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A Detailed Overview About The People of Singapore and Its Culture 

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Ethnic Groups in Singapore
  3. Languages Spoken in Singapore
  4. Culture of Singapore
  5. Business Communities in Singapore
  6. Conclusion


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 this Southeast Asian city. The present Prime Minister of Singapore is Lee Hsien Loong. The Republic of Singapore follows the unitary parliamentary democracy form of government.

The city-state of Singapore is situated at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula that is about 85 miles of the Equator. It covers a total area of 722.5 sq. km. 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 most numerous of all of Singapore’s ethnic groups are the Chinese, who constitute three-fourths of the total population. Malays from around 15% of the population, and Indians are third at 7%. However, these three communities are also not homogeneous. Most Singaporeans of Chinese descent have ancestors from China’s provinces of Fujian and Guangdong. Most of them speak different languages.

The Malay community is the oldest community in Singapore. The fishermen from this community were 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 of Baweanese of Javanese descent.

The third-largest group is that of 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. The English language is the primary medium of instruction in school and is used as a significant communicative medium for commerce, administration, and industry. Mandarin, which is the official language of China, is promoted because nearly one-third of all students are taught in this language. The Malay language is the national language of the country. People of different ethnic groups also use Malay widely as a source of communication. This language plays a crucial role between 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.

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 being celebrated here. Some of them are the following:

Chinese New Year

It 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 gained 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 due to the effects of 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.


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.


One of the most widely 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.


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 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 just 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.

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.

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 toward 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 have to 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.


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 the 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.

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