The city-state of Singapore has a large and diverse cultural heritage. The city is actually one of the most diverse cities in the world. The different cultures that reside in Singapore live in harmony with one another, as the city has been integrated with different ethnicities for centuries. Today the city is a mixture of predominately Malay, Chinese, European and Indian heritages. About 46% of the residents are foreign born, which adds even more culture in the mix.
While the city contains different areas comprised of individual ethnicities and cultures, most of the residents of Singapore consider themselves to be Singaporeans. The city’s buildings and small villages still show a great deal of the island’s history. Many of the buildings share the neo-Classical design brought the British colonists. Many of the Muslim characteristics can be seen in Arab Street and Chinatown is filled with Chinese culture, cuisine and language. Little India is uniquely appointed with Indian culture as well.
The city also has a number of different religions. Many of the Chinese population follow Buddhism, Shenism, Taoism and Christianity. Most of the Malays are Muslims and the Indian population is predominantly Hindus, with some Sikhs and Muslims thrown in. Despite the many different types of religions found throughout Singapore, religious tolerance is widespread. Religions are not bound by ethnic boundaries and temples, mosques and churches can be seen everywhere. Singaporeans celebrate their religious beliefs with a number of different festivals, held all over the city. Each festival is based on specific religious concepts, but the largest festivals are usually celebrated by all Singaporeans.
With such a large mix of ethnicities spread throughout the city-state, there are also a number of different languages spoken by the residents. The four primary languages are Mandarin, Tamil, Malay and English. English is very common and serves as the universal language to unite the different ethnic groups. Schools typically teach young children English and their native tongue. Many of the residents of Singapore speak ‘Singlish’, which is a mixture of English and other languages. This often makes it hard for foreigners to understand what people are saying.
One of the most interesting aspects of Singapore culture is the local cuisine. Food is always available in Singapore and is offered in wide array of different tastes and recipes. Some of the dishes that can be found in Singapore are Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Malay, Western, Italian, Spanish, Thai, French, Perkanakan and Fusion mixes. It is very common to order a dish with a mixture of different ethnic flavors. Indian dishes are typically very spicy and Chinese dishes often contain seafood. The main ingredient in all Malay dishes is coconut milk.
The culture of Singapore has evolved from a combination of the original inhabitants and the colonization of the island by the British in the 19th century. The original inhabitants were the Malay and when the island became a trading port for the British East India Trading Company it introduced a number of different ethnic groups including Chinese and European. Today the cosmopolitan city-state of Singapore is filled with historical significance and modern technology.