Sunday, August 26, 2007

Singapore Facts

I have discovered this summer that people know as little about Singapore as I did before I moved there. When Erik said we'd been asked to go, I had to look it up on a map. I thought it was near Fiji. It's not.

So here are some fun facts about Singapore. After reading this post, you'll know so much about Singapore than "An American kid got caned there once." (From what I've heard, he had it coming).

1. Singapore is an island, a city, and a country all by itself. It is connected to Malaysia by two bridges but otherwise stands alone.

2. Singapore is located about 100 kilometers north of the equator, south of Malaysia, north of Indonesia. Despite its proximity to the tsunami, it was protected from any damage by being surrounded by those two countries.

3. They speak English in Singapore. Not like "if you go to Germany most people speak English" kind of English. This is in the "It's one of the official languages, everyone learns it in school, all the signs are in English, it's what's expected" kind of English. So no, I don't use my Mandarin in Singapore. Only on rare occasions if I feel like cracking it out for the chicken vendor.

4. Singapore is only about 15 miles by 25 miles long. That's probably why most people don't know where it is.

5. Being so close to the equator, the weather is pretty consistent all year round. The weather report on reads, "88-90 degrees, 60% chance of rain" every single day of the year. You can get more specific reports, but basically the only weather question you ask yourself is, "Will it rain today?" Chances are "yes."

6. I am not worried about being caned. Fined, yes, caned, no. Singapore is not oppressive as it might seem from reports. It actually is a highly developed, extremely efficient and smoothly running country, in large part due to high penalties for crimes and other infractions. I feel safer there than anywhere.

7. Though it is surrounded by developing countries, we lack for no western thing in Singapore. In fact, right now I miss something Minnesota doesn't have, which is the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. It has hands down the best Chai Latte in the world. So don't cry for us there - we're living well.

8. Singapore is home to a multitude of cultures and religions. The population is strongly Chinese, but also Indian, Malaysian,

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