Singapore is a nation with a wide range of cultures. For a nation of its size, it boasts a diverse range of languages, faiths, and civilizations. Former Singapore Prime Ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong have stated that Singapore does not fit the traditional definition of a nation, referring to it as a “society in transition,” citing the fact that Singaporeans do not all speak the same language, share the same religion, or follow the same customs. Despite the fact that English is the country’s first language, the government’s 2010 census found that 20% of Singaporeans, or one in every five, are illiterate in English. This is a significant improvement from 1990, when 40% of Singaporeans were illiterate in English.
When Singapore gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1963, the majority of the newcomers were illiterate laborers from Malaysia, China, and India. Many of them were transitory laborers looking for a quick buck in Singapore, with no intention of remaining permanently. The Peranakans, a large minority of middle-class, local-born people, also existed. Most of the laborers’ sympathies were with their individual homelands of Malaysia, China, and India, with the exception of the Peranakans (descendants of late 15th and 16th century Chinese immigrants) who swore their allegiance to Singapore. Following independence, a concerted effort to create a Singaporean identity and culture started.
Singaporeans’ languages, faiths, and traditions are not divided based on skin color or heritage. One in every five Chinese Singaporeans is Christian, one in every five is atheist, and the remainder are mainly Buddhists or Taoists. One-third of the population speaks English at home, while the other half speaks Mandarin Chinese. At home, the remainder of the group speaks different Chinese dialects. The majority of Malays in Singapore speak Malay at home, with a few speaking English. Indians in Singapore are considerably more pious. Atheists make up only 1% of the population. Six out of ten people are Hindus, two out of ten are Muslims, and the remainder are mainly Christians. Four out of ten people speak English as their first language, followed by three out of ten Tamil, one out of ten Malay, and the remainder of Indian languages.  As a result, a Singaporean’s behavior and views are affected by a variety of factors, including his or her native language and religion. Singaporeans who speak English as their first language have a strong affinity for Western culture, while those who speak Chinese have a strong affinity for Chinese culture and Confucianism. Malay-speaking Singaporeans have a strong affinity for Malay culture, which is closely related to Islamic culture.
Singaporeans consider racial and religious peace as a critical component of the country’s prosperity, and it has aided in the formation of a Singaporean identity. Singapore is known for being a nanny state. The hybrid orchid Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’ is Singapore’s national flower, named after a Singapore-born Armenian lady who crossbred the bloom in her Tanjong Pagar garden in 1893. The lion appears in several national emblems, including the Singapore Coat of Arms and the Lion Head symbol, since Singapore is renowned as the Lion City. The Garden City and the Red Dot are two more nicknames given to Singapore. Singapore’s public holidays include significant Chinese, Western, Malay, and Indian festivities.
Meritocracy, or judging people based on their abilities, is strongly emphasized at the national level in Singapore. Singapore has one of the world’s lowest drug usage rates. In contrast to many European cultures, Singaporeans see the use of illegal substances as extremely undesirable. The condemnation of drug usage by Singaporeans has resulted in legislation mandating the death penalty for some severe drug trafficking offenses. Singapore also boasts one of the lowest rates of deliberate murder in the world, as well as a low rate of alcohol use per capita. The typical adult consumes just 2 litres of alcohol per year, which is considerably below the global average. Employees in Singapore work an average of 45 hours a week, which is quite lengthy in comparison to many other countries. Three out of every four Singaporean workers polled said they take pleasure in performing good job and that it boosts their self-esteem.
Dining is considered to be the country’s national activity, along with shopping. Because of the emphasis on food, nations such as Australia are attracting Singaporean visitors with food-related itineraries. The country’s culinary diversity is promoted as an incentive to come, and the government views the range of foods from many nationalities as a sign of the country’s multiculturalism. The durian is Singapore’s “national fruit.”
Cuisine products are clearly identified as belonging to a specific ethnicity in popular culture, with Chinese, Malay, and Indian food being the most well-known. The “hybridization” of various styles, on the other hand, has expanded the variety of food even more (e.g., the Peranakan cuisine, a mix of Chinese and Malay cuisine).
Singapore has been marketing itself as a center for arts and culture, particularly the performing arts, since the 1990s, in order to turn the nation into a cosmopolitan “gateway between East and West.” The building of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, a performing arts center that opened in October 2002, was a highlight. At the Esplanade, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the country’s national orchestra, performs. The National Arts Council organizes the yearly Singapore Arts Festival. With a weekly open mic, the stand-up comedy scene has been expanding. The 2009 Genée International Ballet Competition, a classical ballet competition organized by London’s Royal Academy of Dance, was held in Singapore.
Sport and recreation
Football, basketball, cricket, swimming, sailing, table tennis, and badminton are all popular sports. The majority of Singaporeans live in “HDB flats,” which are public housing estates with facilities like as public swimming pools, outdoor basketball courts, and indoor sports complexes. Sailing, kayaking, and water skiing are prominent water sports. Another prominent leisure activity is scuba diving. Pulau Hantu, the southernmost island, is renowned for its abundant coral reefs.
The S-League, Singapore’s football league, was founded in 1996 and now has nine clubs, including two international teams. The Singapore Slingers, previously known as the Hunter Pirates in the Australian National Basketball League, were one of the first clubs to join the ASEAN Basketball League, which was established in October 2009.
In 2008, Singapore hosted the Singapore Grand Prix, a round of the Formula One World Championship. The event was the first F1 night race and the first F1 street race in Asia, and it took place on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. After race organizers negotiated a contract extension with Formula One Group on the night of the 2012 event, the Singapore Grand Prix will stay on the F1 schedule until at least 2017.
The Singapore Turf Club manages Kranji Racecourse, which holds a number of weekly meetings as well as a number of significant local and international races, including the famous Singapore Airlines International Cup.
Singapore also hosted the first Summer Youth Olympics in 2010.
Much of Singapore’s domestic media is controlled by government-linked companies. In Singapore, MediaCorp owns and runs the majority of free-to-air television networks and radio stations. Mediacorp offers a total of seven free-to-air television stations. Channel 5 (English channel), Channel News Asia (English channel), Okto (English channel), Channel 8 (Chinese channel), Channel U (Chinese channel), Suria (Malay channel), and Vasantham (Malay channel) are the channels that are available (Indian channel). Singtel’s Mio TV provides an IPTV service, while Starhub Cable Vision (SCV) delivers cable television with channels from all over the globe. The majority of Singapore’s newspaper business is controlled by Singapore Press Holdings, a group with strong ties to the government.
Human rights organizations such as Freedom House have criticized Singapore’s media sector for being too controlled and lacking in freedom. Reporters Without Borders, a non-governmental organization headquartered in France, rated Singapore 153rd out of 180 countries in its 2014 Press Freedom Index. This was Singapore’s lowest rating since the index’s establishment in 2002. Singapore’s media is regulated by the Media Development Authority, which claims to strike a balance between the desire for variety and protection against objectionable and dangerous content.
The possession of TV satellite dishes by individuals is prohibited. Singapore has one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world, with 3.4 million internet users. Although the Singapore government does not participate in broad internet censorship, it does have a list of one hundred websites (mainly pornographic) that it bans as a “symbolic expression of the Singaporean community’s stance on harmful and unwanted material on the Internet.” Users may still access the banned websites from their workplace PCs since the restriction only affects residential internet connection.