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Singaporeans or the Singaporean people, refers to
citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...
or people who identify with the
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin word ''superānus'', meaning "above". The roles of a sovereign v ...

sovereign
island
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
of
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
. Singapore is a
multi-ethnic Multiracial people (or mixed-race people) are people of many races. Many terms exist for people of various multiracial backgrounds, including ''multiracial'', ''biracial'', ''multiethnic'', ''polyethnic'', '' Métis'', '' Creole'', '' Muwallad' ...
,
multi-cultural The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. ...

multi-cultural
and multi-lingual country and Singaporeans of
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
,
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
,
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
and
Eurasian Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it spans from the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Japa ...
descent have made up the vast majority of the population since the 19th century. In 1819, the port of Singapore was established by
Sir Stamford Raffles Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS (5 July 1781 – 5 July 1826) was a British wikt:statesman, statesman, Lieutenant-Governor of the Dutch East Indies (1811–1816), and Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen (1818 ...
, who opened it to free trade and free immigration on the island's south coast. Many immigrants from the region settled in Singapore. By 1827, the population of the island was composed of people from various ethnic groups. Singapore is a multilingual and
multicultural The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology, political philosophy, and colloquial use. In sociology and in everyday usage, it is a synonym for "Pluralism (political theory), ethnic pluralism", with the two ...

multicultural
society home to people of groups of many different ethnic, religious and national origins, with the majority of the population made up of
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
,
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
,
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
and
Eurasian Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it spans from the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Japa ...
descent. The Singaporean identity was fostered as a way for the different ethnic groups to integrate and identify with the nation, while preserving the culture and traditions of each ethnic group, instead of assimilating the minority cultures into a single majority culture. According to a 2017 survey by the Institute of Policy Studies, 49% of Singaporeans identify with both the Singaporean identity and their ethnic identity equally, while 35% would identify as "Singaporeans" first and 14.2% would identify with their ethnic identity. As of 2019, the population of Singaporeans stands at 4,026,200 and the population of Overseas Singaporeans stands at 340,751, with 217,200 individuals retaining their citizenship.


Overview


Indigenous population

The earliest records of settlement on the island date back to the 2nd century, where the island was identified as a trading port which was part of a chain of similar trading centres that linked
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
with the Tamil Indians and the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
. The earliest settlers of the island were known as the Orang Lauts, and the island was an outpost of the
Srivijaya Empire Srivijaya (, ; , ) was a Malays (ethnic group), Malay Buddhism, Buddhist thalassocracy, thalassocratic empire based on the island of Sumatra (in modern-day Indonesia), which influenced much of Southeast Asia. Srivijaya was an important centr ...

Srivijaya Empire
until it was
invaded An invasion is a Offensive (military), military offensive in which large numbers of combatants of one geopolitics, geopolitical Legal entity, entity aggressively enter territory (country subdivision), territory owned by another such entity, gene ...
by the
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native to Malaysia * Tamil language, a Dravidian languages, ...
Emperor
Rajendra Chola I Rajendra Chola I, often described as Rajendra the Great, was a Tamil Emperor of the Chola Empire The Chola dynasty ( ta, சோழ வம்சம்) was a Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri La ...
of the
Chola Empire The Chola dynasty ( ta, சோழ வம்சம்) was a Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysia ...

Chola Empire
in the 11th century. According to the 19th century Chinese record '' Investigation of Southern Pacific'' (南洋蠡測) (Nanyang Li Ce), it described the presence of Chinese tombs in Singapore. Words and inscriptions recording the period of
Later LiangLater Liang may refer to the following states in Chinese history: * Later Liang (Sixteen Kingdoms) (後涼; 386–403), one of the Sixteen Kingdoms * Western Liang (555–587) The Liang (555–587), known in historiography as the Western Liang () ...
and
Emperor Gong of Song Emperor Gong of Song (2 November 1271 – May 1323), personal name Zhao Xian, was the 16th emperor of the Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynas ...
were found on these tombs and this may suggest that from 907 to 1274, some Chinese had settled, lived, died and were buried in Singapore. A small Malay kingdom, known as the
Kingdom of Singapura The Kingdom of Singapura (Malay language, Malay: ''Kerajaan Singapura'') was a historical Malay kingdom thought to have been established on the main island of Singapore (then known as Pulau Ujong or Temasek), from 1299 to 1398. Conventional vi ...
, was founded in 1299 by a fleeing Srivijayan prince,
Sang Nila Utama Sang Nila Utama was a Srivijaya Srivijaya (; ; ; ) was a Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practic ...
, who was crowned as the
Raja ''Raja'' (; from sa, राजन्, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguis ...

Raja
of the new state. After the fall of the kingdom in 1398, the island fell under the suzerainty of various regional empires and Malayan sultanates until its destruction by
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...
raiders in 1613. Prior to the arrival of Raffles, there were about a hundred indigenous Malays living on the island under the
Johor Sultanate The Johor Sultanate ( ms, Kesultanan Johor or ; also called the Sultanate of Johor, Johor-Riau, Johor-Riau-Lingga-Pahang, or the Johor Empire) was founded by Sultanate of Malacca, Malaccan Sultan Mahmud Shah's son, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Sh ...
. Most of the indigenous Malays came from the
Malay Archipelago The Malay Archipelago ( ceb, Kapupud-ang Malay, ms, Kepulauan Melayu, tgl, Kapuluang Malay, jv, Nusantara) is the archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection o ...

Malay Archipelago
. There were an estimated 150 people living on the island, who were predominantly Orang Laut with small population of 120 Malays who were the followers of Temenggong Abdul Rahman, and about 20–30 Chinese.


Modern Singapore

The majority of Singaporeans today are descendants of immigrants who settled on the island when Singapore was founded as a British trading port by Raffles in 1819, except for the Malays who are indigenous to the region of Malaya. At that time, Raffles decided Singapore would be a
free port Free economic zones (FEZ), free economic territories (FETs) or free zones (FZ) are a class of special economic zone A special economic zone (SEZ) is an area in which the business and trade laws are different from the rest of the country. SE ...
and as news of the free port spread across the archipelago,
Bugis The Buginese or Bugis people are an ethnic group—the most numerous of the three major linguistic and ethnic groups of South Sulawesi South Sulawesi ( id, Sulawesi Selatan) is a province A province is almost always an administrative d ...

Bugis
, Javanese,
Peranakan Chinese The Peranakans (Help:IPA/English, // or Help:IPA/English, //) are an ethnic group defined by their genealogical descent from the first waves of Hoklo people, Southern Chinese settlers to the ports in the Malay Peninsula and List of islands of I ...
,
South Asian South Asia is the southern region of Asia Asia () is a landmass variously described as part of Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention ( ...
and Hadhrami Arab traders flocked to the island, due to the Dutch trading restrictions. After six months of Singapore's founding as a free port, the population increased to 5,000, with the first census of 1824 showing that 6,505 out of the 10,683 total were Malays and Bugis settlers. Within the first few months of becoming a British settlement, a large number of Chinese migrants also started to settle on the island. In 1825, the population of the island had passed the ten thousand mark and by the census of 1826, there were more Chinese with a population of 6,088, as compared to 4,790 Malays excluding the Bugis and Javanese. By 1871, due to the influx of migrants from Malaya, China, India and other parts of Asia, Singapore's population had reached nearly 100,000, with over half of them being Chinese. Many of these early migrants were predominantly male and they would usually return to their home countries after they had earned enough money. By the early to mid twentieth century, an increasingly significant number of migrant workers chose to stay permanently, with their descendants forming the bulk of Singapore's population today. In 1957, Singapore attained self-governance and Singaporean citizenship was granted to selected residents who were born in Singapore or the
Federation of Malaya The Federation of Malaya ( ms, Persekutuan Tanah Melayu; JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley ...
, British citizens who had been resident for two years, and others who had been resident for ten years. On September 16, 1963, all Singaporeans effectively became as Malaya, Singapore,
North Borneo North Borneo (usually known as British North Borneo, also known as the State of North Borneo) was a British Protectorate, British protectorate located in the northern part of the island of Borneo. The territory of North Borneo was originally estab ...
and
Sarawak Sarawak (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
were
merged In corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are transactions in which the ownership of Company, companies, other business organizations, or their operating units are transferred or Consolidation (business), consolidated with other entit ...
to form Malaysia. However, about two years after the merger, Singapore seceded from Malaysia on August 9, 1965 and Malaysian citizenship was withdrawn from Singaporean citizens. Singaporean nationality law was incorporated into the new
Constitution of Singapore The Constitution of the Republic of Singapore is the supreme law of Singapore. A constitution#Written versus unwritten; codified versus uncodified, written constitution, the text which took effect on 9 August 1965 is derived from the Constitution ...
. The constitution repealed the 1957 Ordinance, and all persons who were citizens as of 16 September 1963 by virtue of the Ordinance continued to be Singaporean citizens. Today, Singaporean citizenship is granted by birth, by descent, or by registration. Although provided for in the Constitution, citizenship by
naturalisation Naturalization (or naturalisation) is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen of a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. It may be done automatically by a statute, i.e., without any effort on the part of the ...
is no longer granted. The government instead uses the constitutional provision for citizenship by registration to grant citizenship to resident aliens.


Racial and ethnic groups

Singaporeans with
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
ancestry make up 75.9%, Malays make up 15.4%,
Indians Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
make up 7.4%, and residents of other descent make up 1.6% of the 3,498,200 of the resident population (excluding persons holding Permanent Residency). To avoid physical racial segregation and formation of ethnic enclaves common in other multi-racial societies, the Singapore government implemented the "Ethnic Integration Policy" (EIP) in 1989 where each block of units are sold to families from ethnicities roughly comparable to the national average. Today, the Chinese-Malay-Indian-Others (CMIO) model is the dominant organising framework of race in Singapore. The country also celebrates
Racial Harmony Day Racial Harmony Day is a day in Singapore to celebrate its success as a racially harmonious nation. It is observed on the 21st of July every year, with most activities organised by schools and grassroots organisations, including religious groups. Hi ...
to commemorate the 1964 race riots in Singapore and to remember the consequences of racial disharmony the country experienced during the 1964 racial riots, which were a series of riots that resulted in a total of 36 deaths and 560 others suffered severe injuries. Singaporeans of other ethnicities notably the
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...
,
Armenians Armenians ( hy, հայեր, ''Romanization of Armenian, hayer'' ) are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia. Armenians constitute the main population of Armenia and the ''de facto'' independent Republic of Artsakh, A ...
,
Chitty The Chitty, also known as the Chetty or Chetti Melaka, are a distinctive group of Tamil people The Tamil people, also known as Tamilar ( ta, தமிழர், Tamiḻar, translit-std=ISO, in the singular or ta, தமிழர்கள ...
, Eurasians,
Malaysians Malaysians are nationals and citizens who are identified with the country of Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, t ...
and
Sri Lankans This article is about the demographic Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to ...
are classified into broader ethnic groups under the CMIO model. The Javanese are classified under the Malay ethnic group and the
Peranakan The Peranakans (), sometimes referred to as the Straits Chinese or Straits–born Chinese, are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or pe ...
s are classified under the Chinese ethnic group are two examples of the classification of race and ethnicity in Singapore. Other foreign communities in the country or Singaporeans of other ethnic origins includes the
Australians Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determine ...
,
Filipinos Filipinos ( fil, Mga Pilipino) are the people who are citizens of or native to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Re ...
,
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...
,
Koreans Koreans ( South Korean: , , North Korean: , , ; see names of Korea There are various names of Korea in use today, all derived from ancient kingdoms and dynasties. The modern English name "Korea Korea (officially the "Korean Peninsula") ...
,
Nepalis Nepalis (English language, English: Nepalese ; ne, नेपाली), or Nepali people ( ne, नेपाली), also known as ''Nepa-mi'' (Newar language, Nepal Bhasa : 𑐣𑐾𑐥𑐵𑑅𑐩𑐶, नेपाःमि), are the citizen ...
,
Pakistanis Pakistanis ( ur, , translit=Pākistānī Qaum, ) are the nationals and citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in ...
, and
Italians Italians ( it, italiani ) are a Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong att ...
.


Culture

Singaporean culture is a mix of
Asian Asian may refer to: * Items from or related to the continent of Asia: ** Asian people, people in or descending from Asia ** Asian culture, the culture of the people from Asia ** Asian cuisine, food based on the style of food of the people from Asi ...
and
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
an cultures, with influences from the
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...

Malay
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
n,
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...

Chinese
, and
Eurasian Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it spans from the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Japa ...
cultures. This is reflected in the architectural styles of buildings in several distinct ethnic neighbourhoods, such as
Little India Little India or India Town (''Bharat Nagar'' or ''Hindustani Shehar'') is an ethnic enclave containing a large population of Indian people or other South Asian people, South Asians within a particular area. It may also refer to an area with a high ...

Little India
,
Chinatown A Chinatown () is an ethnic enclave File:India Square JC jeh.JPG, India Square in Jersey City, New Jersey#Demographics, Jersey City, New Jersey, one of 24 Indian American, Indian ethnic enclaves in the New York City Metropolitan Area. In ...

Chinatown
and
Kampong Glam Kampong Glam ( Malay: Kampung Gelam; Jawi: کامڤوڠ ڬلم ; ; Tamil: கம்போங் கிளாம்) is a neighbourhood and ethnic enclave in Singapore. It is located north of the Singapore River, in the planning area of R ...
and
Singlish Singlish (a of ' and ') is an spoken in . Singlish arose out of a situation of prolonged between speakers of many different languages in Singapore, including , , , and . Singlish originated with the arrival of the British and the establ ...
, which is a local
creole language A creole language, or simply creole, is a stable natural language In neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the ner ...
which consists of words originating from
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
,
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
,
Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureau ...
, Teochew,
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, Brit ...
and
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native to Malaysia * Tamil language, a Dravidian languages, ...

Tamil
, used by Singaporeans in a less formal setting. Due to Singapore's diverse ethnic makeup, the Singapore Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, descent and place of birth. The state thus promotes cultural policies based on multiculturalism and multiracialism, instead of cultural assimilation. About 70% of Singaporeans also identify with other ethnic cultures in Singapore, notably the Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures. Major festivals including
Chinese New Year Chinese New Year ( ), Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year New Year is the time Time is the continued of and that occurs in an apparently succession from the , t ...

Chinese New Year
, Hari Raya Puasa,
Deepavali Diwali (; Deepavali (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic language ...

Deepavali
, Vesak Day,
Christmas Christmas is an annual festival commemorating Nativity of Jesus, the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people Observance of Christmas by country, around the world ...

Christmas
,
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy ...
and
New Year's Day New Year's Day is a festival observed in most of the world on 1 January, the first day of the year in the modern Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by as a modi ...

New Year's Day
which are celebrated by the different major racial and religious groups are designated as public holidays. Former Prime Ministers of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, have stated that Singapore does not fit the traditional description of a nation, calling it a society-in-transition, pointing out the fact that Singaporeans do not all speak the same language, share the same religion, or have the same customs. Each Singaporean's behaviours and attitudes are influenced by, among other things, his or her home
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
and his religion. Singaporeans who speak English as their native language tend to lean toward
Western culture Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired ...
and
Christian culture Christian culture generally includes all the cultural practiceCultural practice is the manifestation of a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societ ...
, while those who speak Chinese as their native language tend to lean toward
Chinese culture Chinese culture () is one of the world's oldest cultures, originating thousands of years ago. The culture prevails across a large geographical region in East Asia and is extremely diverse and varying, with customs and traditions varying grea ...
and
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC ...
. Malay-speaking Singaporeans tend to lean toward
Malay culture Malays ( ms, Orang Melayu, JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley coast of Western Australia, wh ...
, which itself is closely linked to
Islamic culture Islamic culture and Muslim culture refer to cultural practices which are common to historically Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", ...
.


Cuisine

Singaporean cuisine Singaporean cuisine A cuisine is a style of cooking characterized by distinctive ingredients, List of cooking techniques, techniques and dish (food), dishes, and usually associated with a specific culture or geographic region. Regional foo ...
has been largely influenced by different cultures because of its position as a international shipping port since its founding as a British port in 1819. The main influences on Singaporean cuisine came from Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisines, similar to the ethnic makeup of Singaporeans. It is believed that certain dishes that are part of Singaporean cuisine today predates the arrival of Raffles in 1819, some of these dishes include
laksa Laksa is a spicy noodle dish popular in Southeast Asia. Laksa consists of various types of noodles, most commonly thick rice noodles, with toppings such as chicken, prawn or fish. Most variations of laksa are prepared with a rich and spicy coconu ...

laksa
,
biryani Biryani () is a mixed rice dish originating among the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. It is made with Indian spices Indian spices include a variety of spices grown across the Indian subcontinent (a sub-region of South Asia). With ...

biryani
and . However, it is unknown when these dishes arrived in Singapore, as historical records on them are largely scattered and inaccurate. A large part of Singaporean cuisine centers around the in the country. Hawker stalls first began around mid 1800s and were largely made up of street food stalls selling a huge variety of foods and in 2020, the hawker culture in Singapore was listed by
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
as an
Intangible Cultural Heritage An intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is a practice, representation, expression, knowledge, or skill considered by UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies po ...
. Due to the affordability and wide variety that a hawker centre provides, Singaporeans prefer to dine out rather than cook after work. Some well-known Singaporean dishes includes
kaya toast Kaya toast is a breakfast dish originating from Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of th ...
,
chilli crab Chilli Crab (also known as là jiāo páng xiè, 辣椒螃蟹) is a Southeast Asian dish originating from . are commonly used and are in a semi-thick, sweet and savoury -and--based sauce. It is listed at number 35 on the ''World's 50 most deli ...
,
fish head curry Fish head curry ( Malay and Indonesian: ''kari kepala ikan'') is a dish in Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines with mixed Indian and Chinese origins. The head A head is the part of an organism In biology, an organism (f ...

fish head curry
, laksa and
roti prata #REDIRECT Roti canai Roti canai (pronunciation: /tʃanaɪ/), or roti chenai, also known as roti cane (/tʃane/) and roti prata, is an Indian-influenced flatbread dish found in several countries in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southe ...

roti prata
. The
Hainanese chicken rice Hainanese chicken rice is a dish of poached chicken and seasoned rice, served with chilli sauce and usually with cucumber garnishes. It was created by immigrants from Hainan Hainan () is the smallest and southernmost provinces of China ...

Hainanese chicken rice
is also widely considered to be one of Singapore's national dish.


Language

Singapore's historical roots as a trading settlement gave rise to an influx of foreign traders, and their languages were slowly embedded in Singapore's modern day linguistic repertoire. With the influx of traders into Singapore, Bazaar Malay (''Melayu Pasar''), a creole of
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
and Chinese, emerged as the
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
of the island, which was the language of trade in the
Malay Archipelago The Malay Archipelago ( ceb, Kapupud-ang Malay, ms, Kepulauan Melayu, tgl, Kapuluang Malay, jv, Nusantara) is the archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection o ...

Malay Archipelago
. However, under the British colonial government, English gained prestige as the language of administration, law and business in Singapore, and eventually displaced Bazar Malay as the bridging language among the population. As government administration increased, infrastructure and commerce developed, and access to education further catalysed the spread of English among Singaporeans. Today, Singapore has four official languages,
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
,
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
,
Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration o ...
, and
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native to Malaysia * Tamil language, a Dravidian languages, ...

Tamil
.
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
is the ceremonial
national language A national language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed o ...
of the country and is the home language to 13% of the population.Tan, P.K.W. (2014). Singapore's balancing act, from the perspective of the linguistic landscape. ''Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, 29''(2), 438-436. Although most of the younger generation of non-Malay people are non-proficient in the Malay language, Malay is used in the national anthem of Singapore and also in citations for Singapore orders and decorations and military foot drill commands. Almost all Singaporeans are
bilingual Multilingualism is the use of more than one language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of t ...

bilingual
since Singapore's bilingual language education policy, with
Singapore English Singapore English (SgE, SE, en-SG) is the set of varieties of one of the British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variet ...
as the ''de facto''
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
spoken by Singaporeans today. It is officially the main language of instruction in all school subjects except for Mother Tongue lessons and is also the common language of administration, law and business. In 2009, more than 20 languages were identified as being spoken in Singapore, reflecting a rich
linguistic diversity A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and ...

linguistic diversity
in the city.


Literature

Singaporean literature consists of literary works that is written in either of the 4 official languages. Although these works may be considered as literature works to their specific languages, they are also viewed as a distinct body of literature portraying various aspects of Singapore society and forms a significant part of the culture of Singapore. Singaporean literature in English was first started by the Peranakan community in colonial Singapore during the 1830s. Singaporean English literature first gained notability in 1937, with a poetry known as ''F.M.S.R. A Poem'', written by Teo Poh Leng and was followed by
Wang Gungwu Wang Gungwu, (; born 9 October 1930) is an Indonesian-born Singaporean historian, sinologist, and writer. He is a historian of China and Southeast Asia. He has studied and written about the Chinese diaspora Overseas Chinese () are people of ...

Wang Gungwu
's work, Pulse, in the 1950. By 1965 when Singapore became an independent nation, authors such as Edwin Thumboo, , Robert Yeo,
Goh Poh Seng Goh Poh Seng (; July 1936 – 10 January 2010), Singaporean dramatist, novelist, doctor and poet, was born in Kuala Lumpur, British Malaya in 1936. He was educated at Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur, received his medical degree from University ...
, Lee Tzu Pheng, Chandran Nair and Kirpal Singh were mostly focusing on poetry, which makes up most published works of Singapore writing in English. Singaporean literature in Malay can be traced back to 1841. One of the earlier known works of Singaporean literature in Malay was written by Abdullah Bin Abdul Kadir, a Malay scribe, with his work ''Cherita Kapal Asap''. Some of the other earlier known Malay writers include Tuan Simi and Masuri S. N. Singaporean Malay literary works were similar to its Malaysian counterpart before the early 1970s. Many early pioneers of Singaporean literature in Malay relocated to Malaysia before Singapore became independent as they wanted to be part of the larger Malay community in Malaysia due to the common language in writing. By the 1970s, due to the difference in governance between Singapore and Malaysia, literary works in Malay between the 2 countries became more distinguishable, with Singapore literature in Malay revolving around the themes of freedom, authenticity, and criticality.


Religion

Singapore is the world's most religiously diverse nation, with Singaporeans following various religious beliefs and practices due to the country's diverse ethnic and cultural mix. The Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore (IRO) recognises 10 major religions being practiced in the city state.
Dharmic religions Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social ...
have the highest number of adherents in Singapore, with 33% of the population practising
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...
and 5% of the population practising
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...
. Many Singaporeans are also adherents of
Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family ...

Abrahamic religions
, with 18.7% of the population identifying as
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...
, and 14% identifying as
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...
. Other prominent faiths practised by Singaporeans include
Taoism Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical and spiritual tradition of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of c ...
(10%),
Chinese folk religion Chinese folk religion, also known as Chinese popular religion, is a general term covering a range of traditional religious practices of Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the ...
, and other
Dharmic religions Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social ...
like
Sikhism Sikhism () or Sikhi ( pa, ਸਿੱਖੀ ', , from pa, ਸਿੱਖ, lit=disciple', 'seeker', or 'learner, translit=Sikh, label=none)''Sikhism'' (indigenously known as ''Sikhī'') originated from the word ''Sikh'', which comes from the Sanskr ...
and
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion. It is one of the oldest Indian religions. The three main pillars of Jainism are ''Ahimsa in Jainism, ahiṃsā'' (non-violence), ''anekāntavāda'' (non-absolut ...

Jainism
. A small percentage of Singapore's population practices
Zoroastrianism Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is an Iranian religions, Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest continuously-practiced organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian peoples, Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster (also known as ''Za ...
and
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
. 18.5% not identifying with any
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
and 0.9% of Singaporeans identify as
atheist Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psy ...

atheist
. In addition, practice of hybrid religions is also common such as the incorporation of Taoism and Hindu traditions into Buddhism and vice versa.


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * {{Authority control Ethnic groups in Singapore