B1 Intermediate US 14398 Folder Collection
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In 1965 Singapore gained its independence from Malaysia.
Since then, the tiny city-state island has been industrializing and growing at an unprecedented rate.
This year, they were voted the most expensive city in the world for the second year running.
So we wanted to know, how powerful is Singapore?
Well, for starters, Singapore is a tiny island in Southeast Asia, with a population of a little over 5 million packed into 277 square miles.
That’s roughly if everyone in Minnesota squeezed into an area the size of San Francisco.
Along with South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers;
nations that have experienced significant growth since the 1960s and have high-income economies.
Their GDP is nearly $300 billion dollars.
And they are 9th in the world in terms of per-capita GDP, although overall they rank 37th in the global economy.
One of the primary reasons for Singapore’s wealth is that they operate the largest, and busiest, transshipment port in the world.
In short, Singapore is rich. So what are they spending their money on? Well, mostly defense and guns.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Singapore is the 5th largest arms importer in the world, after India, China, Pakistan and South Korea.
Singapore has a formidable military force.
In particular, the Singaporean Royal Air Force is the largest, best trained, and most equipped flying force in Southeast Asia.
Singapore also has mandatory two-year conscription of all 18-year-old males.
Meaning that Singapore sits on more than a million reserve troops, should they ever need them.
As a result of this military stockpiling, Singapore has a very close relationship with the United States.
In fact, the US is the primary buyer of Singaporean military equipment, making up 43% of their total sales.
Singapore also enjoys friendly, diplomatic relations with most of the developed Western world, with the exception of their neighbor, Malaysia.
This primarily stems from having been expelled from Malaysian rule in 1965 over policy disputes,
and later, disagreements over land ownership in the South China Sea.
However the two countries rely on each other heavily for trade,
and in recent years have largely resolved their issues through new leadership.
With a huge cash surplus, tremendous military and close relations with the United States, Singapore might not be a traditional international behemoth in regards to land size.
But it certainly stands on its own as one of the best equipped and most powerful countries in Southeast Asia.
To find out just what makes Singapore so expensive, check out our video here.
If you’re on your phone, there’s a link to that video right at the top of the description, so check it out!
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How Powerful is Singapore?

14398 Folder Collection
鄭祐晨 published on August 21, 2016    Vincent Liu translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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