What is so unique about Singapore?
We’ve all heard of Singapore, but it isn’t necessarily one of the most popular countries on the map. Rather other nearby nations like China, Japan and the Koreas get a lot more attention in the international press. However, on the low, Singapore is one of the most-exceptional countries on the face of the Earth.
In this article we will list 10 aspects of the Lion City, as Singapore is called, which make it so unique. And it is virtually guaranteed that by the conclusion of this post you, the reader, will agree that it is one of the more-interesting nations/states/cities out there.
Only Country to Be Forced Independent
When looking at a map, you may notice that Singapore is quite small to be an entire country in and of itself. In fact it holds the distinction of being the 20th smallest country in the world. To put things into perspective, the entirety of Singapore is smaller than the city of London.
Of course the leaders of the Lion City are well aware of the challenges that come with trying to raise a nation in such a constricted area. As a matter of fact after being freed from British rule in 1963, Singapore was actually a part of Malaysia. However, due a variety of reasons, the two nations did not get along. So in 1965, Malaysia gave Singapore the boot. The Singaporean Prime Minister at the time, Lee Kuan Yew (1925-2015), became so distraught that he caught feelings on national TV. And at the end of the day, a country actually being forced to become independent is such a unique occurrence that as it stands now, Singapore is the only one to hold this distinction.
The next two items on this list are indicative of the fact that Singapore is near the very-top of the list in terms of technologically-advanced cities, in fact being the most-modernized metropolis in all of Asia. Indeed it is not even necessary to step foot inside of a building in the Lion City to ascertain the extraordinary level of technological breakthrough in the country. For one needs only look at the structures and attractions that highlight Singapore’s Marina Bay to realize that it is a real-life world of tomorrow.
For the sake of brevity, let us just give a shootout to a few of the places you can look up for yourself to get an idea of what we’re talking about. And they include the following:
There are also pimped-out places in other parts of the country, such as the Night Safari, Singapore Changi Airport and ultra-stylish Sentosa Island. And what is really exceptional about the Lion City’s layout is that, once again due to limited resources, despite its high level of computerization and modernization the government is also committed to keeping the nation green.
Encompassing Facial-Verification System
This is one that should drive all types of technophobes wild. Just this very year Singapore became the first country to introduce facial-verification technology as a compulsory part of its national ID system. Facial verification, not to be confused with simple facial recognition, is perhaps the most state-of-the art mass-identification technology currently available.
What the facial verification will be used for initially is to enable Singaporeans to login to government services which are only available digitally via an online gateway known as SingPass. Facial verification has been embedded into SingPass largely in the name of increased cybersecurity. But we think a lot of people will agree that even in that regard, it is a little bit extreme. For instance, you can’t say give your username and password to someone else to login for you. Rather you have to be physically present in order to access your account. Yes, facial verification can in fact detect whether the authorized individual is actually present or not. And this is all part of an idealized society-wide government scheme known as the Smart Nation Initiative.
High Cost of Living
Singapore has a very-robust economy. In fact in economic circles, it is amongst the Four Asian Tigers, which are a handful of cities in Asia known for their consistently-exceptional economic performance. But along with such success comes a damn high cost of living. Or let’s put it like this – if you’re traveling to Singapore from the West, don’t think it’s one of those countries where your home currency is worth a lot more. Well to the contrary, the Lion City has established itself as one of the nations with the highest costs of living in the entire world. That’s right, living on this tiny island costs more than being resident in the United States or United Kingdom.
The reason we labeled Singapore as being exceptionally hot is not because of its generally high temperatures. Yes, on any given day the Lion City can reach as high as 91ºF (33ºC). And whereas the night is significantly cooler they still tend to be pretty-warm, only reaching as low as 73ºF (23ºC) on average. Moreover the nation is like this year round. Its only two seasons are wet and dry, and the place is hot throughout.
However, there are some countries, like those found in the desert, which are hotter. What actually makes Singapore unique though is that it is heating up significantly faster than the rest of the world. In other words, the entire Earth is getting hotter and has been doing so for well over a century. But Singapore is getting warmer twice as fast as the rest of the world. In fact it is predicted that their average temperatures may rise by a whopping 4 to 8ºF by the year 2100, if corrective measures aren’t taken.
Singapore has strict laws, some of which may seem borderline humorous to people living on the outside. For instance, the Lion City is quite serious about not allowing anyone to bring cigarettes into the country, and “contraband cigarettes” are actually a thing. Those that are legal to buy must have a very-distinctive government stamp of approval on them. In other words, in addition to the every-increasing prevalence of no-smoking areas in the country, you can actually be arrested for smoking an unauthorized brand of cigarette. And if you think such initiatives are only tobacco-related, think again. For e-cigarettes are completely illegal in Singapore, as is anything which takes on the appearance of a device used for smoking.
And there are quite a few other rigid statutes on the books. For instance, pornography is illegal. So is spitting in public, littering in public (including the feeding of birds), eating and drinking on public transportation, carrying a certain smelly fruit (the durian) on public transportation and wearing the national flags of other countries. Moreover to some degree, even the Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves are outlawed. And of course Singapore is infamously strict when it comes to the possession of marijuana. Under such a tight system you also best believe that firearms, in fact all manners of weapons (including pepper spray), are illegal. And if you think such statutes are extreme, wait until you see the way criminals are punished.
Indeed whereas an exceptional number of practices may be illegal in the Lion City, exacting corporal punishment is not one of them. In fact this option is exercised largely by the penal system itself. Caning is a method of punishing criminals which the Singaporeans picked up from the British and have held onto well after the British themselves have deemed it too extreme. In fact in recent years, the number of individuals who have been sentenced to and received canings in the Lion City has been rising steadily. And basically the way the situation reads is that if you’re convicted of a serious crime (or one that the ultra-sensitive Singapore deems serious, such as selling fireworks), a certain amount of canes is part of the overall sentence.
The whole procedure is very medieval in nature. Ultimately the goal is to inflict the maximum amount of pain, on the buttocks in particular, without causing any permanent damage to the convict. But if said individual has been sentenced to a significant number of strikes, as in more than three, (the maximum number is 24), of course permanent damage, as well as long-term psychological distress, will occur nonetheless. Yet at the end of the day, corporal punishment is practiced – and one can say even encouraged – throughout various levels of Singaporean society.
Low Crime Rate
And individuals who advocate such strict laws and the application of corporal punishment within Singapore would point to the country’s low crime rate as proof that these measures are in fact effective. Indeed Business Insider recently ranked the Lion City as the second “safest and most crime-free” country in the world. And a couple of prominent travel websites have held it up in similar regards. So if you were to visit Singapore, you may not enjoy the freedom to say light up a spliff, wear your national flag or even spit as you would in other parts of the world. But on the positive side, relatively speaking you can at least go about your business without worrying about being mugged.
On top of that, Singapore is also known for being extremely-clean. In fact as it currently stands Booking.com, a popular website that specializes in travel, has ranked it as being the ‘cleanest city’ in the world. And generally speaking, it tends to be amongst the top five of other organizations who compile similar rankings also. This is once again in large part due to its stringent laws. For instance, it was already mentioned how you can’t spit or litter in public or how you’re not supposed to do things like eat on public transportation. In fact doing the latter can even get you called out on social media. And as far as graffiti goes, let’s not forget what happened to Michael Fay. Indeed President Bill Clinton himself literally tried to save his behind but only proved partially successful in getting the alleged graffiti artist off the hook.
Host of Donald Trump/Kim Jong-un Summit
And verily Singapore must be an exceptional city, as it has secured a place in history as being the host country of the 2018 meeting between US President Donald Trump and the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. This was the first time in which the leaders of these two countries, which have a long-standing beef, actually met. And the venue where the event was held was the Capella Hotel on the aforementioned swanky Sentosa Island.
Singapore may appear inconspicuous on the surface, just a blip on the map so to speak. But you’d be surprised what’s going on there once you really delve into the inner workings of the Lion City.