GLOBETROTTER — Singapore
Singapore became an independent country in 1965 after its separation from the Malaysian Federation. Singapore was founded as a British trading spot in 1819 and now the country has became one of the most prosperous countries with strong international trading links. It is an Asian city with Chinese, Malay and Indian traditions. In the streets of Chinatown, fortunetellers, calligraphers and temple worshippers are a part of everyday life. In Little India, the best sari material, freshly ground spices or a picture of your favourite Hindu god are available and the cry of the imam can be heard from the Sultan Mosque. The major event held in the country is New Year on January 1 celebrated with the roar of Chinese dragon, dancing with religious passion and feasting. Chinese New Year in January and February celebrated with dragon dances and parades. Vesak Day in May celebrates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death in which the caged birds are released to symbolise the liberation of captive souls. The Dragon Boat Festival held in May or June commemorates the death of a Chinese patriot who drowned himself as a protest against government corruption. It is celebrated with boat races across Marina Bay.
Hari Raya Puasa is another festival, which is celebrated at the end of Ramadan in November. In the festival of Thaipusam — one of the most dramatic Hindu festivals — devotees honour Lord Subramaniam. The Chinese Festival of the Hungry Ghosts in September is celebrated when the souls of the dead are released for feasting and entertainment on earth. Chinese operas are performed for them and food is offered, the ghosts eat the spirit of the food but thoughtfully leave the substance for the mortal celebrants.
The major attractions of the country are Arab St — the Muslim centre of Singapore where the grand Sultan Mosque, the biggest and liveliest mosque and the Malabar Muslim Jama-ath Mosque — the most beautiful mosque is located. Chinatown provides glimpses of the old ways with its numerous temples, decorated terraces and its frantic conglomeration of merchants, shops and activity. Colonial Singapore where Empress Place Building, an imposing Victorian structure built in 1865 that houses a museum, art and antique galleries. Little India is the most colourful area of wall-to-wall shops, spicy aromas and Hindi film music. Sentosa Island is a city, which has museums, aquariums, beaches, sporting facilities, walks, rides and food centres.
The cuisine of Singapore includes Chinese, Indian, Malay, Indonesian and Western foods. So, Singapore is also the food capital of Asia. Nonya cooking is a local variation on Chinese and Malay food, mixing Chinese ingredients with local spices such as lemongrass and coconut cream. The popular spicy, coconut-based soup laksa, is a classic Nonya dish. Singapore is a great place to discover tropical fruits. Tropical fruits include rambutan, mangosteen, durian, jackfruit, pomelo etc.