About Singapore

About Singapore - Facts at a GlanceAbout Singapore - Facts at a GlanceAbout SingaAbout 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 2013

New Year’s Day

1 January 2014

Chinese New Year

31 January - 1 February 2014

Good Friday

18 April 2014

Labour Day

1 May 2014

Vesak Day

13 May 2014

Hari Raya Puasa

28 July 2014

National Day

9 August 2014

Hari Raya Haji

5 October 2014


22 October 2014

Christmas Day

25 December 2014

Facts and Figures

Quick Facts

Full country name:

Republic of Singapore


715.8 sq km


5,312,400 (36% foreigners)


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


English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil


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


Parliamentary democracy


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:





220-240V, 50 Hz

County code: +65

Mobile Phone network:

GSM 900, GSM 1800, 3G

Weights & measures:

Metric with local variations

General Information


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.


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.


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 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

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"He can't renounce his UKC between applying and waiting to an appointment... that time (particularly between applying and in approval) is highly variable as well. Once he has an appointment to take the oath of SC he can apply for a passport straight away... and that will take only days. If he hands in his UK passport - renounces UKC the day before going in to take the oath he should only be tied up a week."

Sorry I need to seek a bit of clarification. After he completing an online e-journey, a Singapore Experience Tour and a Community Sharing Session, he needs to notify ICA and wait for the approval letter? For US citizens, the renunciation of citizenship can take months due to 2 interview requirement (a few weeks wait for 1st interview, a few weeks wait again for the 2nd interview). Do these need to be completed before the oath taking? What if the 2nd interview appointment is after the assigned oath taking appointment by ICA?

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Fiat Deposit and Withdrawal via Banks - SGD, USD , EUR

Deposit and Withdrawal via Digital currencies like Okpay, Egopay, Perfect money etc.

Customer Support 7 days a week through phone and ticket system .

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Re: SC application average processing time

I was told that it would take 6-9 months. That was in the middle of June (about 7.5 months ago) when I submitted my documentation at ICA.

Another friend was informed recently that it would take 9-12 months.

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It would work just as well as;

"Here come the illegal immigrants"

Re: Mobile wallet and in app purchases

The App to book sports facilities has got to have the worst mobile wallet in the world (ActiveSports). I'm still waiting for a refund cheque.

Re: Teaching in Singapore

1. You should be able to find a job in the (Foreign School System) here. However the bastards will not pay you a full expat rate if they find out you're a trailing spouse (no housing allowance or flight allowance or moving expenses for example). Your choice to hide or disclose that. Check out the websites of all the schools (Tanglin Trust, UWC, OFS, Chatsworth, yada yada).

2. You can also try applying via the ISS (International School Search) - however as you know where you're going AND you're a trailing spouse I would apply directly to the school.

3. AFAIK all the contracts are fixed term; typically 2 years with a one year roll over thereafter. Provided you keep your nose clean it's normally not a problem to renew yearly and often you can negotiate to leave mid year.

4. MAKE SURE your contract does not have an early termination penatly. Some of the shoddier schools have been putting this in ($10,000!).

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I had found a solution for this dilemna. I'm not going to publish it but if you're interested (and I know your user name) PM me.



I would like to know the same... :)

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For me the positives of Singapore over London.

1. Weather

2. Eating out Asian food on a daily basis.

3. Low taxes

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And yet more rats, you'd think they'd have this sorted by now, how difficult can it be.

http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2015/01 ... teck-ghee/

http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/ ... ina-square
As always, the entertaining English in the comments http://forums.asiaone.com/showthread.php?t=75653andpage=9

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singap ... ld-2015011

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singap ... tok-rat-pr

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Slogans from various Indian Army outposts

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I think it is probably less related to the schools but more to the jobs. If you are here on an expat type of contract (meaning, housing, educational etc etc benefits) after these 2-3 years, with the renewal of the contract, substantial chunk of these benefits may be gone. Besides, the local career perspectives may also be far from ideal. Lastly, so may be the working environment.

Re: Is life in Singapore more relaxing than in London?

Thank you for all your kind replies.

I was struck by the latest comment that for most Western expats, Singapore is a stopover before they move on to something bigger. 2, 3 years are good enough for most.

I can relate to the challenges of finding housing and schools. Once you got the jobs, these two are the most important for a family.

So there are no black-and-white answers for me.

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I keep seeing "boatpeople" as one word - "refugees"!

Now, you're just pulling an Abbott.