Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, and often referred to as the Lion City, the Garden City, and the Red Dot, is a leading global city-state and island country in Southeast Asia.Singapore is a global commerce, financial and transportation hub.Singapore is a unitary multiparty parliamentary republic, with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. The People's Action Party has won every election since self-government in 1959. One of the five founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Singapore is also the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat, and a member of the East Asia Summit, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth of Nations.Foreigners make up 42% of the population, and have a strong influence on Singaporean culture.Singapore is a very diverse and young country. It has many languages, religions, and cultures for a country its size.When Singapore became independent from the United Kingdom in 1963, most of the newly minted Singaporean citizens were uneducated labourers from Malaysia, China and India. Singaporeans who speak English as their native language tend to lean toward Western culture, while those who speak Chinese as their native language tend to lean toward Chinese culture and Confucianism. Malay speaking Singaporeans tend to lean toward the Malay culture, which itself is closely linked to the Islamic culture.
Since the 1990s, the government has been promoting Singapore as a centre for arts and culture, in particular the performing arts, and to transform the country into a cosmopolitan "gateway between the East and West".One highlight was the construction of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, a performing arts centre opened in October 2002.The national orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, plays at the Esplanade.The "national fruit" of Singapore is the durian.Jurong Bird Park, Sentosa Island, Singapore Zoo, Merlion Park, Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore History Museum, Thian Honk Keng Temple, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, St.Andrew's Cathedral, Helix Bridge, Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, Yueh Hai Ching Temple (Temple of Love), Istana, Peranakan Museum, Malay Heritage Centre, China Town, Changi Chapel & Museum, Fort Canning Park are the famous interesting places in Singapore.Popular sports in Singapore include football, basketball, cricket, swimming, sailing, table tennis and badminton.