Today marks Singapore's 51st birthday
Today is Singapore’s National Day, the biggest annual celebration of Singaporean culture, but how much do you know about the country?
Celebrated annually on 9 August, National Day commemorates Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in 1965. Typically, the holiday features a parade, an address by the Prime Minister of Singapore and a firework celebration.
To commemorate the day, Resonate has compiled a list of 10 facts about Singapore that you may not know.
1. It’s not just one island
Often called an “island” city, Singapore’s reputation to be one island is technically incorrect. In actual fact, Singapore is comprised of not just one island, but an additional 63 offshore islands. These islands include Sentosa (the largest of the 63 islands), Pulau Ubin, St John’s Island and Sisters’ Islands. The islands themselves make for gorgeous holiday spots, often consisting of lush beaches (albeit some are manmade) and access to the cool sea.
2. Singapore pioneered the first F1 night race
The annual F1 competition is well known amongst Singaporeans and likewise, Singapore is thus well known amongst F1 fans. Drawing in racing themed activities with live on stage performances as well as number of unique F1 entertainment activities, Singapore’s Grand Prix is even a highlight of the year for many. However, not too many know that the first F1 night race in 2008, was held in Singapore. Since, the night race has become iconic, illuminating Singapore with its brightly lit floodlights around Marina Bay.
3. Singapore is one of the greenest cities on earth
When most people think of Singapore, they think of its modernity, urbanisation and a concentration of glass towers, skyscrapers and edifices. However, Singapore is actually one of the greenest cities on earth. In fact, nearly half of Singapore’s land area is covered in greenery. This means that Singapore has around 700 square kilometres of parks ad gardens, which are home to over 2000 native species of plant life. Even some of Singapore’s urban buildings have their own greeneries. Parkroyal is known for its hotel-in-a-garden concept with a four storey cascading vertical garden.
4. Singapore’s lion should have been a tiger
Singapore’s iconic emblem, the Merlion, is recognised as a symbol of Singapore. The mythical creature, which consists of a lion’s head and a fish’s tail, was inspired by the city’s Sanskrit name, Singaura, meaning “lion city”. It is thought that Sumatran prince Sang Nila Utama gave the island the name during his settlement in the early 14th century. During his hunts, the prince spotted a creature moving quickly, to which his advisors presumed to be a lion. However, there were no records of lions native to Singapore. Thereby, it was more probable that the creature the prince saw was in fact a tiger, which were found in the wild in Singapore up to the 1930s.
5. Singapore is a city of manmade waterfalls.
Singaporeans and tourists are all too familiar with the artificial nature of Sentosa. However, not too many know that the island’s waterfalls are also manmade. Jurong Bird Park’s waterfall, constructed in 1970, was the city’s first manmade waterfall. It is said to be the tallest waterfall to date, reaching a height of 30 metres. Furthermore, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall (35 metres) is also in Singapore at Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay. 2018 will see yet another taller indoor waterfall, which will be built at Jewel at Changi Airport.
6. Singapore is one of only three city-states in the world
The other two are Monaco and Vatican City. The Economist once described Singapore as the “world’s only fully-functioning city-state”.
7. The Singapore Sling is not the national cocktail
To celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday in on National Day 2015, a competition was held to ind a new national drink. The winner of the 36 contenders was the Singapura Nacional, which is a mashup between the classic Sling and the Cuban cocktail from the Hotel Nacional. It consists of gin, apricot brandy, fresh pineapple, lemon juice and spice syrup. The new iconic drink was created by Ricky Paiva from the Manhattan Bar at the Regent Hotel.
8. Singapore has saltwater crocodiles
In the north of Singapore lies Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, which ish ome to a number of saltwater crocodiles, the largest of which was named Barney. Sadly, Barney died in 2014, but was measured at 3.6 metres long and weighed 400kg.
9. Singapore has the largest alfresco rooftop bar in the world
1-Altitude is the world’s largest alfresco rooftop bar. It sits at on the roof of One Raffles Place, 282 metres above ground. Unfortunately, the bar is prone to lightning strikes during bad weather, but luckily, there is an indoor Altimate bar on the floor below, from which you can enjoy similarly spectacular views.
10. Singapore is home to the world’s first night safari.
The park claims to be the “world’s first safari park for nocturnal animals.” From 7:30 p.m. to 12 a.m., visitors take a tram ride around the park, watching animals from seven geographical regions.
11. You can be fined $1000 for not flushing the toilet
A law in Singapore says that you can be fined up to $1000 for not flushing a public toilet “immediately after using it”.