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Singapore People and Singapore Culture

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Singapore People and Singapore Culture

2021-01-27T17:09:35+08:00June 27, 2019|0 Comments

Many foreigners move to Singapore without knowing the country’s people and culture. This may inhibit their level of business performance. This article shares information about Singapore’s diverse people and culture.

Singapore provides an array of opportunities to people as the country has developed as an economic giant in recent years. It is a multi-cultural country with people from different ethnic groups and cultures living in this modern city. You can find Chinese, Malays, Indians, Arabs, and English people living in Singapore. The present Prime Minister of Singapore is Lee Hsien Loong. The Republic of Singapore follows the unitary parliamentary democracy form of government.

Singapore is situated at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula and is about 85 miles north of the equator. It covers a total area of 722.5 square kilometers. The estimated Singapore population was 5,866,156 in June 2019. Singapore was once a British colonial state and is now a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The city-state joined the Federation of Malaysia when it was formed in the year 1963. On August 9, 1965, Singapore seceded to become an independent nation.

The following paragraphs provide a detailed look at the people of Singapore, the country’s ethnic groups, the culture, and the business communities.

Ethnic Groups in Singapore

The largest ethnic group in Singapore is Chinese, which constitutes three-fourths of the total population, followed by Malays (15%), and Indians (7%). However, these three communities are also not homogeneous. Most Singaporeans Chinese are the descendants of Fujian and Guangdong people and they speak different dialects.

The Malay community is the oldest in Singapore. The fishermen from the Malay community were the first to settle on this land before the arrival of the British, who made the country its colony. The Malays possess fewer linguistic differences as their group is mainly constituted of people of Indonesian descent. They are primarily the Baweanese or the Javanese descent.

The third-largest group is Indians. Singaporeans of Indian descent primarily consist of Malayalis, Tamils, and Sikhs. Those who are of Sinhalese and Pakistani descent are also included in this group.

People of various ethnic groups live in the public housing system in the city of Singapore. Approximately one million flats are spread across three estates and twenty-four towns in the country. Nearly 80% of the Singaporean population reside in the flats, while others have their own homes.

Languages Spoken in Singapore

Due to the diversity of ethnic groups, the languages spoken in Singapore include Mandarin Chinese, English, Malay, and Tamil. These four languages are recognized as the official languages of Singapore. English is the primary medium of instruction in schools and is used as a significant communicative medium for commerce, administration, and industry. Mandarin is also widely spoken in Singapore. The Malay language is the national language of the country. People of different ethnic groups use Malay widely as a source of communication. This language plays a crucial role in the ties of Malaysia and Singapore. Tourists who visit Singapore can also hear the language, which is Singapore’s local variant of English, named Singlish. It is a patois language which is more properly known as Singapore Colloquial English.

This unique combination which reflects Singapore’s melting pot of ethnicities and languages makes Singapore a highly advantageous country for investors. They can find many hardworking people as well as a Western-influenced constitution that brings in a strict disciplinary approach towards the economy as a whole.

Business Communities in Singapore

The city of Singapore’s various ethnic groups naturally leads to a diversity of business communities. Foreigners who want to start their business in Singapore will mostly find Singaporeans of Chinese descent as their business counterparts because of the large population of this community.

Insight into Business Communities

One who runs a business in Singapore needs to have local Singaporeans as your business associates. Singaporean citizens of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasian descent possess permanent residency in Singapore. Therefore, one with any such associate from these groups can easily carry out business activities.

Chinese people in Singapore tend to hold positions in technical, professional, and managerial sectors. Indians can mostly be seen in police services, teaching jobs, IT firms, and education. Malay people usually take up technology-related jobs. Foreign professionals usually work in the research and development, finance, and technological fields. While conducting business in Singapore, it is necessary to accustom oneself to local habits and beliefs. Doing so will raise the level of entrepreneurship conducted.

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Foreigners in Business

Many foreigners are interested in investing in Singapore because they may receive several free grants as well as a group of trained and experienced employees. Even the businesses already established in Singapore are always looking forward to collaborations. The government has also made the registration process easier and free from corruption. The people of Singapore, as well as foreigners, reap the benefits of the advantages provided for the business communities.

As Singapore believes in attracting skilled talent from across the globe, it has now focused on liberal immigration policies and started urban developmental policies. Among these are the “Global City for the Arts” and “Renaissance City.” These initiatives have driven more foreign talent towards Singapore. The business culture in Singapore is quite polite; local entrepreneurs do not discourage others. The foreigners who want to start their business in Singapore must be aware of the following:

After registering a private limited company in Singapore, foreigners become tax residents of Singapore and are also entitled to tax benefits.

Foreigners need to go through the full process of incorporation of the company as is the case with local Singapore companies. Foreigners must have a local as a partner.

Foreigners need to get the Employment Pass from the Ministry of Manpower. There is detailed information on the Ministry’s website.

After incorporation, the foreigners also must look for premises, recruit human resources, and receive assistance from financial agencies.

This thorough yet simple process needs to be followed by foreigners to register companies in Singapore. One can also receive assistance from a reputed agency for these purposes.

Culture of Singapore

The people of Singapore are members of different racial and religious groups. All these groups have the freedom to celebrate their festivals while living in Singapore. There is no compulsion from the government to practice any religion or celebrate any festival in the city-state. People from various religions celebrate their festivals with open hearts alongside people from other communities too. Many general cultural festivals take place in Singapore.

In Singapore, culture reflects the mingling of the East and the West. It is an amalgamation of both Asian and European cultures. Chinatown and Little India are among the country’s best-known attractions. The city of Singapore is known to be beautiful because of its social harmony, cultural diversity, and religious festivals. You can witness many festivals been celebrated here. Some of them are the following:

  • Chinese New Year: Falls on the day of the first new moon of the lunar year. The lunar year carries great importance for the Chinese people. The celebration continues for two weeks. The colors red and gold gain more prominence during this festival. It is also known as the “Spring Festival”, and Chinatown in Singapore comes to life throughout the days of the celebration.
  • Hari Raya Puasa: This festival marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslims’ fasting month. This festival is known as a day of celebration. The Muslims greet their families and visit the graves of their family members who have passed away. It is celebrated approximately two weeks earlier every year according to the Islamic calendar. During this festival, those celebrating wear new clothes, recite the Takbir in the mosques and light oil lamps. One can witness these rituals near Sultan Mosque.
  • National Day: One of the most celebrated festivals in Singapore. People hold parades and traditional dances. This festival instills pride and harmony in the hearts of every citizen residing in Singapore. National Day falls on August 9 every year.
  • Diwali/Deepavali: One of the festivals celebrated by Hindus across Singapore. During the ongoing celebrations, there are impressive lights installed along the streets of Little India. There are also fireworks at night. The festival usually falls in October’s last week or November’s first week. People can be seen at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Festival Village, or Mustafa Centre to take part in the festivities.
  • Pongal: One of the most celebrated festivals in the southern part of India. The Indians residing in Singapore celebrate this festival with the same zeal. Pongal is celebrated with great pomp and show at the beginning of the month of Thai. The sun god Surya is thanked on this day for the riches bestowed on devotees. There are also many competitions and events going on in Little India. Pongal is celebrated every year from January 14 to January 17, primarily at the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple.
  • Thaipusam: The word Thaipusam is derived by combining the word Thai (a month in the Tamil calendar) and Pusam (the name of a star). During this festival, many devotees walk from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. The celebration lasts two days, during which devotees carry the altars or spiked Kavadis that are usually pierced through their torso. Others can be seen carrying the pot of the milk that is subsequently poured over the divine javelin or the Vel. The festival is celebrated at the end of January.
  • Vesak Day: Celebrated by Buddhists, this day marks the death and enlightenment of Lord Buddha. Many devotees will spend the day doing charity work and meditating. It falls on the day of the full moon during the month of Vesak. Vesak Day is usually celebrated in May. People can visit the famous Buddhist temples like Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Lin-Shan Shuang Lin Temple, Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, and others like them. An important ritual is that of bathing the Infant Buddha.

These are some of the festivals celebrated in Singapore by diverse ethnic and religious groups. The celebrations also allow people to try different delicacies such as Indian, Malay, Chinese, Italian, Indonesian, French, Spanish, fusion, and Thai food. The influence of various ethnic groups can be seen in areas such as Little India, Arab Street, and Chinatown. Even the neo-classical buildings seen all over Singapore give a taste of British colonialism.

Conclusion

Singapore is a versatile and culturally diverse country. Locals and foreigners alike who live there look forward to investing and reaping higher business profits. By accepting culturally diverse people, one can see that Singapore is seen as one of Asia’s best countries in which one can live and work. The country’s economy is expanding rapidly and is also providing methods for the upliftment of the business communities.

If you are new to Singapore and want to gain an insight into its cultural and business opportunities, then reach out to advisors from Paul Hype Page & Co. We will help you with relocating to and setting up your business in Singapore.

Singapore People and Singapore Culture FAQs

Is it appropriate for me to host a business breakfast in Singapore?2020-11-20T14:00:14+08:00

Not really, business breakfast is not common in Singapore. If you want to host a power meal, lunch is more appropriate.  

How about gift-giving in Singapore, is it part of an initial business meeting?2020-11-20T13:59:47+08:00

Nope, in Singapore, giftgiving is not part of an initial business meeting.  

What are the typical working hours in Singapore?2020-11-20T13:59:28+08:00

The typical working hours in Singapore are 9am to 6pm, with 1-hour lunch break in between.  

What is the meeting etiquette in Singapore?2020-11-20T13:56:55+08:00

If you want to have a meeting with your business partner, make sure you schedule and confirm the meeting ahead of time.  It is very rude to arrive late to a meeting, if you are going to be late, inform the host beforehand and apologize. 

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