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    Overall this is a fascinating country

    I’ve never been to Singapore and for the purpose of this review, I haven’t checked on the internet or with anyone that lives in Singapore as to whether the information is correct as I think this would hinder my review. I am solely basing my review on Singapore on the information inside this Culture Smart! book. I read the Culture Smart! Singapore book in one sitting as I found it exceptionally interesting learning what the authors Angela Milligan and Patricia Voute thought about the country’s traditions, cultures, and working life, among many more subjects. The book is split into nine chapters covering different areas, including:- – Land and People – Values and Attitudes – Customs and Traditions – The Singaporeans at Home – Food and Drink – Time Out – Travel, Health, and Safety – Business Briefing – Communicating At the start of the book we are introduced to this small island country which is just 279 sq miles and who gained independence from Malaysia in 1965, thus having a diverse population made up of immigrants from three main countries – China, Malaysia and India living harmoniously together. When the country first gained independence it was feared that it would never thrive. However, just 15 years after gaining its independence it had put peoples worries to bed and is now a country that has one of the highest home-ownership in the world, alongside one of the lowest crime rates. Even the airport – Changi Airport – has been voted the best in the world for six years running. From what the authors observe the people in the country are very much people pleasers. They don’t like to cause offense, they don’t get into debates about government, politics, race, religion or tickle-tackle gossip. They are friendly people that like to be helpful and kind. They work hard and have a deep respect for their families, friends and the country. Education is very important to them and they also still have National Service which means all males at 16 1/2 years old must attend for two years (deferment for studies is allowed). There are strict rules and lots of traditions to adhere to, including:- Fines for – Chewing gum without a doctors prescription – Spitting in public – Jaywalking within 50 metres of a crossing – Dropping litter – Feeding the pigeons – Not flushing a public toilet – Walking naked around your house with the curtains open – Smoking in any public space. Traditions depend on whether you are with a Malay, Chinese or Indian Singaporean. So if you are planning to travel to Singapore make sure you read this section carefully, especially the section about being invited to someone’s home as there are lots of traditions that us Brits wouldn’t think would offend someone, such as crossing your legs or using your left hand to eat, shake or pass a gift. Also never refuse a drink! Throughout this 168-page travel book, you will find lots of information for whether you are travelling as a tourist, moving to Singapore or doing business in the country. I found some of the information quite alarming, such as canning was still a given punishment, not just to male criminals under the age of 50, but to students at school too. I also found some things remarkable such as there are no surcharges allowed on credit card transactions, the speed limit on the island is 30 miles per hour, unless on an expressway where it is 50 miles per hour and you don’t need an appointment to see a GP – I wish that was the case in the UK! Overall this is a fascinating country that I would love to visit one day and I will be making sure that I take this book with me as it is filled to the brim with useful information that was easy to understand and broken down into manageable sections.
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