"1 Main Island and 63 Islets - 699 Sq Km" Top 5 Page for this destination Singapore by bkoon

Singapore Travel Guide: 11,738 reviews and 27,487 photos


Singapore is a small island country with a population size of 4.35 million people. Resident population (Singapore citizens and permanent residents) is currently 3.55 million. It's a multi-racial country with the main races consisting of 77% Chinese, 14% Malays and 8% Indians and 1% Eurasians and other minorities living in harmony. There are 10 official religions in Singapore (Jainism is recently added). The 4 official languages are English (also the administrative language), Chinese, Malay (also the National Language) and Tamil. National hobbies of Singaporeans are eating and shopping.


Back in the 13th Century and before, Singapore was known as Temasek and only in the late 13th Century, a prince by the name of Sang Nila Utama from Palembang came hunting in Singapore and he saw a lion, hence, naming the place, Singapura. Singapura is a Malay word and "singa" means lion and "pura" means city. Thus, the name Singapura (Lion City) or in English, Singapore.

In those days Singapore was a fishing village with only a few hundred inhabitants. Only in 1819, modern Singapore was founded. On 28 Jan 1819, an Englishman of the East India Company set foot on Singapore and he was none other than the founder, Sir Stamford Raffles. With him, were his assistant, William Farquahar, also the first resident of Singapore; and Indians sepoys. Indians sepoys were probably the first Indians to be in Singapore. Raffles came to Singapore to set up a trading base here. Spices were valuable then (1 pound of spices to 1 pound of gold) and in order to be on par with the Spaniards, Dutch and the Portuguese who were already setting up many bases in Asia for the spice trade, British needed to set up a good and strategically located trading base.

Raffles landed at the Singapore River (where the white polymarble Raffles statue is located now) where the Tememggong's village was (the land occupied by the Arts House now). There, he requested to set up a base in Singapore from the Tememggong. It was agreed with a price of $3000 Spanish Dollars.

In order to set up a trading port here, Raffles needed to arrange to sign a treaty with the Sultan. The right heir to the throne of the late Sultan, Tengku Hussien was away in Pahang when his father died, hence, the Dutch conferred the throne to their more favoured Tengku Rahman, the second son of the late Sultan. So, what Raffles did was, he invited Hussien back to Singapore and conferred him as the rightful Sultan of Johor and after which, Raffles and Sultan Hussien signed a treaty at where the Padang is today to set up a trading port in Singapore for a price of $5000 Spanish Dollars. That marks the beginning of modern Singapore.

For many many years, Singapore was a colony of the British. With this new port, came the immigrants from South China, Riau Islands and India. Singapore became a crown colony after a while. Life was simple until World War 2.

The Japanese attacked Singapore in 1942. The Japanese were well-prepared. British only made preparations for attacks from the sea. Hence, the guns and ammunitions were meant for seaward attacks. In fact, the Japanese, attacked from the North. Although part of the causeway (54m) was destroyed by anti-Japanese resistance forces (one of them being Dr Lim Bo Seng), the Japanese were able to repair the causeway in a day. And right after that, Japanese were fighting for Singapore with tanks and 60,000 men. Then, there was no tanks in Singapore, the setup of the naval base was delayed, fighter planes were old. However, there were 120,000 soldiers in Singapore. In fact, the British army thought that they had only 80,000 soldiers and it was only after the war, they then realised they had twice the strength of the Japanese army.

Anyway, Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 Feb 1942. The decision of the surrender was made at the Battle Box (at Fort Canning, near the Fort Canning Centre). Everyone at the meeting persuaded General Percival to surrender. In fact, the injured civilians and soldiers were being treated at the Alexander Hospital and should the British not surrender, everyone at the hospita, including staff would be killed. The British had not much of a choice at that point of time. And so, British, under the command of General Percival surrended to the Japanese, under the command of General Yamashita at the Old Ford Factory (along Bt Timah Road). The Japanese Occupation lasted for more than 3 years and finally in 1945, Japanese surrendered.

When the Japanese surrendered, it was held at the City Hall. However, there were still a lot of problems in Singapore, in fact more. People in Singapore started to seek independence. Singapore merged with Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak in view of the common market they shared, and the probability of gaining independnce. After a short 3 years of merger, Singapore was seperated from Malaya and she gained independence on 9 Aug 1965. A celebration was held at the Padand and the Prime Minister then, Mr Lee Kuan Yew announced the independence of Singapore at the steps of the City Hall.

After the independence, problems still persisted. With the strong leadership of a good government, Singapore managed to overcome many problems and become what she is today. A modern cosmopilitan city, a financial hub, a clean and green city.

~ Feature - 22 Nov 06 ~

I shall share about the Sri Krishnan Temple at Waterloo Street. The most interesting thing about this Hindu Temple is that it is perhaps the only Hindu Temple in Singapore, or rather in the world, with a huge Buddhist joss urn at the temple's door. Buddhists do worship Krishnan at this temple. Reason being, just next to Krishnan Temple, there is a Buddhist Temple, Kwan Im Hong Hood Cho Temple. In fact, the urn was donated by a Chinese chicken rice seller.

There is even a small Guan Yin inside this temple!!!

About Sri Krishnan
Krishnan is the 9th incarnation of Vishu (1 of the 3 main deities who formed the Trinity of Hinduism - Brahma, Vishu and Shiva). Vishu is the preserver of the universe. The 10th incarnation has yet to happen. It is believed that it will happen when this world comes to an end. Identifying Krishnan is rather easy. He is usually blue and depicted as a young man with a flute or even a baby.

Looking up at the gopuram (the pagoda like structure), you will see the marriage of Vishu and Laskhmi (consort of Vishu) right in the centre of the gopuram. On the right, you will see Hanuman, the monkey God. The monkey god is the good friend of Ramar, the 7th incarnation of Vishu. Hanuman saved Ramar's consort, Sita. Hence, it is not a surprise that you see Hanuman guarding the temple grounds.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Clean garden city
  • Cons:"Fine" and small country
  • In a nutshell:Easy to explore...
  • Intro Updated Dec 25, 2006
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Reviews (142)

Comments (38)

  • ellielou's Profile Photo
    Dec 7, 2008 at 3:03 PM

    Arriving late am on 19 Jan. It's a Monday, but maybe we can meet after you all get off of work? More details via email. Can't wait to see you & get more of the flavor (quite literally!) of S'pore! hugs!

  • airasia's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2008 at 4:25 AM

    wah wah the whole world is waiting for you to return la. How was your break ? Nah..not yet. Hope to be there on this Friday.

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Oct 28, 2007 at 11:17 PM

    Hello Bee. Great page here with superb info on what looks like a fascinating city! I really hope to visit one day, to see for myself what all the "hype" is about :-) I really enjoyed reading your tips. Greetings from the desert / Jess in Dubai

  • y_lyn's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2007 at 2:31 AM

    Johor Battery.. Hee.. I got to know this place only last year when we had a staff's Amazing Race..

  • muddybok's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2006 at 10:12 PM

    Really big canon or just camera tricks? Interesting tips for a small country eh!

  • MissyWQ's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2006 at 9:13 PM

    You put a lot of work into your travel pages.

  • Cathy&Gary's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2006 at 5:55 AM

    Your pages on Simgapore are great, we have been there 6 times and reading all the info makes me want to go back again!! Looking forward to reading all your other pages.

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2006 at 12:53 AM

    Yum yum, dim sum :~)

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2006 at 12:14 AM

    G'day Bee. What a wealth of info!! Enjoyed your pages. Looking forward to visiting in June!! Cheers, Ann :o)

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Dec 2, 2005 at 6:17 AM

    I liked precocious parrot--who needs the oracle of Delphi?!? The zoo looked great, too.

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