The fledgling nation had to become self-sufficient, and faced problems including mass unemployment, housing shortages and lack of land and natural resources such as petroleum. During Lee Kuan Yew’s term as prime minister from 1959 to 1990, his administration immediately curbed unemployment, raised the standard of living and implemented a large-scale public housing programme. The country’s economic infrastructure was developed, the threat of racial tension was eliminated and an independent national defence system was created. Singapore evolved from a developing nation to a global city with first world status towards the end of the 20th century.
The name Singapore is derived from the Malay words singa (lion) and pura (city), which were themselves derived from the Sanskrit words सिंह siṃha and पुर pura. In Tamil, one of the official languages of Singapore, Singam means Lion and Puram means City. Hence, Singapore is also known as the Lion City. The naming is attributed to a prince named Sang Nila Utama, who according to folklore, was caught in a terrible storm that did not cease until he had thrown his crown into the water. The waters calmed immediately after that, and he sailed to the closest island he could see. The first animal he saw after he had set foot on the island was supposedly a lion. Therefore, he decided to name the island Singapura.
The hot and humid lowlands of Singapore are brimming with diverse cultures, languages and religions. The country is host to numerous attractions that reflect the many interests of its people. Some of these attractions include Colonial Singapore, with its beautiful churches and cathedrals; Chinatown, presenting the Thian Hock Keng Temple; Arab St., boasting unique spices and goods, and Little India, saturated by fascinating shops.
Festivals also display the cultural diversity of Singapore. The Chinese New Year is celebrated with dancing and parades while Hari Raya Puasa is held during the last three days of Ramadan.
Education is among the top priorities for the people of Singapore and is the government’s second largest expense. Mandatory schooling is enforced for 6 years of primary school and 4 years of secondary school. From secondary school, students can apply for junior college and eventually move on to one Singapore’s three universities: the National University of Singapore, the Nanyang Technological University, or the Singapore Management University.
In recent years Kenya has poured considerable resources in its education system and boasts a number of public and private universities, national polytechnics, and colleges. The University of Nairobi is the country’s largest institution. Other well known schools include Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Egerton University, and Moi University.
A visit to Singapore guarantees to be a memorable experience for anyone interested in learning more about a truly diverse culture and rich history.