SINGAPORE
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The independent nation of Singapore was created on August 8, 1965, when it withdrew from the Federation of Malaysia.  This split was due primarily to racial tensions and political differences.  The commercial and political spheres of Singapore are dominated by its Chinese majority, 75% of the population.  Malays comprise 15%.  Indians, mostly from the Southeastern India, make up about 7%.  The various ethnic groups and religions exist side-by-side, although there are areas in which some groups are still concentrated.  The religions represented are mostly Tao, Buddhist, ancestor worship, Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, and Protestant.  
 
Singapore, of course, is an economic powerhorse and remains a major trading port in South Asia.  Much of its early architecture is now gone, replaced by modern high rise buildings, fancy hotels, very expensive shopping malls, and luxury facilities of every type.  All of this exists in a very small area.  However, the people, religions, and classes seem to exist in harmony with little, if any, friction.  
 
Singapore was initially a small Malay fishing village which as East-West trade grew, Singapore gradually became a significant port because of its strategic and goegraphic location.  As it developed, the wealth and power of Melaka, further North on the Malay Penninsula, declined.   
On January 28, 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore with the intention of establishing a trading post for the East India Company in direct competition with the Dutch in the area.  The settlement grew and in 1924 the British took complete possession of the area.  The British were defeated by the Japanese in 1942.  In 1945 the British returned.  Britain never regained full control of the area again and by 1959 Singapore gained self government.  It joined the Federation of Malaysia in the early 1960s, but declared independence from it by 1965.  
 
Our visit to Singapore began November 8, 2008, and we departed for Jakarta, November 11, 2008.  We had toured Singapore before so we did little in the way of seeing the sights.  We planned this trip by flying direclty from Washington, DC, USA, to Singapore, resting a few days, and then heading for a month in Indonesia.  Photos of the next segments of this trip (Java, Bali, Komodo National Park, and Melaka) are also posted.   The more interesting photos from this trip are posted for the other segments.
 
After 29 days in Indonesia we headed to Melaka to see this World Heritage city.  We then returned to Singapore December 13, 2008, and from there we flew back to the United States on December 15, 2008.