When you think Singapore, what comes to mind?
The Infinity Pool that’s graced many an Instagram post? The impossibly opulent, glittering mansions from Crazy Rich Asians? Perhaps what comes foremost to mind is simply the image of a modern but somewhat sterile city defined by cleanliness and efficiency.
It’s true that Singapore is a modern city. We are fastidious about keeping the city clean, and the skyline is pretty nice too.
Living here, residents enjoy world-class healthcare, education, housing and transport options. Families in Singapore are assured that their children receive top-notch education, and the efficient and affordable public transport system means a car isn’t necessary to get around. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who would say they feel unsafe walking about alone at night, with Singapore ranked the 2nd safest city in the world (EIU Safe Cities Index, 2019).
But there is much more to Singapore than meets the eye.
Diversity at our core
Home to many cultures, ethnicities and religions, our strength lies in harnessing our diversity to build an inclusive society. Since our beginnings as a 19th century colony, immigrants from China, India and all over the Malay Archipelago have come to settle here in search of a better life, growing together to form the multi-cultural society we live in today.
This influence comes through in everyday life. Each ethnicity has its own mother tongue that most Singaporeans still speak today, but we’ve incorporated little idiosyncrasies from different languages to create Singlish, where smatterings of phrases from different languages are incorporated into English to become a language with unique grammar and syntax. This ‘common tongue’ brings us closer and quickly becomes familiar to nationalities brought into our fold.
It also comes through in our cuisine. At any hawker center, you’ll find a wide range of traditional dishes coming from the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan and Eurasian communities, as well as new additions such as Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, all affordably price and the most common option for Singaporeans having a quick lunch.
Yet if it’s a flat white you crave after lunch, you’ll find one often not too far away, with latte art foamed to perfection. Or if it’s more high-brow cuisine you’re after, Singapore is also the 8th most Michelin-starred city in the world, home to 34 starred restaurants – including Candlenut, the world’s only Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant.
Nature at your doorstep
Living in a city doesn’t mean you have to give up nature.
Singapore is a garden city with over 47% of the land area covered in green spaces and counting. By 2030, no matter where you live, you’ll be able to walk to a park in under 10 minutes. To protect and preserve the city’s green spaces, 50,000 trees are planted annually in Singapore, and our 156-year old Botanic Gardens has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s a safe and clean place to live
Globally, Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in the world (The Economist Safe Cities Index 2019) and you’ll never need to worry if it’s safe for you or your children to walk back home after a late night out.
More recently, Singapore was ranked the safest country in Asia to live in (and 4th in the world) amid the COVID-19 pandemic, based on measures of a country’s quarantine efficiency, monitoring and detection as well as emergency preparedness (COVID-19 Regional Safety Assessment, Deep Knowledge Group, 2020).
It’s a great place to raise your kids
“Today Singapore’s education system is considered the best in the world. The country consistently ranks at the top of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a triennial test of 15-year-olds in dozens of countries, in the main three categories of maths, reading and science…Singapore does similarly well in exams of younger children, and the graduates of its best schools can be found scattered around the world’s finest universities.”The Economist (2018)
Singapore is home to top universities in the region, no shortage of international schools, and is well-known for providing world-class education.
Extra curriculars are encouraged at a young age to groom young talent, participation in classes are encouraged to build critical thinking, and it is common for parents to expose their children to enrichment and development activities from a young age. Bilingualism is also built into the education system, with every child expected to be fluent in English and their mother tongue.
An economic powerhouse in Asia
Singapore’s achievements in building a strong pro-business ecosystem hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“In a generation, Singapore became an international financial center, the leading intellectual metropolis of Southeast Asia, the location of the region’s major hospitals and a favored site for conferences on international affairs. It did so by adhering to an extraordinary pragmatism: by opening careers to the best talents and encouraging them to adopt the best practices from all over the world.”Henry A. Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State (2015)
It’s no accident that we believe so strongly in building a global network. Free trade forms the bedrock of our economy and we believe that opening our doors to global talent will only enrich our society and build a stronger future, together. This has always been our core belief and one that we continue to uphold through policy and advocacy.
Singapore is consistently ranked:
- The most competitive economy in the world (IMD World Competitiveness Ranking)
- 1st in the world in political and operational stability (Cornell University, INSEAD and World Intellectual Property Organization, Global Innovation Index 2019)
- 4th largest recipient of foreign direct investment globally (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Report 2019)
- 1st in the world – best in attracting talent for 7 years in a row (INSEAD, The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2020)
- >150 venture capital funds, incubators and accelerators based here (Ministry of Finance, Singapore Budget 2019, Budget Speech)
- Network of 25 free trade agreements (FTAs) globally and growing
We are also known as one of the best places to start a business, with one of the lowest corporate and personal taxes you’ll find anywhere and a system so efficient you can register your business in 15 minutes.
City of the future: transforming into a Smart Nation
You may have heard about the robot dogs enforcing social distancing in our parks, or how we’ve installed streetlamps equipped with sensors to monitor environmental changes such as temperature and rainfall.
Technology has changed how we live; so, our city is transforming too. Since the Smart Nation Initiative was launched in 2017, we have been studying how we may integrate technology into public and private spaces to improve residents’ lives.
“For Singapore, our approach to building a Smart Nation has always been extremely citizen and business-focused to help make Singapore a better place to work, live, and play.”Ng Chee Khern, Permanent Secretary (Smart Nation & Digital Government, 2019)
One of many projects underway is led by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech). GovTech plays a key role in our transformation and is in the midst of creating a Smart Nation Sensor Platform (SNSP) with services and infrastructure, such as video and data analytics capabilities and a data sharing gateway.
We have also continued to explore autonomous driverless solutions to enhance the public transport infrastructure further, in addition to many other projects that have earned us recognition as the world’s smartest city (IMD Smart Cities Index, 2019)
Stronger together: a global network
At risk of extending an overused cliché, we are living in a new normal. Global challenges have encroached on our daily lives, affecting our families, livelihoods, and the way we live.
It has never been more important to be an active member of a global community; we humbly invite you to join ours here, where we will share news on upcoming events, networking opportunities and selective industry news. We hope you’ll keep in touch, and we look forward to hearing about your Singapore experience one day!