Republic of Singapore
CAPITAL : Singapore
FLAG : The flag consists of a red stripe at the top and a white stripe on the bottom. On the red stripe, at the hoist, are a white crescent opening to the fly and five white stars.
ANTHEM : Long Live Singapore.
MONETARY UNIT : The Singapore dollar ( S $) of 100 cents is a freely convertible currency. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 dollar and notes of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 10,000 dollars. S $1 = US $0.5617 (or US $1 = S $1.78) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is in force, but some local measures are used.
HOLIDAYS : Major Western, Chinese, Malay, and Muslim holidays are celebrated, some of which fall on annually variable dates because of the calendars used. Major holidays include New Year's Day, 1 January; Chinese New Year; Good Friday; Vesak Day (Buddhist festival); Labor Day, 1 May; Hari Raya Puasa (Muslim festival); National Day, 9 August; Hari Raya Haji (Malay Muslim festival); Dewali; Christmas, 25 December.
TIME : 8 PM = noon GMT.
Singapore Island is mostly low-lying, green, undulating country with a small range of hills at the center. The highest point of the island is Bukit Timah (166 m/545 ft). There are sections of rainforest in the center and large mangrove swamps along the coast, which has many inlets, particularly in the north and west. Singapore's harbor is wide, deep, and well protected.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Singapore Island is mostly denuded, the dense tropical forest that originally covered it being mostly cleared. There is some rain forest in the central area of the island, however, as well as extensive mangrove swamps along the coast. Urban development has limited animal life.
The people of Singapore are predominantly of Chinese origin. In a 2002 report, about 77% were ethnic Chinese (most of them, however, born in Singapore or in neighboring Malaysia). Some 14% were Malays; 8% were Indians (including Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Sri Lankans); and 1.4% were of other varied ethnic origins.
There are four official languages: Chinese (Mandarin dialect), Malay, English, and Tamil. English is the principal medium of government and is widely used in commerce. By 1987, under a government mandate, English was made the primary language of the school system. Malay is the national language.
Singapore has no territories or colonies.
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