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Happy Birthday Singapore! and Farewell!

 

Happy Birthday Singapore!

and

Farewell!

 

 

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Singapore's Golden Jubilee

 

 

50 a

 

 

Happy National Day!

 

 

Sing 50 v3


 

Today, August 9th, marks Singapore’s 50th Birthday as a nation, and Singaporeans are celebrating BIG!!  The president declared August 7 a public holiday making it a four-day weekend. All over the city there are red and white decorations, carnivals, concerts, fireworks, special T-shirts, even a sardine can with a wish! 

I wanted to share a few of the photos I captured over the last few days of the celebrations....

 

 

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We went to the practice sessions for the air show. 

The highlight was the formation of 20 planes in the shape of a "50".

 

 

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A little history on Singapore...

 

On 9 August 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia to become an independent and sovereign state.

 

 

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In less than 50 years, this small country went from third-world to first, and has become one of the richest nations in the world.  Amazingly, 1 in 6 Singaporeans are millionaires and 90 percent own their own home.

 

 

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Much of Singapore’s success can be attributed its first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who just passed away in March of this year.   So sad he did not live to see the 50th celebration.

 

  Sing 50 v1

 

 

Mr Lee made a promise to Singaporeans, he said: "We are going to be a multi-racial nation in Singapore. We will set an example. This is not a Malay nation; this is not a Chinese nation; this is not an Indian nation. Everyone will have his place, equal: language, culture, religion."  Singapore truly is a multi-racial country.

 

 

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I posted these facts about Singapore on the blog when we first moved here and thought it would be fun to share again – with a few comments (in red) after living here for almost four years.

 

 

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1)  Singapore is a city and a country.  It is made up of one main island and 63 small islands (most are uninhabited).

 

 

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2)  The country is 240 sq miles.  Slightly smaller than New York City, over five million people live here.  Apart from Monaco, it is the most densely populated country in the world.

 

 

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3)  It is a very prosperous country with only 2% unemployment. 

 

 

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4)  It is 85 miles north of the Equator - this means it is hot hot hot. 

I confirm.... it is HOT.  It took me over two years to adjust, but I did!

 

 

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5)  It has a tropical rain forest climate with no distinct season.  It rains almost everyday.  The temperatures ranges from 83 to 90 degrees with the average humidity around 84% - which means hot hot hot. 

This is true, it does rain almost every day around 3:00.

 

 

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6)  English is one of the four official languages along with Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.  English is also considered the first language. 

It is very easy to live in Singapore as most people do speak English.  The sign below is in Bahasa.  Majulah Singapura means "Onward Singapore" which was later adopted as their national anthem. 

 

 

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The "little" red dot on the back of the bus was one of the themes for the 50th celebration.  The logo celebrates the Singaporean spirit – signifying that their dreams are not limited by the physical size of the "little" island nation.

 

  Red dot

 

 

7)  There is a 12-hour time difference between Singapore and the US.  They do not practice daylight savings so it is 13 hours in the winter.

 

 

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8)  They drive on the right hand side (opposite of the US!).  All cars must be  less than 10 years old and are removed or destroyed when they reach 10 years. 

But even more interesting  -  you need to buy a coupon to drive a car in Singapore - they auction for around $70,000.  This does NOT include the price of the car or insurance.  The coupon also has a 10-year expiration.

 

 

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Last night we went to see the Super-Tree 50th celebration light show at Gardens By The Bay.  It was so pretty.

 

 

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9)  It is one of the cleanest cities in the world and you can be arrested for spitting, littering, or chewing gum!

 

 

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10)  The crime rate is super low - making it one of the safest cities in the world. 

True.  I see woman leave their purses on the hawker stand tables to secure the table while they go to buy their food.  And the sign below is real... I am not sure if it was a child cheating on a test, a man cheating in checkers, or a man cheating on his wife... but cheating is a crime!

 

Sing

 

 

11)  Singapore is a foodie's dream.  It has been referred to as the food capital of the world with a mix of so many cultures and cuisines {yeah}. 

This is so true and part of what we have come to LOVE about Singapore.  We have a list a mile long of favorite foods we have come to love here but on the top are:

Roti prata - an Indian inspired round pancake, often eaten with mutton or fish curry. 

 

 

Food

 

 

and XLBs (xou long bao) soup dumplings - little pillow of heaven.  You bite into it and the soup bursts into your mouth.

 

 

Food 2

 

 

12)  It has one of the best health care systems in the world and the best water. 

The doctors are excellent here.  You can get an appointment fast with top-rated doctors and the doctors spend quality time with you.  They seem to really want to get to know you and help you.  We will miss this.

 

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13)  It is one of the most expensive cities in the world in which to live.  Our basic 3-bedroom apartment sells for $2.5million USD.  Our friend's embassy-provided apartment sells for $6million USD.  

 

From a 2015 report - Singapore is the world's most expensive city, according to an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit.  It comes in ahead of Paris, Oslo, Zurich and London.

 

 

 

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14)  They say Christmas is spectacular - guess I will be able to confirm this!

Confirmed!  The decorations are more spectacular than in the US.  A bit unusual given most Singaporeans do not celebrate Christmas!  The photo below was from last night at Garden's By The Bay.

 

 

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15)  Did I mention Singapore is hot hot hot   :  )  YES YES YES. 

But there is something to be said about having a wardrobe you can wear 365 days a year and NEVER having to stop and think... do I need to carry a coat today?!  

 

 

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Farewell Singapore....

When we board that plane on Thursday to head back to the United States I will cry.  Thank you Singapore!  We have come to love this wonderful island that we have called home for the last four years.  We have a made so many wonderful friends - Singaporeans, expats from other countries, and some folks from our own backyard at the US embassy!  We will miss all of you and we hope that our paths will one day cross again. 

Until we meet again.....