Singapore – a city like no other
Singapore, a land of contrasts and contradictions, is a canvas painted with the vibrant hues of multiculturalism, innovation and natural beauty. A place where towering skyscrapers and lush greenery coexist in perfect harmony, it is an urban masterpiece that never fails to captivate and inspire. This city-state nestled on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula is a tapestry of diverse cultures, each adding their own unique thread to the fabric of Singaporean society. From the bustling streets of Chinatown to the ornate mosques of Kampong Glam and the colourful temples of Little India, Singapore is a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, and flavors that tantalize the senses. With a population of approximately 5.7 million people, it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, only surpassed by Macau and Monaco. Despite its small size, Singapore is a thriving and prosperous nation, known for its cleanliness, safety, and economic success.
While certain archaeological evidence suggests that the history of Singapore dates back to the early 13th century, bearing the name of Temasek, a small trading port, the well-documented period of this country only starts in 1819 when colonisation by the British Empire took place. Because of its strategic location at the southern tip of the peninsula, it was a natural hub for trade between China, India, and the Indonesian archipelago. Chinese junks, Indian dhows, and Malay proas would all converge on its shores to exchange goods and ideas. Naturally, it was a very lucrative territory to have control over. Sir Stamford Raffles, a British colonialist and explorer was aware of the country’s potential as a trading center but wary of its perceived lawlessness. At the time, Singapore was known for its shady reputation. Pirates, smugglers, and other unsavoury characters were said to lurk in its waters, ready to pounce on unsuspecting ships. Raffles’ approach to the issue was rather unconventional for the time. He implemented a policy of offering clemency to pirates who surrendered and gave up their criminal activities. This policy was designed to encourage pirates to abandon their criminal ways and become productive members of society. Raffles also established a system of licensing and regulation for boats and ships to ensure that they were not involved in piracy.
Under British rule, Singapore flourished. It became one of the busiest ports in the world, handling everything from spices and textiles to opium and slaves. Its population grew rapidly as people from all over Asia and beyond flocked to its shores in search of work and opportunities. By the early 20th century, Singapore had transformed into a modern city-state with a thriving economy. But Singapore’s road to success was not without challenges. World War II was perhaps the darkest chapter in its history. When the Japanese invaded it in 1942, they unleashed a wave of terror and brutality that left thousands dead and the city in ruins. The British, who were in charge of defending Singapore, were caught off guard and quickly overwhelmed. Despite having a larger number of troops, the British were poorly equipped and trained, so they were unable to stop the Japanese advance. On February 15, 1942, Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival, the British commander in Singapore, surrendered the island to the Japanese. The fall of Singapore was a major blow to the Allied war effort in the Pacific. It remained under Japanese control until the end of the war. In 1945, after Japan’s surrender, the British returned and resumed control of the colony. Singapore gained its sovereignty in 1965.
The rest, as the well-known adage goes, is history. The tropical city-state grew from strength to strength, becoming a prosperous and stable nation in a volatile region. One of the key factors contributing to the country’s rapid development is its location, which makes it a hub for trade and commerce. The country’s strategic location, stable political environment, well-developed infrastructure, and strong workforce make it a popular destination for global investors. It has consistently been recognized as one of the easiest places to do business in the world and is ranked second in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report. Overall investment-friendly environment is supported by the government’s pro-business stance, including attractive tax incentives as well as transparent regulations. Another important element vital to Singapore’s success is its government’s zero tolerance for crime or misbehaviour. The country is known for its strict laws, particularly when it comes to public order and laws related to garbage disposal. The latter is what probably made Singapore known to many people, as fines for littering can exceed thousands of dollars, with repeat offenders facing corrective labour. Singapore’s stringent approach is even more unforgiving to so-called DUI, or driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Sentences for that can include prison time for up to 12 months in addition to hefty fines. Possession of drugs is seen as one of the most heinous crimes – a person whose guilt has been proven might be subjected to capital punishment.
Singapore of today is one huge sight to behold. Some of its parts stand out in particular, the most famous and iconic being the Marina Bay Sands resort, which includes a hotel, casino, and shopping mall. The resort is built on reclaimed land and features a spectacular infinity pool that overlooks the city. Another one is the Merlion, a popular tourist attraction that is a statue of a mythical creature that is half-lion and half-fish. Despite its small size, Singapore is also home to a number of world-class museums and cultural institutions. The National Gallery of Singapore, for example, is housed in the former Supreme Court Building and City Hall and features a collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art. Ultimately, Singapore’s success story is a result of the resilience, hard work, and ingenuity of its people, who have worked tirelessly to build a modern and prosperous nation. With its impeccably clean, well-planned streets, governmental efficiency, and attractive business climate, the place is a shining example of what can be achieved when a country is committed to progress and development. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time resident, Singapore is a city that never fails to amaze and inspire.
Reading Passage 3 has five paragraphs (A-E). Choose the most suitable heading for each paragraph from the list below.
List of Headings
I A bumpy road
II Business is everything
III Simply the best
IV Rich in many things
V Trading favours
VI Worth looking up to
VII Successful policies
28 Paragraph A
29 Paragraph B
30 Paragraph C
31 Paragraph D
32 Paragraph E
Do the following statements agree with the information in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 1-4 on your Answer Sheet, write
TRUE if the statement is true according to the passage.
FALSE if the statement contradicts the passage.
NOT GIVEN if there is no information about this in the passage.
33 Cultural composition of Singapore is mostly homogeneous
34 There aren’t many historical records on the earlier period of Singapore history.
35 The British empire came to Singapore to ensure its safety from piracy
36 As per Raffles’ initiative, sea vessels had to have a license to be involved in trade
Complete the summary below using words from the table. Each can only be used once.
Despite the grave losses the country had to experience due to 37 _____, resilience and determination paved its way for economic prosperity. Thanks to its favourable 38 _____ that connected trade routes and accommodating business environment it attracted professionals and investors from all across the globe. To stop people from 39 _____ the country has instituted stringent legal repercussions to ensure peace and order. This is one reason Singapore is lauded as one of the safest places to live. As a tourism destination, the city-state stands out with its many attractions like hotels and museums. Summing up, owing to its thriving 40 _____, efficient laws, and welcoming, inclusive culture, it is definitely a place worth seeing.
|World War II||location||breaking the law||conditions|