Singapore: Clean eco friendly commercial centre in Asia
By Srimal Fernando
Singapore is the fastest growing wealth center in the world with a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship and is one of Asia's major financial hubs. Over the past several decades, the export-driven economy of the island-state of Singapore is doing wonderfully. Unlike any other country in the world, Singapore, with 5.1 million people is an outstanding example of 63 islands and is one of the most vibrant and dynamic countries in East Asia. This great nation lives truly up to the title “Singapura” meaning "lion city". Centuries of leverage has shown that the strategic geographic position of Singapore was an important hub for ships sailing between far East, Middle East and the Pacific. Through urban planning, model Singapore has transformed from a city crowded with buildings to a clean eco friendly City in a Garden.
To understand the country it is important to review the history of this fascinating country. The British and Japanese occupation of Singapore saw a new era of political, cultural and religious landscape of Singapore until the country gained Independence on 9th August 1965 from Malaysia. “Majulah Singapura” (Onward Singapore) is the inspirational noteworthy national anthem of the beloved countrymen. Each of the colonial rulers who ruled Singapore left their imprint on the current inhabitants of the country. One of the towering figures of the country was the Singaporean independence campaigner Lee Kuan Yew. Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew is known as the father of the nation. The best loved and famous political figure of the country made a great contribution as a representative of the people of Singapore.
The country’s economy remains strong as a result of public- private partnership that played a significant role in the economic stability of the country. Singapore has been the watershed in distribution of welfare and socio –economic development to the people of the country. People of Singapore play a leading role in the engine of prosperity of their country and has been fueled by pragmatism, hard work and a flood of individual enterprises. The Singapore Government implemented economic reforms, beginning in the 60s and took an active role in guiding the nation’s economic development. On the development side, the economic policy of the country was steered towards increasing the production.
Singapore is a strong tourist destination with large number of visitors to the country, climbing to 14.5 million in 2012. In 2010, tourism made a significant gain, experiencing a boom with about 11.6 million high-end foreign visitors coming to discover this beautiful country. The four- terminal Changi Airport is the most important aviation hub in the world. This airport is a major stopover point for over 100 international airlines with a total annual handling capacity of more than 70 million passengers. The Changi Airport passenger traffic reached an historic 46.5 million passengers in 2011. The airport serves as a base for Singapore Airlines, the flag carrier of the country and to several other airlines. The country's port is the world’s busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage. In 2011 the amount of cargo handled at the award winning PSA Singapore terminal rose to 29.37 millions TEUs. The well developed manufacturing sector is the cornerstone of economic development providing a platform for job creation and economic growth.
The 150 kilometer convenient Singapore Metro (SMRT) is a modern public transportation system network consisting of many lines with more than 100 stations and provides various fast links between the Eastern and Western parts of Singapore (Estimates 2012).
The Merlion, a mythical creature with the head of a lion and body of a fish used as a mascot is one of the highest-esteemed attractions in the country.
The innovative multi storey Sky Park Marina Bay Sands features three 55-story hotel towers are the greatest engineering achievements that unhesitatingly leap into the future. There is no end to the breathtaking sites visitors can see in Singapore. The Sentosa Island resorts, Universal Studio, Underwater World, Oceanarium, and the seven storied Pagoda Twins located at Chinese garden, Singapore Flyer, Little India and China Town attract thousands of visitors daily.
The Singapore Botanical Gardens and Lake- side area also offers the tourist river-side beauty. Singapore is gifted with world famous educational institutions. The most well-known of all are the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University. These universities played a pioneering role in the development of the modern education system in the city. The last four decades is already showing the results of its trade reforms and other liberalization measures taken. Today the country has transformed into a clean eco- friendly commercial centre in Asia.