Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south. Singapore is highly urbanised but almost half of the country is covered by greenery. More land is being created for development through land reclamation. Singapore had been a part of various local empires since it was first inhabited in the second century AD. Modern Singapore was founded as a trading post of the East India Company by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 with permission from the Sultanate of Johor. The British obtained full sovereignty over the island in 1824 and Singapore became one of the British Straits Settlements in 1826. Singapore was occupied by the Japanese in World War II and reverted to British rule after the war. It became internally self-governing in 1959. Singapore united with other former British territories to form Malaysia in 1963 and became a fully independent state two years later after separation from Malaysia. Since then it has had a massive increase in wealth, and is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The economy depends heavily on the industry and service sectors. Singapore is a world leader in several areas: It is the world's fourth-leading financial centre, the world's second-biggest casino gambling market, and the world's third-largest oil refining centre. The port of Singapore is one of the five busiest ports in the world, most notable for being the busiest transshipment port in the world. The country is home to more US dollar millionaire households per capita than any other country. The World Bank notes Singapore as the easiest place in the world to do business. The country has the world's third highest GDP PPP per capita of US$59,936, making Singapore one of the world's wealthiest countries.
Resorts World Sentosa
Resorts World Sentosa is an integrated resort on the island of Sentosa, off the southern coast of Singapore. The key attractions include one of Singapore's two casinos, a Universal Studios theme park and Marine Life Park, which includes the world's largest oceanarium. The S$6.59 billion (US$4.93 billion) resort is developed by Genting Singapore, listed on the SGX. It 23 is one of the world's most expensive casino properties, after Marina Bay Sands. The resort occupies over 49 hectares (121 acres) of land and, when fully open, will employ more than 10,000 people directly. Resorts World Sentosa is a sister resort to Resorts World Genting, Pahang, Malaysia and Resorts World Manila, Philippines. The soft launch of the first four hotels took place on 20 January 2010, with the FestiveWalk shopping mall following on February 1. The casino opened on 14 February the first auspicious day of the Chinese New Year. The Maritime Experiential Museum will open on October 15, 2011. The Marine Life Park will open in 2012. Resorts World Sentosa is also expected to hold large-scale exhibitions such as Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future.
Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort fronting Marina Bay in Singapore. Developed by Las Vegas Sands, it is billed as the world's most expensive standalone casino property at S$8 billion, including cost of the prime land. With the casino complete, the resort features a 2,561-room hotel, a 1,300,000-square-foot (120,000 m2) convention-exhibition centre, the 800,000-square-foot (74,000 m2). The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a museum, two large theatres, seven "celebrity chef" restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, an ice skating rink, and the world's largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines. The complex is topped by a 340m-long SkyPark with a capacity of 3,900 people and a 150m infinity swimming pool, set on top of the world's largest public cantilevered platform, which overhangs the north tower by 67m. The 20-hectare resort was designed by Moshe Safdie Architects. The local architect of record was Aedas Singapore, and engineering was provided by Arup and Parsons Brinkerhoff (MEP). The main contractor was Ssangyong Engineering and Construction .
The Merlion is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore. Its name combines "mer" meaning the sea and "lion". The fish body represents Singapore's origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means "sea town" in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore's original name — Singapura — meaning "lion city" or "kota singa". 24 The symbol was designed by Fraser Brunner, a member of the Souvenir Committee and curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium, for the logo of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in use from 26 March 1964 to 1997 and has been its trademarked symbol since 20 July 1966. Although the STB changed their logo in 1997, the STB Act continues to protect the Merlion symbol. Approval must be received from STB before it can be used. The Merlion appears frequently on STB-approved souvenirs. The merlion— a mythical creature with the body of a fish and the head of a lion— occurs in a number of different artistic traditions. Lions with fishtails can be found on Indian murals at Ajanta and Mathura, and on Etruscan coins of the Hellenistic period. Merlions, or ‘heraldic sea- lions’, are an established element of Western heraldry, and have been used on the coat of arms of the cities of Portsmouth and Great Yarmouth in the United Kingdom; the City of Manila; and the East India Company.