Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-cultural country. Its people are generally classified into four core ethnicity, the ethnic Chinese, the Malays, the ethnic Indians and the Eurasians. English is the main working language and is introduced as a common language for the different ethnic groups to effectively communicate with one another. This is not to be confused with the national language, Malay.
There are four official languages in Singapore: Malay, English, Mandarin and Tamil, and to each different ethnic group, a plethora of cultures, practices, beliefs that are unique to them. Like how the ethnic Chinese have the branches of Teochew, Hokkien, Hainanese, Hakka, Cantonese and more. With that said, it is of no surprise to find that there are more than four cultures present in Singapore and chock full of history and interesting practices due to the array of cultures. This makes Singapore naturally a melting pot of cultures, defined by its inhabitants.
Constituting the largest percentage of the country’s citizen count, the Chinese Singaporeans are either of full or partial Chinese ancestry. Most Chinese Singaporeans trace their origins to southern China, predominantly Fujian, Hainan and Guangdong. This is true, especially in terms of various southern Chinese dialects, customs, cultural and religious practices in Singapore. While being similar to the Mainland Chinese in the mentioned terms, Chinese Singaporeans have been influenced by western cultures over the century (or more), thus developing their unique mix of lifestyle, thoughts and practices.
The definition of Malay Singaporeans or Singaporean Malays is given by the Government of Singapore and by intellectuals to broaden the concept of the Malay race and the related ethnic groups. They constitute the second largest percentage of the country’s citizens.
Most Malay Singaporeans can seek their ancestral roots from both Malaysia and Indonesia, mainly the Malay Peninsula, Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi. Although they came from various backgrounds of Malay countries they still share many similarities in terms of culture, language and religion.
The third largest ethnic group in Singapore is the Indian Singaporeans. They trace their roots to ancient India and are based on their respective ethnolinguistic backgrounds in the Indian subcontinent, mostly southern India and Sri Lanka. Most of them arrived in Singapore during the mass migration of Indians to the island during the founding of modern Singapore by the British in 1819, and the demand of both well-educated and unskilled migrants from India in the 1990s. With their vibrant cultures, beautiful art forms, traditions, religion and delicious foods, they are a wonderful and amazing spice in the melting pot of cultures here in Singapore.
They are descendants of the European and Asian communities, or what some may refer to as mixed blood. Their European ancestry traces to emigrants of Europe and all European colonies ( like Malacca, Penang, India, Ceylon, Indonesia and more) from the 16th to 20th centuries. They are typically associate with some Kristang or Portuguese-origin cultural practice and dine on Kristang Eurasian dishes like Devil’s curry or curry debal in Kristang.
Acceptance To Culture Differences
As you would already know, one of the beauties that Singapore beholds is the harmony of multi- races and cultural. Being constantly exposed to many differences between the four core ethnicities of the present, many Singaporeans and the permanent residents of Singapore find it easier to accept the differences of each lifestyle and may sometimes develop interests in and curiosity for the different cultures. Though there are some people who may feel that their own culture, race or religion is better ( just like many parts of the world), we believe that it is a matter of opinions and perspectives of things, just like how some feel that rural life is better than the urban one. But in general, the people living in Singapore are more accepting of different cultures, races, and lifestyles.
Endless Inspiration For Creatives
If you are in the creative industry and looking for a breakthrough or in the search for inspiration, Singapore may be the place for you to have ideas pouring in. Instead of tapping into the roots, cultures and religions that you have always known since birth, perhaps you can find a source that drives your work from the multi-racial and multi-cultural society in Singapore.
As ideas and new designs are often spurned after the notion of being inspired, locating yourself in Singapore—one that exposes you to multiple cultures, religion and races on a daily basis—will have you immersed in these creative and inspiring opportunity to create your masterpieces. Be it to create new forms of art, films, writing or products that exhibit a new culture through your own perspectives or marrying different cultures to create a refreshing take on them.
In short, the possibilities are endless and the inspiration from the different lifestyles are accessible for you to explore and to learn during this immersion. Staying in Singapore as a permanent resident can help you easily tap into the rich cultures, challenge and stimulate your mind while you push boundaries for your creations daily.