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Home | Singapore | Singapore Overview | Culture
Culture

Singapore culture has a strong influence of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures. The diversity of Singapore culture is due to her history. Singapore was once a popular free trading port in the 18th century which attracted many Chinese immigrant from China, Indian from India sub-continent, Malay from the Malay peninsular and Eurasian from the various part of Europe who came to trade in Singapore or work in Singapore and later settle down at this cosmopolitan island. These ethnic races still evident in modern Singapore today, though most of the Singaporeans do think of themselves as Singaporeans, regardless of race or culture, each still bears its own unique character and this mixture of cultures formed the Singapore culture.

Religion:
Taoist, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim.

Social conventions:
Handshaking is the usual form of greeting, regardless of race. Social courtesies are often fairly formal. When invited to a private home or entering a temple or mosque, remove your shoes. For private visits, a gift is appreciated and, if on business, a company souvenir is appropriate. Dress is informal. Most first-class restaurants and some hotel dining rooms expect men to wear a jacket and tie in the evenings; a smart appearance is expected for business meetings. Evening dress for local men and women is unusual. Each of the diverse racial groups in Singapore has retained its own cultural and religious identity while developing as an integral part of the Singapore community.
Laws relating to jaywalking, littering and chewing gum are strictly enforced in urban areas. Smoking is widely discouraged and illegal in enclosed public places (including restaurants). Dropping a cigarette end in the street or smoking illegally can lead to an immediate fine.

Customs
Singapore is a fairly diverse society and has been molded by its immigrant population, primarily Malay, Chinese and Indian, along with the large expat community. The city is incredibly efficient and the citizens very law-abiding - there are fines issued for just about any offense in Singapore, including S$500 for smoking in public places, S$50 for jaywalking, S$1,000 for littering and S$500 for eating, drinking or chewing gum on the MRT. There are even fines for not flushing public toilets so it goes without saying that getting involved in illegal drugs is not advisable; trafficking carries a maximum penalty of death. Chinese Singaporeans have three names, the first of which is their surname, or family name. As a result visitors should be prepared for hotels mistakenly reserving rooms under their first names. For clarity surnames may be underlined.

Tipping
Tipping is not encouraged as most hotels and restaurants in Singapore already levy a 10% service charge on customers' bills. Tipping is not a way of life in Singapore, but is appreciated for excellent service.

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