Singapore STories - Indian shopkeeper


The modern skyline of Singapore’s business district is a glittering tribute to the commerce that has long been at the heart of Singapore.   

From the 1800s, anyone could enter and trade freely in Singapore. The safe harbour drew merchants, artisans and workers from all over the world and the place buzzed with business.

Progress in both technology and the skills of the population has led Singapore’s economy to diversify and include industries such as financial services and research and development.

The key drivers of today’s sophisticated economy are innovation and technology, and they are shaping Singapore’s future as the marketplace of choice for international investors and an incubator for future global brands.

Singapore STories Exhibition - HDB aerial


The relationship between Singapore and the people who call it home is more than a fact of geography; the connection goes beyond a birthplace, mailing address or calling code.

From a colony of immigrants to a nation, Singapore and its people have been bound by shared allegiance to the values of equality and progress for all. This spirit has motivated people to come together to build society in six key areas – housing, education, transport, defence, healthcare and the environment.

Today, Singapore is one of the world’s top places to live in; its home ownership rates are among the world’s highest and its education system ranks among the best. It is such achievements, as well as the everyday idiosyncrasies of life, that tie the heartstrings of people to Singapore and inspire them to build a smart, sustainable home for the future.


Singapore is small in size but its network of alliances around the world has helped it punch above its weight. It has now become a global leader that other countries look to.

It was as a colony of the powerful maritime British Empire that Singapore became an important international trading port, and it was merger with Malaya in 1963 that gave it autonomy. The merger later failed but Independent Singapore lost no time in building strategic alliances worldwide, which brought economic cooperation and security backing that shored up its sovereignty.

These global alliances have helped shape Singapore’s reputation as a trusted partner in matters of free trade and international security, and allow the country to thrive despite its small size.


Singapore takes its play seriously.

From building new, cutting-edge sports centres, to making them more accessible to the public, a concerted effort is under way to keep sports at the heart of the community.

Since the 1800s, individuals have come together to form sports teams and clubs. Community centres have also organised sporting activities for the public.  But sport is more than just about fostering a healthy society and providing recreation for the population.  It evokes a sense of solidarity and pride in Singapore, through the triumphs and disappointments of its sportsmen on the world stage.

And as a sporting nation, Singapore is marking its place on the world map by hosting marquee events such as Formula One, the South-east Asian Games and the World Rugby Sevens Series.


Food, fashion and the arts: These cornerstones of life in Singapore offer a window into the soul of Singapore and Singaporeans.

Hawker centres, food courts and restaurants in malls reflect the intersection of passion and convenience in everyday life. These one-stop dining destinations are often close at hand, yet the best spots inspire diners to spend more time queueing for the meal than eating it. 

In fashion, it is the marriage of style and convenience that has made shorts and flip-flops – wardrobe essentials in a tropical climate – mainstays of Singapore’s sartorial scene even as high street and luxury fashion brands become popular, and the people’s taste in fashion becomes more international. 

And in the arts, passion mixes with profit. Audiences and markets are continually sought in Singapore and overseas to fund the creation of arts and accrue soft power through cultural exchange.


Imagining Singapore’s Future

In Singapore, where master plans for the future build on the past and are carried out in the present, tomorrow is closer than it seems.

The legacy of Singapore’s founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and the occasion of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee, has inspired the public to dream big and imagine a collective future, 50 years from now.

The #BuildSG2065 showcase highlights ideas contributed by the public on how Singapore’s future buildings, homes and green spaces will transform the way people live, work and play. The ideas came from more than 2,000 entries to the #BuildSG2065 contest held by The Straits Times and real estate company CapitaLand to mark Singapore’s 50th anniversary.