December 18, 2016
Singapore holds a mirror to the rest of Asia, reflecting its cultures, religions, and traditions in a microcosm of a sovereign state. With its origins as a trading hub, the ancient port attracted a mix of people from all over the largest continent. Today, you have a society where cultures from Asia mix in a veritable melting pot of diverse faiths and traditions, sprinkled with British influence.
The population of Singapore stands at 5.61 million as of June 2016. In fact, the island nation is the second most populous sovereign state after Monaco. The largest segment of the population is made up of ethnic Chinese (74.3%) followed by the indigenous Malays (13.3%). The rest of the resident population include Indians (9.1%) and a mix of other ethnic groups (3.2%). In the local schools, English is the official language with respective Mother Tongue Language requirement (Chinese, Malay or Tamil).
A Journey Into Cultures
Let us now take you on journey through the different cultures of the island nation:
One of the earliest settlers to arrive in a throbbing trading post of the erstwhile British empire. The majority of the early migrants flocked from the southern parts of China, especially Fujian and Guandong, for a better life. Some of them exhibited acute entrepreneurial skills and rose to the elite circles of society.
They were the first to call the throbbing trading port their home. Arriving from Indonesian islands such as Java and the Malay peninsula, the second largest ethnic group has shaped the cultural discourse of the island nation. Their culture and cuisine influence the later migrant groups.
The rich economy of the British trading post attracted people from what was then known as the Indian Subcontinent. Immigrants made their way from the southern tip of India to find work. Some of them went on to set up successful businesses. The majority of the early settlers were from the state of Tamil Nadu.
They represent how the west and east have met and blossomed in the island nation. Eurasians arrived soon after the British and engaged in white collar work related to administrative services and banking.
The Peranakans reflect the mix of Southeast Asian cultures, especially the Chinese and the Malays. They came to the island nation with a keen business spirit for trade, baking, and real estate.
Modern Singapore can pride itself in possessing a dynamic cultural spirit forged from the early days of trade. There are many faces here, but one heartbeat.