"Its cultures are
diverse but united."
Although geography has played a part in the success of Singapore,
its mainstay is its people. Lacking natural resources, Singapore's
strength is its hardworking, adaptable and resilient population.
Singapore's population of almost four million comprises 77% Chinese,
14% Malays, 8% Indians and 1% Eurasians and people of other descent.
The original inhabitants were Malay fishermen, but after the arrival
of Sir Stamford Raffles and the establishment of a British trading
post, Singapore became a magnet that drew hundreds of thousands of
migrants and merchants. Seeking a better life for themselves and
their families, they came from the southern provinces of China,
Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Ceylon and the Middle East. Though
inter-marriages have taken place over the years, each racial group
within Singapore has retained its own cultural identity while
developing as an integral part of Singapore community.
There are four official languages in Singapore: Malay, Mandarin,
Tamil and English. English is the language of business and
administration, and is widely spoken and understood. Most
Singaporeans are bilingual, and speak their mother tongue as well as
English. Malay is the national language.
With this mixture of people, Singapore is also a mixture of
religions. Singapore's skyline boasts the distinctive minarets of
mosques, spires of gothic cathedrals, intricate figurines of Hindu
temple gods and distinctive roof architecture of Chinese temples.
The main religions are Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism,
Sikhism, Judaism and Zoroastrainism.