Area:Singapore consists of one main island and 60 small islands about 137 km north of the Equator (latitude 1° 09’N and longitude 103° 38’E). It has a total land area of 647.5 square kilometers, of which almost half has been set aside as forest reserves, marsh and other non-built-up areas. Three reservoirs occupy the centre of the island. Almost half of the land (49.67 per cent) is for residential, commercial and industrial use. A mere 1.7 per cent, about 10.8 sq km, is for agriculture.
Climate:Depending on whom you ask, Singapore either has four seasons or no seasons. The four seasons are: hot, hotter, wet and wetter.
And no seasons because Singapore has a warm tropical climate with sunshine all year round–making it a good place to develop a perpetual tan. With the sea to further moderate fluctuations in temperature, Singapore’s weather is almost boringly consistent–between 32°C (90°F) for a high and 24°C (75°F) for a low. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Singapore was 20.5°C (69°F).
Currency:The local currency is the Singapore dollar, SGD or S$ for short. One dollar is divided into 100 cents. All notes and coins are issued by the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Singapore (BCCS). The Singapore dollar and the Brunei dollar are accepted at par in each country under an Interchangeability Agreement, so don’t be surprised if you do get a note with a picture of the Sultan of Brunei.
Languages: Because of its multiracial makeup, Singapore recognizes four official languages: English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. English is the language of administration. Malay is the language in which the National Anthem in sung. In schools, children usually take English as the first language and one of the other 3 as a second language. For all intents and purposes, most conversations and business in Singapore are conducted in either English or Mandarin.
Singaporeans also speak a peculiar brand of English called “Singlish”. This local concoction mixes English with common phrases in the Chinese dialects (mostly Hokkien) and some Malay. The use of Singlish continues to be a popular topic of public debate. Purists and Anglophiles bemoan the loss of Queen’s English as they know it. Proponents of local culture say Singlish is one of the elements that gives Singaporeans their distinctive identity.