Coun­try Pro­file - Sin­ga­pore

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Lee Hsien Loong is the cur­rent Prime Min­is­ter of Sin­ga­pore; he is in the of­fice since 2004. Born as the el­dest son of the first Prime Min­is­ter Lee Kuan Yew, he be­came in­ter­ested in pol­i­tics from an early age. As a child, he would of­ten fol­low his fa­ther to the rally grounds. In­tel­lec­tu­ally bril­liant, he learnt the Jawi script at the age of five. Later, he stud­ied math­e­mat­ics at Trin­ity Col­lege, Cam­bridge and be­came a Se­nior Wran­gler. Af­ter fin­ish­ing his post grad­u­ate stud­ies at Har­vard Univer­sity, he served the Sin­ga­pore Armed forces for a brief pe­riod and reached the rank of the Bri­gadier Gen­eral within three years. Soon, he left the army and be­came a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment from Teck Ghee con­stituency. From the very start, he was given re­spon­si­ble roles in the gov­ern­ment and soon he be­came one of the key fig­ures in the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal tran­si­tion. How­ever, such quick rise both in the army and pol­i­tics has brought in al­le­ga­tion of nepo­tism, a charge that he and his fam­ily strongly deny.

Child­hood & Early Life

Lee Hsien Loong was born on Fe­bru­ary 10, 1952 in Sin­ga­pore to Lee Kuan Yew and Kwa Geok Choo. Lee Kuan Yew, pop­u­larly known as LKY, was the found­ing fa­ther of in­de­pen­dent Sin­ga­pore and also its first Prime Min­is­ter; he was in the of­fice from 1959 to 1990. Lee Hsien Loong’s mother Kwa Geok Choo was the pi­o­neer ad­vo­cate of Sin­ga­pore’s women’s right and a part­ner of the law farm Lee and Lee. When the city state was sep­a­rated from Malaysian Fed­er­a­tion, Kwa drafted part of the sep­a­ra­tion agree­ment. Lee Hsien Loong has two other sib­lings; a sis­ter named Lee Wei Ling and a younger brother named Lee Hsien Yang. Yang is cur­rently the Chair­man of the Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity of Sin­ga­pore. Lee Hsien Loong be­gan his ed­u­ca­tion at Nanyang Pri­mary School and then joined Catholic High School for his sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from there in 1969 he was en­rolled at Na­tional Ju­nior Col­lege for his post sec­ondary stud­ies and passed out from there in 1970. In 1971, Lee joined Sin­ga­pore

Armed Forces. At the same time, he re­ceived schol­ar­ship for study­ing math­e­mat­ics at Trin­ity Col­lege un­der Univer­sity of Cam­bridge, which he read­ily ac­cepted. In 1973, Lee was se­lected as the Se­nior Wran­gler, a po­si­tion that refers to top math­e­mat­ics un­der­grad­u­ate at Cam­bridge Univer­sity. Later in 1974, he grad­u­ated from there with first class hon­ors in the sub­ject and a diploma in com­puter science. In 1978, Lee at­tended the United States Army Com­mand and Gen­eral Staff Col­lege at Fort Leav­en­wort. In 1980, he earned his master de­gree in Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion from John F. Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment un­der Har­vard Univer­sity. Af­ter pass­ing out Har­vard, he re­joined Sin­ga­pore Armed Forces and rose through the ranks very quickly. In 1983, he was made the Bri­gadier Gen­eral of the force; but he re­signed in 1984 to join pol­i­tics.

Early Po­lit­i­cal Ca­reer

In 1984, Lee joined the rul­ing Peo­ple’s Ac­tion Party (PAP), a cen­ter right po­lit­i­cal party led by his fa­ther, Lee Kuan Yew. It has been dom­i­nat­ing Sin­ga­pore’s po­lit­i­cal sce­nario right from 1959 gen­eral elec­tion. In De­cem­ber 1984, he was elected as a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment from Teck Ghee Sin­gle Mem­ber Con­stituency and was ap­pointed as the Min­is­ter of State at the Min­istry of Trade and In­dus­try and Min­istry of De­fense. He was at that time only 32 years old. In 1985, Lee was made the Chair­man of the Eco­nomic Com­mit­tee, set up to re­vive the econ­omy of Sin­ga­pore. The com­mit­tee, un­der Lee’s Chair­man­ship, pro­posed a change in state’s poli­cies. For ex­am­ple, the com­mit­tee rec­om­mended re­duc­tion in cor­po­rate and per­sonal taxes; in its place it pro­posed in­tro­duc­tion con­sump­tion tax. In 1986, Lee be­came a mem­ber of PAP Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee and also the Chair­man of PAP Youth Com­mit­tee. This is also the year, when he be­came Act­ing Min­is­ter for Trade and In­dus­try. Next year in 1987, he be­came a full Cab­i­net Min­is­ter in charge of Trade and Com­merce and Sec­ond Min­is­ter for De­fense.

As Prime Min­is­ter

On Au­gust 12, 2004, Goh Chok Tong stepped down from his po­si­tion as the Prime Min­is­ter of Sin­ga­pore and Lee Hsien Loong was ap­pointed as his suc­ces­sor. On be­ing sworn in, Lee promised greater free­dom to the cit­i­zens of Sin­ga­pore. Un­til now, free­dom of po­lit­i­cal ex­pres­sion was se­verely re­strained in the coun­try. Other than that, Lee also in­tro­duced 5 days work week and two months paid ma­ter­nity leave for moth­ers with new­born ba­bies. In 2005, Lee le­gal­ized gam­bling, which at­tracted sig­nif­i­cant for­eign in­vest­ment. At the same time, he took the re­quired steps in or­der to limit the neg­a­tive im­pact of gam­bling. In the be­gin­ning of 2006, Lee’s gov­ern­ment an­nounced $2.6 bil­lion bonus called the Progress Pack­age. Un­der this pro­gram, Lee chan­neled the bud­get sur­plus ac­cu­mu­lated over the years into health­care, hous­ing and ed­u­ca­tion. In ad­di­tion, every adult Sin­ga­porean cit­i­zen got cash bonus. Since the gen­eral elec­tion was to be held within three months of the an­nounce­ment, op­po­si­tion treated it as a ‘vote buy­ing ex­er­cise’. None­the­less, in the elec­tion held on May 6, 2006, the PAP, un­der the lead­er­ship of Lee Hsien Loong, won 82 seats out of 84. How­ever, in the 2011 gen­eral elec­tion, held on May 7, there was a 6.46% swing against PAP. Although it won 81 out of 87 seats, two of its heavy­weight min­is­ters lost the elec­tion. Own­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity Min­is­ter Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Se­nior Min­is­ter Goh Chok Tong re­signed from their posts. Lee Hsieng Loong was sworn in as the Prime Min­is­ter of Sin­ga­pore on May 11, 2011. With the res­ig­na­tion of Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, Loong had more free­dom to choose his min­is­ters. This time, he took a num­ber of mea­sures to win back the con­fi­dence of the cit­i­zens Cre­at­ing Com­pul­sory health­care In­sur­ance Plan was one such move. He also pro­posed one third pay cut for all min­is­ters in­clud­ing him­self. Un­der him, re­la­tion with China im­proved to a large ex­tent. Bi­lat­eral re­la­tion with USA, with whom Sin­ga­pore al­ways had a god re­la­tion, im­proved even fur­ther.

Awards & Achieve­ments

Lee was be­stowed with ‘Or­den El Sol del Perú en el grado de Gran Cruz con Bril­lantes’ on Novem­ber 22, 2008. It is the high­est or­der con­ferred by Peru to com­mend no­table peo­ple, both in civil­ian and mil­i­tary ser­vice. Lee has also been con­ferred ‘Olympic Or­der’ (Gold) on Au­gust 13, 2010 for his con­tri­bu­tion to the Olympic Move­ment.

Per­sonal Life

In 1978, Lee Hsien Loong mar­ried Wong Ming Yang, a Malaysia born doc­tor. He has two chil­dren with her; a daugh­ter named Xi­uqi and a son named Yipeng. Wong Ming died on Oc­to­ber 28, 1982 three weeks af­ter giv­ing birth to Yipeng. In 1985, Lee mar­ried Ho Ching. At the time of their mar­riage, she was a civil ser­vant un­der the Min­istry of De­fense. Later in Jan­uary 2002, Ho Ching joined

Te­masek Hold­ings and by May be­came its Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor. The cou­ple has two sons; Hongyi and Haoyi.

Trivia

Lee Hsien Loong is said to be the world’s high­est paid leader. He now re­ceives an an­nual salary of $1.7 mil­lion. Be­fore his self im­posed salary cut in 2012, Lee used to get $2.8 mil­lion per year.

Top-Rated Tourist At­trac­tions & Things to Do in Sin­ga­pore

Sin­ga­pore has been de­scribed as a play­ground for the rich, and it's true that the small city-state does have cer­tain sheen of wealth. But Sin­ga­pore of­fers more than just high­end shop­ping malls, lux­ury ho­tels, and fine din­ing (though it's worth in­dulging in those a bit if you can). There is also a vi­brant his­tory and di­verse eth­nic quar­ters to dis­cover, along with the many fam­ily-friendly at­trac­tions and lovely pub­lic spa­ces that make vis­it­ing this slightly fu­tur­is­tic city worth­while. Sin­ga­pore has an ex­cel­lent pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tem that makes get­ting around con­ve­nient and easy. Once you've got­ten a sense of the metro map, you'll have no prob­lem zip­ping from one part of town to the next. English is spo­ken ev­ery­where and signs are in English as well. In fact, Sin­ga­pore is one of the eas­i­est and most com­fort­able coun­tries to nav­i­gate in South­east Asia. And as long as you're not com­par­ing prices to nearby Thai­land or Viet­nam, you're in for a lovely stay.

Ma­rina Bay Sands

The opu­lent Ma­rina Bay Sands re­sort com­plex in­cludes a ho­tel, high-end lux­ury brands, a mall with a canal run­ning through it, the ArtS­cience Mu­seum, and the Ma­rina Bay Sands Sky­park - a van­tage point for tak­ing in the en­tire city. The Sky­park's view­ing deck and in­fin­ity pool are found in the ship (yes, ship) that tops the ho­tel. Only ho­tel guests are al­lowed to use the in­fin­ity pool but any­one can visit the ob­ser­va­tion deck. From the sky­park, you can see the in­no­va­tive dou­ble helix bridge, the port, the Gar­dens by the Bay, and the im­pres­sive sky­line. While up there on top of the city, guests can grab a snack or a cof­fee at the rooftop res­tau­rant or pick up some keep­sakes from the sou­venir stand. You can pur­chase a photo of your­self green­screened in front of the mas­sive ho­tel as it's all lit up at night, but the cost is steep: 50 Sin­ga­pore dol­lars. Bet­ter to ask a fel­low tourist to snap a photo of you. The lux­ury and el­e­gance of the Ma­rina Bay Sands ex­em­plify Sin­ga­pore's taste, and help des­ig­nate a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional city in South­east Asia.

Sin­ga­pore Flyer

If the ob­ser­va­tion deck at the Ma­rina Bay Sands doesn't quite do it for you, try tak­ing in high tea while look­ing out over the city from the Sin­ga­pore Flyer, the world's largest gi­ant ob­ser­va­tion wheel. Choose from sev­eral dif­fer­ent pack­ages that al­low you to be served and pam­pered while en­joy­ing a view that en­com­passes not only the Sin­ga­pore sky­line, but reaches to the Spice Is­lands of In­done­sia and Malaysia's Straits of Jo­hor. There are sev­eral dif­fer­ent ticket pack­ages to choose from, and each in­cludes ac­cess to the mul­ti­me­dia Jour­ney of Dreams ex­hibit that

delves into Sin­ga­pore's his­tory and the cre­ation of the Sin­ga­pore Flyer. Flights last 30 min­utes each and run from early morn­ing un­til late at night, so you can choose which view of the city you want to en­joy: the be­gin­ning of an­other bustling day or when Sin­ga­pore is aglow af­ter dark.

Gar­dens by the Bay

Once you've glimpsed this beau­ti­fully de­signed green space (from the top of the Ma­rina Bay Sands, per­haps) you won't be able to stay away. Wan­der through the Bay East Gar­den, per­fect for en­joy­ing the vi­brant plant life and es­cap­ing the city bus­tle for a mo­ment. You won't want to miss Su­pertree Grove, where you'll find a clus­ter of the iconic, fu­tur­is­tic struc­tures de­signed to per­form en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able func­tions. Then, head to the Cloud For­est Dome to see the world's tallest in­door wa­ter­fall and learn a bit about bio­di­ver­sity. Check the web­site for fi­nal ticket sale and tour times.

Botanic Gar­dens

Not to be con­fused with the Gar­dens on the Bay, the botanic gar­dens are also worth a visit. Sin­ga­pore re­ceived its first UNESCO World Her­itage nom­i­na­tion for the botanic gar­dens, and with good rea­son. The city can some­times feel like a con­crete jun­gle, al­beit a clean and com­fort­able one, but the botanic gar­dens pre­serve pieces of Sin­ga­pore's wilder her­itage. In­deed, you can visit the gar­dens' her­itage trees via walk­ing trail, which are con­served as part of an ef­fort to pro­tect the city's ma­ture tree species. Make sure to visit the im­pres­sive Na­tional Orchid Gar­den. Other at­trac­tions in­clude an eco-gar­den, eco-lake, bon­sai gar­den, sculp­tures, and sev­eral other gar­dens and unique sites.

Chi­na­town

If you've ever vis­ited China, Sin­ga­pore's Chi­na­town neigh­bor­hood will bring you right back there. From the small mom-and-pop stores and au­then­tic Chi­nese food to the bright red lanterns, there's an ex­cite­ment and hus­tle in this district. You can visit the Chi­nese Her­itage Cen­tre and see the im­pres­sive and beau­ti­ful Sri Mari­amman Hindu tem­ple. An­other tem­ple worth see­ing is the Bud­dha Tooth Relic tem­ple. If you're up early enough (think 4 am), you can hear the morn­ing drum cer­e­mony. Or you can just check out the clos­ing cer­e­mony in the evening af­ter view­ing the relic. Her­itage mark­ers have been in­stalled through­out the neigh­bor­hood in English, Ja­panese, and sim­pli­fied Chi­nese so vis­i­tors can bet­ter un­der­stand the sig­nif­i­cance of the area. But this neigh­bor­hood is not just a tes­ta­ment to the in­flu­ence of the Chi­nese through­out Sin­ga­pore's past. This is a pro­gres­sive neigh­bor­hood (with free Wi-Fi for all) and it's home to the trendy Ann Siang Hill area, where the quaint bistros and up­scale bou­tiques could be at home in any Western city.

Lit­tle In­dia and Arab Street

One of the most ex­cit­ing aspects of Sin­ga­pore is the di­ver­sity of its neigh­bor­hoods. Yes, the coun­try is a savvy shop­pers' par­adise, but you'll

also find rich tra­di­tions, de­li­cious foods and lo­cal character in its older quar­ters. Nowhere is this truer than in Lit­tle In­dia and Arab Street (also known as the Arab Quar­ter). The In­dian com­mu­nity has a rich his­tory in Sin­ga­pore, and this en­clave dates back more than 200 years. Sin­ga­pore's name ac­tu­ally de­rives from the San­skrit words for Lion City, ac­cord­ing to Lit­tle In­dia's of­fi­cial web­site. To­day, the neigh­bor­hood is a thriv­ing, col­or­ful place where tra­di­tional hol­i­days are cel­e­brated, and vis­i­tors can ob­serve wor­ship and ac­tiv­ity at the Sri Veera­makaliamman Tem­ple or pur­chase saris while min­gling with lo­cal ven­dors. In the Arab Quar­ter, you'll want to visit the his­toric Sul­tan Mosque, orig­i­nally built in 1825. Non-Mus­lims are not per­mit­ted in the prayer hall, though you can ap­pre­ci­ate the dis­tinc­tive golden domes and crafts­man­ship of the ex­te­rior struc­ture. Haji and Bali lanes are es­pe­cially good spots to shop for some­thing a lit­tle more unique than a de­signer hand­bag, and you'll also find your­self sur­rounded by mu­sic and food, as there are count­less res­tau­rants.

Raf­fles Ho­tel

This colo­nial build­ing is one of the world's last grand 19th cen­tury ho­tels, and was once vis­ited by lit­er­ary lu­mi­nar­ies such as Rud­yard Ki­pling and Joseph Con­rad, as well as movie star Char­lie Chap­lin. Built in 1887, the Raf­fles Ho­tel has served as a Sin­ga­pore land­mark for well over a cen­tury and con­tin­ues to live up to its tony rep­u­ta­tion with ex­cel­lent food and ser­vice. The clas­si­cal ar­chi­tec­ture and trop­i­cal gar­dens pro­vide a re­fined set­ting, and rep­re­sent an­other facet of Sin­ga­pore's var­ied and rich his­tory. The Raf­fles Ho­tel is lo­cated in Sin­ga­pore's Colo­nial District, also home to sev­eral other his­toric sites. Among them is the Raf­fles Land­ing Site, where Sir Stam­ford Raf­fles is said to have stepped ashore in 1819. The story has it that he saw the small fish­ing vil­lage but rec­og­nized its po­ten­tial as a port, so he pur­chased the land from the Sul­tan of Jo­hor and in­vited Chi­nese and In­dian im­mi­grants to move there. And so the seeds of Sin­ga­pore's multi-eth­nic iden­tity were sown.

Changi Chapel and Mu­seum

Sin­ga­pore was not spared the hor­rors of WWII, and the Changi Chapel and Mu­seum tells the story of those who suf­fered un­der Ja­panese oc­cu­pa­tion. The mu­seum dis­plays the let­ters, photographs, draw­ings, and per­sonal ef­fects that are now tes­ta­ments to the im­pris­on­ment for more than 50,000 civil­ians and sol­diers in Changi Prison. The Changi Chapel, found in the open-air court­yard of the mu­seum, is a replica of one of the many chapels that were built dur­ing WWII. It stands as a mon­u­ment for those who would not fold un­der Ja­panese rule. A must-see in the mu­seum is a se­ries of mu­rals painstak­ingly recre­ated from orig­i­nals painted by Bom­bardier Stan­ley War­ren. Guests can par­tic­i­pate in a guided tour or opt for an au­dio tour that fea­tures ac­counts of Changi pris­on­ers' wartime ex­pe­ri­ences.

Sin­ga­pore Zoo

Billing it­self as the world's best

rain­for­est zoo, the Sin­ga­pore Zoo is a pretty im­pres­sive place. The fa­cil­ity is clean and invit­ing, and the an­i­mals ap­pear well treated with plenty of lush veg­e­ta­tion and habi­tat space. The orang­utans are par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive, and vis­i­tors can watch as ba­bies and adults alike swing high above their plat­forms and snack on ba­nanas. There is also a large chim­panzee fam­ily, ze­bras, meerkats, a ko­modo dragon, mole rats, white tigers, kan­ga­roos, and many other crea­tures. Guests can ob­serve feed­ings for some of the an­i­mals. Al­low at least three hours to make your way around the zoo. If the zoo doesn't sat­isfy your need for get­ting close to wildlife, there's also the Night Sa­fari, River Sa­fari (in­clud­ing a gi­ant panda for­est), and the Jurong Bird Park. Park hop­per passes are avail­able if you plan to visit more than one of the wildlife parks. For a unique and per­sonal wildlife ex­pe­ri­ence, try the Sin­ga­pore Zoo Break­fast with the Orang­utans. This has­sle free tour in­cludes trans­porta­tion from and to your ho­tel, al­lows you a half day to ex­plore the zoo, and has an op­tional up­grade the en­joy break­fast in the com­pany of the zoo's much-loved orang­utans.

Fort Can­ning Park

As mil­i­tary strongholds go, Fort Can­ning has had a long and var­ied life. Built in 1859, the fort was an es­sen­tial site for Sin­ga­pore's de­fense. Now in peace­time, the orig­i­nal build­ing is home to modern per­form­ing arts troupes, and the park reg­u­larly sees pic­nics, con­certs, the­ater per­for­mances, and fes­ti­vals. Other at­trac­tions at the park in­clude relics from Sin­ga­pore's early his­tory, from as far back as the 14th cen­tury, and Sir Stam­ford Raf­fles' per­sonal bun­ga­low. Guests can also see a replica of the spice mar­ket Raf­fles es­tab­lished in 1822, as well as the ASEAN sculp­tures that were erected in the 1980s.

Sen­tosa Is­land

Sin­ga­pore isn't ex­actly known as a beach des­ti­na­tion, but if you're re­ally crav­ing some fun in the sun, Sen­tosa Is­land is the place to find it. Siloso Beach is a good spot for get­ting in beach time, and vis­i­tors can play vol­ley­ball on free courts or go kayak­ing and skim-board­ing. There are sev­eral other beach at­trac­tions as well, plus an Un­der­wa­ter World aquar­ium where you can swim with dol­phins. A must-see on Sen­tosa Is­land is the Mer­lion, Sin­ga­pore's fa­mous statue that has the head of a lion and the body of a fish. You can take an es­ca­la­tor to the top of the statue, and en­joy panoramic views of the sur­round­ing area. Fort Siloso, the coun­try's only pre­served fort,

is also lo­cated on Sen­tosa Is­land. Ad­ven­tur­ous types will want to check out The Fly­ing Trapeze and the SeaBreeze Water-Sports @ Wave House, where you can try your hand at fly­ing strapped to a water-pro­pelled jet pack.

Or­chard Road

One could be for­given for com­ing to Sin­ga­pore and do­ing noth­ing but shop­ping, as this is a world-class city for style and de­signer chic. The Or­chard Road area is a great place to start a shop­ping spree, as there are high-end stores at every turn. You'd ex­pect noth­ing less from a neigh­bor­hood that boasts 22 malls and six depart­ment stores. There are also four movie the­aters, in­clud­ing an IMAX, and a KTV karaoke. If you get hun­gry while burn­ing through all that cash, there are plenty of eater­ies in the neigh­bor­hood serv­ing in­ter­na­tional cuisines.

Where to Stay in Sin­ga­pore for Sight­see­ing

Sin­ga­pore is rel­a­tively easy to ex­plore and has a metro sys­tem that makes get­ting around simple. Most of the ho­tels listed be­low are in the city cen­ter, on or near the pop­u­lar Or­chard Road, a great area for shop­ping and sight­see­ing. A cou­ple of th­ese are ho­tels of dis­tinc­tion and are note­wor­thy at­trac­tions in Sin­ga­pore. All of the ho­tels listed be­low are pop­u­lar and highly-rated.

Lux­ury Ho­tels: Sin­ga­pore's most fa­mous his­toric ho­tel is Raf­fles Ho­tel. First opened in 1887, this colo­nial land­mark is an all-suite lux­ury ho­tel set on lovely grounds and well po­si­tioned in the city. An­other iconic but more modern ho­tel is the Ma­rina Bay Sands, with its un­mis­take­able ship-like shape tow­er­ing over the city and a fa­mous rooftop in­fin­ity pool. For gen­eral sight­see­ing and shop­ping, the Grand Hy­att and Sin­ga­pore Mar­riott Tang Plaza are both top-end op­tions with good ser­vice, lo­cated near each other around Or­chard Road.

Mid-Range Ho­tels: The Hol­i­day Inn Sin­ga­pore Or­chard City Cen­tre is a good choice in the mid-range cat­e­gory and well po­si­tioned, just off Or­chard Road. In the Lit­tle In­dia area of Sin­ga­pore, the Wan­der­lust is a quirky but pop­u­lar bou­tique ho­tel with uniquely and taste­fully dec­o­rated rooms in dif­fer­ent col­ors or whim­si­cal themes. Lloyd's Inn is an­other bou­tique ho­tel with small but stylish rooms and big win­dows look­ing onto the beau­ti­ful grounds.

Bud­get Ho­tels: The Vic­to­ria Ho­tel is a pop­u­lar bud­get ho­tel with a de­cent lo­ca­tion within walk­ing dis­tance of a metro stop. An­other good op­tion is the clean and com­fort­able Cham­pion Ho­tel, known for be­ing par­tic­u­larly good value in Sin­ga­pore.

Tips and Tours: How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Sin­ga­pore See­ing the sights. For first time vis­i­tors, the Sin­ga­pore Hop-On HopOff Bus Tour is a great way to see the sights and get fa­mil­iar with the lay­out of the city. Tick­ets are valid for 24 or 48 hours and the open-top dou­ble decker buses, with mul­ti­lin­gual au­dio com­men­tary, op­er­ate on a num­ber of routes. This is a very easy way to see and learn about sights, while ex­plor­ing at your own pace. Sin­ga­pore by night. For a truly unique per­spec­tive on the city, try the Sin­ga­pore Night Sight­see­ing Tour. This semi-in­de­pen­dent tour of­fers a chance to see the city lights, do some shop­ping along Bugis Street, ex­plore the Gar­dens by the Bay, and dine by the Sin­ga­pore Flyer. In­cluded in the tour are ho­tel pickup and drop, din­ner, and en­try to the Gar­dens.

Sin­ga­pore’s Top 10 Ex­ports

Sin­ga­pore shipped US$329.9 bil­lion worth of goods around the globe in 2016, up by 22.3% since 2009 when the Great Re­ces­sion kicked in but down by -4.8% from 2015 to 2016. Sin­ga­pore’s top 10 ex­ports rep­re­sent 82.4% of the over­all value of its global ship­ments. Based on sta­tis­tics from the In­ter­na­tional Monetary Fund’s World Eco­nomic Out­look Data­base, Sin­ga­pore’s to­tal Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct amounted to $514.8 bil­lion as of April 2017. There­fore, ex­ports ac­counted for about 64.1% of to­tal Sin­ga­porean eco­nomic out­put. From a con­ti­nen­tal per­spec­tive, 74.5% of Sin­ga­porean ex­ports by value are de­liv­ered to other Asian coun­tries while 10.6% are sold to Euro­pean im­porters. Sin­ga­pore ships an­other 7.5% worth of prod­ucts to North Amer­i­can clients with 2.1% go­ing to Latin Amer­ica (ex­clud­ing Mex­ico) and the Caribbean. Given Sin­ga­pore’s pop­u­la­tion of 5.8 mil­lion peo­ple, its to­tal $329.9 bil­lion in 2016 ex­ports trans­lates to roughly $57,000 for every res­i­dent in that coun­try. Sin­ga­pore’s un­em­ploy­ment rate was 2.2% as of De­cem­ber 2016, up from 1.9% one year ear­lier ac­cord­ing to Trad­ing Eco­nomics. The fol­low­ing ex­port prod­uct groups rep­re­sent the high­est dol­lar value in Sin­ga­porean global ship­ments dur­ing 2016. Also shown is the per­cent­age share each ex­port cat­e­gory rep­re­sents in terms of over­all ex­ports from Sin­ga­pore.

• Elec­tri­cal ma­chin­ery, equip­ment: US$114.8 bil­lion (34.8% of to­tal ex­ports)

• Ma­chin­ery in­clud­ing com­put­ers: $49.2 bil­lion (14.9%)

• Min­eral fu­els in­clud­ing oil: $37.5 bil­lion (11.4%)

• Op­ti­cal, tech­ni­cal, med­i­cal ap­pa­ra­tus: $15.7 bil­lion (4.8%)

• Or­ganic chem­i­cals: $15.3 bil­lion (4.6%)

• Plas­tics, plas­tic ar­ti­cles: $13.1 bil­lion (4%)

• Gems, pre­cious met­als: $8.6 bil­lion (2.6%)

• Air­craft, space­craft: $6.7 bil­lion (2%)

• Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals: $5.6 bil­lion (1.7%)

• Other chem­i­cal goods: $5.2 bil­lion (1.6%) Op­ti­cal, tech­ni­cal and med­i­cal ap­pa­ra­tus was the fastest-grow­ing among the top 10 ex­port cat­e­gories, up 104.3% for the 7-year pe­riod start­ing in 2009. In sec­ond place for im­prov­ing ex­port sales was the plas­tics cat­e­gory which ap­pre­ci­ated by 78.9%. Mis­cel­la­neous chem­i­cal goods posted the third-fastest gain in value up 70.4%. Min­eral fu­els in­clud­ing oil was the only de­clin­ing cat­e­gory from 2009 to 2016 via its -8.9% slow­down.

Sin­ga­pore’s Top 10 Im­ports

Sin­ga­pore im­ported US$283 bil­lion worth of goods from around the globe in 2016, up by 15.1% since 2009 but down by -4.6% from 2015 to 2016. Sin­ga­pore’s top 10 im­ports ac­counted for over four-fifths (81%) of the over­all value of its prod­uct pur­chases from other coun­tries. Sin­ga­porean im­ports rep­re­sent 1.7% of to­tal global im­ports which to­taled $16.473 tril­lion for 2016. From a con­ti­nen­tal per­spec­tive, 68.6% of Sin­ga­pore’s to­tal im­ports by value in 2016 were pur­chased from other Asian coun­tries. Euro­pean trade part­ners supplied 16.2% of Sin­ga­pore’s im­port pur­chases while 12% worth of goods orig­i­nated from North Amer­ica. Smaller per­cent­ages came from Latin Amer­ica ex­clud­ing Mex­ico plus the Caribbean (1.1%) and Africa (0.8%). Given Sin­ga­pore ‘s pop­u­la­tion of 5.8 mil­lion peo­ple, its to­tal $283 bil­lion in 2016 im­ports trans­lates to roughly $49,000 in yearly prod­uct de­mand from every per­son in the coun­try. The fol­low­ing prod­uct groups rep­re­sent the high­est dol­lar value in Sin­ga­pore’s im­port pur­chases dur­ing 2016. Also shown is the per­cent­age share each prod­uct cat­e­gory rep­re­sents in terms of over­all im­ports into Sin­ga­pore.

• Elec­tri­cal ma­chin­ery, equip­ment: US$84.9 bil­lion (30% of to­tal im­ports)

• Min­eral fu­els in­clud­ing oil: $51.1 bil­lion (18%)

• Ma­chin­ery in­clud­ing com­put­ers: $42.4 bil­lion (15%)

• Gems, pre­cious met­als: $11.4 bil­lion (4%)

• Op­ti­cal, tech­ni­cal, med­i­cal ap­pa­ra­tus: $11.1 bil­lion (3.9%)

• Air­craft, space­craft: $6.7 bil­lion (2.4%)

• Plas­tics, plas­tic ar­ti­cles: $6.7 bil­lion (2.4%)

• Ve­hi­cles : $5.5 bil­lion (2%)

• Or­ganic chem­i­cals: $5.5 bil­lion (1.9%)

• Other chem­i­cal goods: $4.1 bil­lion (1.4%) Im­ported gems and pre­cious met­als was the fastest-grow­ing top cat­e­gory over the 7-year pe­riod start­ing in 2009 up by 87%. Pre­cious met­als scrap, jew­elry, sil­ver and di­a­monds were the key driv­ers for this value im­prove­ment. In sec­ond place for higher im­port pur­chases were plas­tics up by 75.7%. Close be­hind were Sin­ga­porean im­ports of op­ti­cal, tech­ni­cal and med­i­cal ap­pa­ra­tus up by 67.5% ($11.1 bil­lion). Air­craft and space­craft (down -13.9%) and min­eral fu­els in­clud­ing oil (down -13.2%) were the lag­gards. Please note that the re­sults listed above are at the 2-digit Har­mo­nized Tar­iff Sys­tem code level. In­for­ma­tion pre­sented un­der other vir­tual folder tabs is at the more gran­u­lar 4-digit level.

Lee Hsien Loong, 3rd Prime Min­is­ter of Sin­ga­pore

Sin­ga­pore Flyer

Ma­rina Bay Sands

Gar­dens by the Bay

Botanic Gar­dens

Chi­na­town

Raf­fles Ho­tel

Fort Can­ning Park

Sin­ga­pore Zoo

Changi Chapel and Mu­seum

Sen­tosa Is­land

Or­chard Road

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