A. There are only three city-states in the world. One of them is Singapore, a small country in South East Asia. It can be called a modern equivalent to the Italian medieval Venice. Both cities are built on islands and became wealthy by trade. Like medieval Venice, Singapore is an independent city-state and is governed by a small group of powerful politicians and businessmen.
B. Modern Singapore is full of numerous statues of the king of animals. According to legend, the founder of the city saw a lion on the island and decided that it was a sign of good luck. The Malay word for the country, Singapura, means Lion City. However, zoologists doubt that he could see a lion because lions have never lived on the island. More likely, he saw a tiger or another kind of big cat native to the area.
C. From an extremely humid but sunny morning to a gloomy and rainy afternoon, and then to a cloudy, starless night sky; Singapore is predictable in its climate. A week of terrible heat follows a week of non-stop rainfall. In general, tourists think February is the best month to visit the country. The citizens of Singapore disagree. They think that any time is good – you just have to accept the hot and rainy weather.
D. Singapore has three main communities. The largest group is the Chinese, then come the Malays and the smallest group is the Indians. English is the language of government, television and universities. Along with English, the official languages of the country are Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. The national anthem Majulah Singapura is actually sung in Malay.
E. The island is densely populated and the government has to think about the environment. Unlike in most countries, citizens of Singapore cannot just buy a car. To own a car, a citizen must enter his or her name in a lottery that is drawn twice a month. If the citizen wins the lottery, he or she is granted a Certificate which allows them to own a car for 10 years. Then it is necessary to pay a registration fee, which is 140% of the value of the car.
F. When you are in Singapore, you can’t buy chewing gum anywhere. It is illegal to import or sell gum in the country. The sale of gum was prohibited in 1992 after gum was used to shut down the SMRT, the country’s public transportation system. The gum was stuck on the sensor doors and the system was paralyzed. The punishment for bringing gum into the country is a year in prison and a big fine.