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The city-state was not hit on Doomsday, but felt its aftereffects almost immediately and over the next several weeks, beginning with the financial sector. The loss of major global markets led to a meltdown as funds evaporated and major and minor corporations alike either ceased to exist or lost the funding to keep them going. Unemployment skyrocketed as mass numbers of workers were laid off, many companies effectively in limbo, not knowing who owned them and what would become of them.
The ruling Workers Party determined that the top priority was the defense of the nation and the care of its people, primarily by making sure they would continue to receive the basics of food, clothing and shelter, along with electricity and water for their homes. The WP passed a series of laws that were intended to accomplish these goals, including the nationalisation of Singapore Changi Airport for military use, and mandatory food rationing. Only some of the laws worked. A series of minor and more major events one legislator described as a "chain reaction" culminated in rioting in various parts of the city in late 1983 and early 1984.
The country decided to go ahead with its general election in 1984, spurred in large part by the opposition PAP (which governed Singapore from 1966-1981 and was looking to get back in power). The PAP won the election, restoring its position as the majority party, but two spots in parliament as Non-Constituency members were created for members of opposition parties. Three female MPs, all from the PAP, were elected, ending a 16-year stretch of women being absent from representation in Parliament.
The PAP's first order was to continue the WP's priorities of national defense and making sure people had access to the basics of survival. The former was accomplished through a policy of "total defence", a policy of defending the country on five fronts: economic, civil (including hospitals), social, psychological and military. The latter came from an emergency agreement with Malaysia, of which Singapore had already received a significant amount of food.
The PAP was viewed by dissenters and opposition parties as unduly authoritarian, citing "draconian" restrictions on civil liberties post-Doomsday and continuing censorship of media. The PAP and its defenders point to the policy as necessary to helping maintain the strict order that was needed in the country post-Doomsday; without the restrictions, they say Singapore would have collapsed and/or come under the control of less stable entities.
Lee Kuan Yew, the prime minister since 1959, saw the nation through the Doomsday crisis. In 1985 Lee proposed, after learning of the survival of Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia, an ambitious program to set up Singapore as the financial and economic centre of "whatever remained of the world." Lee was confident that some sort of market and trade would eventually return, and also wanted a project that would keep the Singaporean people "busy" and cut down on simmering dissent against the authoritarian government.
The project included:
- Nationalising businesses and industries that had lost their American, European and Japanese parents on Doomsday, then turning them over to Singaporean interests
- Creation of a Housing Development Board to create safe, affordable and livable public housing.
- Reversing the 29% unemployment rate post-Doomsday by not only saving businesses, but putting workers to work in the HDB's various construction projects
- Establishing public transportation to save fuel.
1983-1986: Ties with Australia, the APA, Indonesia and Malaysia
The government ordered military expeditions to area nations in late 1983 to ascertain what had happened to the world. All that was known was that contact had been lost with Europe, the United States, the Soviet Union and much of Asia.
One expedition reported the destruction of the capital city of Taiwan (a.k.a. Chinese Taipei). Others reported stable situations, with increasing unrest, in Malaysia and Indonesia. An expedition sent to Australia reported the destruction of the nation's three largest cities, but that the government had survived and the nation was stable.
Singapore decided to strengthen its ties to the other nations in its immediate region the best it could.
Lee met with Indonesian President Suharto in March 1984, leading to both nations agreeing on mutual defense and economic trade, as well as aid for each other and for other neighboring nations. This gave Singapore access to important Indonesian oil.
Singapore also considered signing a similar defense agreement with Australia, but rejected it in 1984, as that nation was too far away for that type of pact to be very beneficial. But it did sign an agreement with Australia pledging to stand with it in case of any future invasion of either nation by China or the USSR. That agreement was extended to trade with Australia, as well as an "agreement of friendship" with the U.S. provisional government (American Provisional Administration) based in Canberra. President George H.W. Bush visited Singapore in 1986.
Also in 1984, Singapore signed a defense and trade agreement with Malaysia. Despite the previous issues between the two countries, leaders from both nations agreed that the current situation demanded they put aside their differences and work together. This arrangement lasted until 1987.
Lee continued to put Singapore on a path towards becoming an economic power in the region, as former subsidiaries of U.S.-, European- and Japanese-based businesses were re-established as Singaporean companies. A potential powderkeg issue was avoided after Singapore agreed to release several Singapore-based subsidiaries of U.S. companies to their Australian counterparts (the APA allowed some subsidiaries to fall completely under Singaporean control).
In 1987, the Malaysian government was overthrown by Islamic revolutionaries. The Singapore government declared martial law and set troops along the border, including the two bridges connecting the city-state to Malaysia. By this time, telephone service had been restored to Australia, and so Lee made an urgent call to Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and U.S. President Bush requesting military aid in case of invasion.
Over the next five days troops loyal to the new Malaysian regime increasingly amassed along their side of the border, but did nothing more; still, Singaporean troops continued to amass. When ANZUS ships showed up in Singapore harbor on August 8, Singapore sent a message to the new Malaysian government stating that "Singapore is a free and sovereign state and is asserting its independence." The ANZUS ships stayed in Singapore until 1995; the Malaysian Islamic government, perhaps fearful of a war with the ANZUS, never made any threatening gestures towards Singapore.
In 1990, Goh Chok Tong became prime minister. His more open style of leadership was helpful in facilitating political and economic relations with area nations, especially the ANZUS nations. Goh's recognition of the newly-created nation of Brunei-Sarawak in 1990 - and the ANZUS's political and military support of Singapore on this issue - is considered to have helped prevent a war occurring between Brunei-Sarawak and Malaysia that might have engulfed the entire region. Goh continued Lee's vision of turning Singapore into the lone economic Asian Tiger of the region, after the four economic powers of Asia pre-Doomsday - Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The relationship between Singapore and ANZUS was good until the mid-1990s.
1994: Conflict with ANZC
In 1994, an incident involving a Singapore teenager and several students of the Singapore International school - all either Australian natives of sons and daughters of American refugees - led to strained ties with both the American Provisional Administration and the Australian government.
The daughter of an American businessman and son of an Australian senator were caned for their alleged role in the incident. A letter of protest from the American embassy in Singapore met with an official government response addressed to "former American citizens and refugees in Australia." A subsequent letter of protest from Canberra led to a reply from the Singapore government, reminding Canberra of the "consequences of ignoring Singapore laws broken on sovereign Singapore territory".
Bush and Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating debated on whether to send troops to Singapore to rescue the American and Australian students; ultimately, backdoor negotations swayed Bush and Howard and other APA/Australian leaders that any military action would not only lead to a war the USANZ could not easily win, but also seal an extended jail or prison term for the students.
Goh was praised by PAP leaders for his "hard stance" on the issue. While not apparent at the time, this incident is credited as the first major schism in relations between Singapore and the ANZUS and its successor nation, the ANZC.
1995-2002: Relations with South America
The ANZUS and Singaporean governments began to disagree more on various matters of policy. The ANZUS's persistent criticism of the caning incident - and subsequent minor incidents in Singapore and Canberra - was seen by the PAP as undue Australian influence in Singaporean affairs.
Some observers noticed the growing schism and unsuccessfully petitioned the respective government leaders to address the situation.
Singapore, knowing from the journey of the USS Benjamin Franklin that civilization survived and existed in other parts of the world, began to adjust its economic policy. Gok and other SIngaporean leaders decided to gradually shift the nation towards a possible closer relationship with the countries of South America. In 1997, Singaporean economists correctly assumed that South America would soon challenge, and likely surpass, the ANZC as the world's leading economic and political power.
In 1999, Singapore sent emissaries to Chile and the new United Republics of South America to begin the process of building closer cultural and economic ties; both countries in turn eagerly received Singapore, largely for economic reasons but also to gain an ally in the ANZC's backyard. In recent years the South Americans have been accused of nefarious purposes in the region. Officials and commentators from the ANZC have accused Chile of using the ANZC/South America split to not only open a new economic market for South America, but to gain allies for itself in the ANZC's back yard, and further isolate the ANZC politically and economically. South American commentators claim their countries were looking for trading partners in the region, not to hurt the ANZC.
To allay public concerns over Islamist extremists possibly taking advantage of the departed ANZC military presence, Brazilian and Chilean ships and troops were given the former ANZUS base in 1997. In 2002, Singapore and Chile signed a trade agreement, followed by a similar agreements with the URSA and Brazil.
Fearful of the weak Islamist government in Malaysia gaining enough power to threaten Singapore's security, Gok and military leaders decided to covertly fund rebel forces there. Ultimately, the government fell to rebel forces in 1999, and Singapore stepped in ("rather conveniently" according to one commentator) to assist the new coalition government in rebuilding Malaysia's government.
2003-2011: Modern day
Singapore strengthened ties with neighboring Indonesia and Singapore and its South American trading partners Chile and United American Republic, and established ties with Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines and Brunei-Sarawak. The greatest benefit to Singapore of its new relations was of South American aid in bringing Lee Kuan Yew's vision of a prosperous Singapore to reality: some aid from the UAR and Chilean governments, along with significant investment by South American companies into Singapore (and to a lesser extent Malaysia, Brunei-Sarawak and Indonesia), are credited in regards to Singapore's present status as one of the post-Doomsday world's great cities.
Economic ties to the ANZC were maintained, even as Singapore's foreign policy gradually reflected a South American-friendly perspective.
Singapore became the regional headquarters in southeast Asia for businesses in all major industries.
Singapore came into contact with the Celtic Alliance and Mexico in 1999 through the United American Republic, and by 2005 had established relations with most of the then-known nations throughout the world.
In 2004, Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Kuan Yew's eldest son, succeeded Goh as prime minister.
In 2008, Singapore eagerly joined the League of Nations and offered its territory for the headquarters of the organization, a bid that was backed by its South American allies and rejected by the ANZC.
Singapore signed trade agreements in 2006 with Siberia; 2007 with Mexico; 2008 with the Philippines and in 2009 with Japan.
By 2011, Singapore had entrenched itself as one of the post-Doomsday world's most important cities, and was recognized as such when the League of Nations designated it as a World City on February 10.
Government and politics
Singapore is a parliamentary democracy, with a unicameral parliamentary government representing various groups. Most executive power rests with the Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister. The office of President is largely ceremonial, but was granted limited veto powers in 1991 in regards to use of the national reserves and judicial appointments.
Parliament acts as the legislative body; the President is the head of Parliament, which consists of a single chamber whose members are selected by popular vote. Members are elected on a plurality voting basis, representing either single-member constituencies (SMCs) or group representation constituencies (GRCs).
The People's Action Party (PAP) has long been the ruling party in Singapore. The most notable opposition parties include the Workers' Party of Singapore, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA).
Singapore's economy took a hit on Doomsday. ANZC companies made investments in Singapore in the late 1980s through the mid-1990s. The city-state leaders proposed in 1987 to position Singapore as a leading global center of commerce and business. In the past decade, this has come to pass, especially as South American companies have made significant investments in Singapore.
The city-state is nicknamed the "Asian Tiger", a reference to its grouping with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan pre-Doomsday as one of the four economic Asian Tigers in the region. Singapore has perhaps the most highly developed market-based economy in the world, dependent largely on exports and refining imported goods. It, along with associated territories in nearby Malaysia, has also become a leading manufacturing and agricultural center. It is considered a global leader in electronics, computers, chemicals, mechanical engineering, clothing, petroleum refining and biomedical sciences. Its GDP is among the top ten in the world. It has perhaps the busiest port in the world and the second largest foreign exchange trading centre after Sao Paulo.
Singapore has been rated as the most business-friendly economy in the world with thousands of foreign expatriates working in multinational corporations. Singapore is also considered to be one of the top centres of finance in the world. In addition to this, the city-state also employs tens of thousands of foreign blue-collared workers from around the world.
As of 2009, Singapore has bilateral and multilateral trade agreements with:
- The United American Republic
- Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand
- The Alpine Confederation
- The Philippines
- The Celtic Alliance
The Singapore dollar is the official currency. It is tied to the Brazilian real.
Singapore maintains diplomatic relations with all members of the League of Nations, although it does not maintain a high commission or embassy in many of those countries.
Singapore is a member of the League of Nations.
It has good relations in general with all countries. Its relationship with Malaysia and Indonesia is considered most important to Singapore's economic and national security; though Singapore enjoys good relations with both countries currently, past events - particularly the overthrow of the Malay government in 1987 - has resulted in tensions between the two sides.
Singapore enjoys good economic and cultural relations with the nations of the South American Confederation, in particular Chile and the United American Republic. In the early years after Doomsday, Singapore had close ties to Australia, New Zealand and the Canberra-based American Provisional Administration. Ties with their successor nation, the ANZC, are currently cordial, but still slightly strained due to the caning of American and Australian students in 1994, and close economic and cultural ties with South American nations (the ANZC believes that the SAC has worked to strain relations between Singapore and the ANZC for its own purposes, a charge the SAC has always officially denied).
In 2010 and 2011, Singapore began to take steps to repair its ties to the ANZC while retaining its close ties to the SAC. Though taken initially for the benefit of the business community, Singaporean officials also acknowledged the influence of Australian culture on their society.
Singapore supports the concept of Southeast Asian regionalism and plays an active role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Singapore is a founding member. Singapore is also a member of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and hosts the organization's Secretariat. Singapore maintains Army training facilities in Brunei-Sarawak.
The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) oversees the Army, Navy and Air Force. The armed forces serve primarily to deter potential invaders and aggressors (most notably pirates in the region during the mid 1980s). Singapore has mutual defence pacts with several countries, most notably the South American Confederation, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Since 1980, and after Doomsday, the concept and strategy of "Total Defence" has been adopted in all aspects of security; an approach aimed at strengthening Singapore against all kinds of threats.
Singapore Armed Forces
The Singapore Armed Forces, the military forces of Singapore, takes charge of the overall defence of the country and are comprised of the Army, Air Force and Navy.
Singapore Police Force
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) is responsible for maintaining law and order in the nation. It has approximately 41,000 officers and is credited in large part for maintaining Singapore's low crime rate.
Singapore Civil Defence Force
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) is responsible for providing emergency services during peacetime and emergencies, including ambulances, fire fighting and emergency response vehicles to the nation. It also plays a major role in disaster relief operations.
Singapore legislation requires every able-bodied male Singapore citizen and permanent resident to undertake National Service for a minimum of two years upon reaching 18 years of age or completion of his studies (whichever comes first), with exemption on medical or other grounds. After serving for two years, every male is considered operationally ready, and is liable for reservist national service to the age of 40 (50 for commissioned officers). More than 380,000 men serve as operationally ready servicemen assigned to reservist combat units, and another 76,500 men form the full-time national service and regular corps.
Of the nearly 4.4 million people living in Singapore, 3.7 million are citizens and permanent residents according to a 2009 government census.
Various Chinese linguistic groups formed 74 percent of residents, Malays 12%, Indians 9%, and Eurasians, South Americans and other groups made up the remaining 5 percent.
Singapore has a variety of religious practices and preferences. Up to 55 percent of residents practice Buddhism and Taoism. Muslims comprise 15 percent of residents (most Muslims are Malay; there are large minority Chinese and Indian Muslim groups as well). Christianity, broadly encompassing Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and other Christian denominations, comprises 14 percent of residents. Smaller minorities practice Sikhism, Hinduism and other faiths, or no faith at all.
The government, partly in keeping with its ambitions to build its global status, requires all residents to have at least a high school education and partial college education.
English has been used as the medium of instruction in all Singapore schools. There is debate on whether to require teaching in Spanish, as the predominantly-Spanish-speaking South American nations are seen to be becoming the world's economic and political powers in the next decade.
Many children attend private kindergartens until they start at primary school at the age of six. Singapore's ruling political party, the PAP, is the largest provider of preschool education through its community arm.
English is the language of instruction for mathematics and the natural sciences. For the Chinese community, there are provisions for schools which receive extra funding to teach in Mandarin along with English. Some schools also integrate language subjects with mathematics and the sciences, using both English and a second language.
All residents are required to have three years of kindergarten and six years of primary education. Residents are strongly encouraged to attain the four or five years of secondary education and some post-secondary (university) education. Curriculum standards are set by the Ministry of Education for both private and public kindergarten, primary and secondary schools. Also international schools cater to expatriate students and a small selected group of local students approved by the Ministry of Education.
There are three universities in Singapore: the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University.
Singapore is a multilingual nation, owing to the various cultures and groups in the city-state. English, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Malay and Tamil are the five official languages of the state.
English was promoted as the country's main language after its independence until recent years. It is still the most widely used by the populace, with Mandarin Chinese the second language of most citizens. Spanish has become important in the past decade, owing largely to Singapore's trade and business dealings with South American countries and the corporations headquartered on the South American continent. Malay is the national language of Singapore and is used primarily by the Malay community and in official documents. Tamil is spoken by most of Singapore's Indian community. Portuguese is not an official language but has been used in some business and diplomatic dealings involving Brazil.
Singaporean cuisine is hailed worldwide for its diversity and cultural diffusion; cuisine in fact has become a leading attraction for travelers in recent years. Singaporean cuisine is heavily influenced by Chinese, Indian, Malay and Tamil cuisine, creating a unique national blend.
However, in the wake of Doomsday, Chinese and Indian cuisine also were preserved independently by interested citizens for their cultural and culinary value. Hawker centres will sell both Singaporean cuisine and Chinese, Indian, Malay, Tamil, Argentinian, Chilean and Brazilian food.
Restaurants catering to Japanese, British, Celtic, Mexican and Australian/New Zealand tastes are also popular, especially amongst expats, businessmen and travelers on holiday.
Since the 1990s, the government has been striving to promote Singapore as a global centre for arts and culture. The Esplanade, a centre for performing arts, opened in 2002 and is considered the highlight of these efforts. The National Arts Council sponsors an annual arts festival that includes theatre arts, dance, music and visual arts.
Singapore features a growing stand-up comedy scene.
Singapore has three government stations and 19 privately-owned stations that are subject to strict government standards.
Singapore has four stations, one government-run, the other three privately owned but subject to strict government standards and censorship.
The Singapore Daily and the Straits Times are the nation's newspapers of record, and two of the most respected newspapers in the world.
The country's association football team is one of the best in the Asia/Oceanic region. Singapore also hosts a popular domestic six-team league.
Rugby league has become more popular in the small nation than rugby union, leading to speculation that a local team may join the ANZC's National Rugby League. A six-club domestic league draws crowds on par with the country's football league.
Union has not allowed the NRL's presence to go unchallenged. Besides helping develop the sport of union within Singapore, the IRL also designated Singapore to be a "test nation" for the sport of rugby sevens, a version of rugby union played by seven players per side.
Singapore's athletes in badminton and table tennis are considered to be the best in the world.