax assessment ? if it's about the salary isn't that can be retrieved through the MOM portal, which i suppose they have really close connection to.
does that actually put someone in a bad light if they have less than 3 years ?

Visa for parent of Employment Pass holder

ravi26:
Hi group!

I have recently relocated to Singapore from India and have joined a European bank under Employment Pass. My mother is dependent on me and needs to join me here. Salarywise, I am eligible to bring my parents along. However, my bank's policies do not allow it to sponsor dependent pass for parents.

I was considering bringing her on short term visitor visa as a workaround but I have been led to believe she cannot stay more than 30 days at a time. I am also worried about requesting extensions every time.

I will really appreciate if anyone has any suggestion? I welcome all suggestions!

Thank you in advance!

Ravi

Re: Hotel swimming pools with poolside changing facilities

x9200:
Hot or not I wouldn't be surprised if SMS is right. I found it strange to look for a good hotel based on such requirement.

Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

JR8:
Ah, but there is a gulf between 1 and 2 in spending patterns.

If you wish to generalise broadly 2) might feel a far greater need to save a high proportion of their income. At an extreme they will tolerate conditions few westerners might wish to, to save every single dollar possible. I think they have a stronger savings culture, and for many a few years saving wisely in SG can set them and their wider family up for life back home. Add to that that culturally India is much closer to SG than 'the west', so for them to live like locals is simpler and cheaper.

1) Brings tastes and habits from back home that most wish to maintain to some extent whilst in SG. These are often things that are not typical for your average SGn. Things such as... living alone, maintaining the kind of F+B diet you had back home, which since it's mostly air-freighted in and/or re: alcohol is punitively taxed is going to be expensive. Coupled with more of a free-wheeling 'enjoy the present/save tomorrow' mindset, and less likelihood of sending funds home to support a wider family... and there's your gulf.

This correlates with the topic of 'where to live/what can I afford?' And specifically why it helps if a person asking that can disclose their current arrangements. Needs and expectations can vary a lot depending on their background culture.

Free Medical Help in UK for Tourists ?

martincymru:
It's clear that in an emergency you will be treated.

However, it is very vague as to what you will be charged and how they intend to make you pay. They cannot stop you leaving the UK.

Welcome your thoughts. ( Context: Filipino, 2 week holiday, limited means, no insurance ).

Re: Hotel swimming pools with poolside changing facilities

JR8:
You used to be able to do that long ago. I did it once when staying in a flea-pit hostel by Dhoby Ghat (Prinsep Street), and enjoyed the pool at the Concorde Hotel on Orchard Road (which was the Meridien back then).

The primary and perhaps sole control they used to have was that to get a pool-towel you had to go and register with the pool-guy, who was pool-side. He ticked you off vs a printed guest-list, and again when you returned your towels. You don't have to be that creative to figure out how that could be avoided.

Hotels are hot on that kind of thing now, whereby even the pool-guy is hooked into the hotel's guest account network, and he will x-check you before giving you a towel. Plus, also usual now IME is that to get to the poolside at all you usually have to pass a staffed desk and prove you are a hotel guest, and/or pass through a pool-side door requiring a hotel room key-card.

Rehoming our fur kiddo

simplistixx:
Hi,

We are seeking for people who would be able to foster or adopt our 3-year-old mongrel. We've been fostering her (Vanilla) and her brother (Oreo) for 3 years now, but it has been made known to us that their size is not approved (in the vicinity), and we are desperately trying to rehome them before they get taken away.

Please message me if you are able to foster or adopt Vanilla. Thank you!