For this week's Travel Tuesday we will visit Singapore. Singapore is an island city-state at the tip of the Malay peninsula with a long history as a melting pot of Asian cultures.
There are many things travelers and curious folk can learn about Singapore by reading through the country profile in Global Road Warrior. Listed below are 5 more quick facts to get you started.
The People: "Singapore hosts a variety of ethnic groups; 76.8 percent of the population is Chinese, 13.9 percent is Malay, 7.9 percent is Indian, and 1.4 percent belongs to another ethnic group. However, these numbers do not reflect the diversity within each group."
Spoken Languages: "The official languages of Singapore are Malay, English, Mandarin, and Tamil. Malay functions as the national language, but English is the language of education, government, and the courts. Mandarin is primarily spoken among Singaporean Chinese, while Tamil is used by Singaporean Indians."
Business Style: "Singapore has a closely held reputation for honest dealing, and received top marks for transparency in Transparency International's 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index. Singapore shares the number 1 spot with Denmark and New Zealand; China is number 78. Thus, foreign firms can expect much better treatment from local Singaporean firms than could be found in Shanghai or Beijing. In Singapore, a deal is a matter of honor as well as a legal contract."
Social Engagements: "When a Singaporean is invited to dinner at someone’s house, it is usual to arrive a few minutes later than the agreed time. If a guest knows the host very well, he or she may turn up a few minutes early; if not, such a practice may catch the host before he or she is ready and cause him or her to lose "face." One is expected to be absolutely punctual for parties, functions, and restaurant bookings in order to avoid inconveniencing or embarrassing the host. Singaporeans also tend to be on time when meeting friends on an individual basis."
Taxi: "Except for rush hour, taxis may be the most convenient way for a foreigner to get around Singapore. Surcharges exist for luggage, additional passengers, trips between midnight and 6a.m., trips into and out of the central business district, and to and from the airport. Radio cabs and advance taxi bookings also require extra surcharges of S$2-3. With the deregulation of taxi service fares may vary. Make the deal for the fare before getting into the cab.
Taxis can be hailed from the street, from outside hotels, at taxi ranks, or reserved by phone. However, don't expect to find one with any ease during a heavy rainstorm or during rush hour, from 7a.m. to 10:15a.m. and from 4p.m. to 6p.m. Taxis are strictly regulated, and all cars are metered. If you think a driver is trying to cheat you, merely threaten to call the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board to curtail the driver's intentions."
Language Learners: English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil are all available through both
Mango Languages and
Music Lovers: Visit our Freegal music service to explore more music options from Singaporean and other music artists.
Recipe Corner: For an example Singaporean recipe, try Roti Prata.
A Singaporean Indian dish, roti prata is a rich unleavened bread similar to Indian paratha. In Singapore, this type of roti is a common snack, but it is also a side dish with Asian or Indian curries.
Recipe Serving: Serves 4–6
2 lb (1 kg) flour, sifted
2 cups (480 ml) water
1/3 cup (80 ml) clarified butter
3 tbsp (45 ml) sugar
2 tbsp (30 ml) salt
Combine water, sugar, and salt, and 2 1/2 tbsp (37 ml) clarified butter.
Add liquids to flour. Knead to form a smooth, firm dough.
Let rest 20 minutes
Shape dough into 2-inch (5 cm) balls, and coat each ball with clarified butter as it is formed to prevent drying out.
Cover and let rest for up to 4 hours.
Heat a griddle.
Flatten a ball of dough, creating a circle as thin as possible, brushing with a little additional clarified butter if necessary.
Fold edges in to create a neat square that will fit on the griddle.
Place on griddle, folded side down, and cook on both sides, turning once, until golden.