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Clearly you've never been to Singapore...
Clearly, the writers of Pirates of the Caribbean hadn't either... the place is depicted as a large town at the close of the era of pirates, when it was in fact a swampy island until being bought up at the start of the era of empires by Sir Stamford Raffles, who was just about the opposite of Lord Cuttler Beckett and quite a guy. To be fair, though, they got other things right: Chinese formed a big part of the population of Singapore when it did exist and the Straits of Malacca by which its sites are even today a (comparative) pirate hotspot. Also, prior to becoming a Crown Colony in the latter part of the 19th Century, it did had a reputation of being a Wretched Hive with crime, corruption and opium rampant; a derisive nickname given to it at the time was "Sin Galore."
A British colony for a while, it was captured by the Japanese in 1942 after they came in via the jungle on bicycles - the naval guns were pointed out to sea. Winston Churchill called it the worst disaster in British history.
Similiarly, Singapore is not made of iron ore, although it probably isn't a good idea to fall asleep while you're ashore.
Singapore is an island city-state in South-East Asia, about 700 square kilometers in total land area, splitting from Malaysia in 1965, a state it still has some disputes with. Ties between the citizens of both countries remain extremely close, since almost everyone has friends, family, and/or business on the other side of the causeway.
It's a somewhat illiberal democracy, with very frequent use of the death penalty (400 hangings between 1991 and 2004 - note that the place has a population of 4 million), including for drug trafficking. The use of caning is also common as a punishment, as an American tourist by the name of Michael Fay found out the hard way in 1994 after being arrested for theft and vandalism. It has some of the most restrictive laws on the planet - criminalizing homosexuality, littering, the possession of porn, the sale of chewing gum, amongst others. William Gibson once memorably described the place as "Disneyland with the death penalty", and the locals make jokes about this - you can get T-shirts saying "Singapore is a fine city", enumerating most of the fines one is likely to incur for various misdemeanours. The government finally passed laws allowing controlled gambling a couple of years back, and two large casino resorts have recently been completed (though the term "Integrated Resort" is preferred). With the new tourism spike, the government is loosening some of their stricter laws.
The 15th wealthiest country per capita in the world (5th by purchasing power, 3rd if you go by IMF data), it is very densely populated, mostly of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian ethnicity. The general population is going some interesting developments, with local Singaporean emigrating to other countries seeking greener pasture while foreigners coming to country seeking high paying jobs. This has been much of talk of the local population, creating the saying "National Service for the locals, jobs for the foreigners", National Service referring to the mandatory 2 years of fulltime military service for male Singapore citizens.
Due to the high population density, much of the population live in high-rise government developments. Some of the newer developments are nice enough to be mistaken for private condominiums, although some unsatisfied people have claimed that a few of the newer apartments are as small as the 'pigeonhole' apartments made back in the old days, only more modern.
Singapore is ostensibly a representative democracy, although some political science professors would disagree rather vehemently. The primary political party, the People's Action Party (PAP), has dominated elections since self-government in 1959 much like Malaysia, but their lead slipped in the 2006 election. However, since the 2008 Malaysian election where opposition parties achieve significant gains, the PAP has become weary changing political tides. In the 2011 election, the PAP's lead slipped once more, with various important constituencies nearly taken by the opposition  There is speculation that Singapore might end up as a two-party system with the Worker's Party (WP), especially with the first leader of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew and unofficial leader of PAP, finally retiring.
Some military analysts rank the Singapore Armed Forces as the best equipped and trained force in the region, since its highly-educated pool of conscripts allows it to invest in more advanced military technology. Recruitment is mostly on a conscription basis using a system similar to Israel's, with able-bodied male citizens above a certain age (sixteen and a half, usually deferred until eighteen after schooling) serving one and a half to two years of National Service, followed by Reservist duty annually. Note that 16-year-olds would be considered child soldiers, according to an optional protocol to the Geneva Convention.
There is also the Singapore Civil Defence Force, which started as a normal fire brigade and was made what is has become when the government decided to upgrade the organisation following the infamous Hotel New World incident in the 1980s, coincidentally the time when the murderer Adrian Lim was at large (he has since been made to dance the hemp fandango). The SCDF is also manned by conscripted full-time NS men, and now encompasses the handling of biochemical and radioactive materials, as well as first aid.
Special mention must be made of the local flavor of "English" - while Engrish is also commonplace due to lazy translators, Singlish is what gives the Singaporean experience its unique, 101% genuine feel (the extra 1% is because we're kiasu (scared to lose out)). Singlish is a bizarre amalgamation of a language, made mostly of English with choicy bits of Malay, Mandarin, and various Chinese dialects like Hokkien mixed in. Don't mock the language by speaking it poorly, as it'll only make you sound even sillier than we do.
Neil Humphreys, a thoroughly decent bloke from Dagenham, has written a really good trilogy of books on his life in Singapore, starting with Notes from an Even Smaller Island.  He has also gained a lot of weight from enjoying our fine international cuisine - but beware of the peanut soup.
- Singaporeans With Stealth Frigates - tropes describing the Singaporean military go here.
- Faye Valentine, Cowboy Bebop.
- G Gundam had one Mobile Fighter from Neo-Singapore (a source of Unfortunate Implications in his own right.)
- Jenny Quantum, The Authority.
- Tyger Tiger a.k.a Jessan Hoan, Marvel Comics.
- The titular character of Mr Kiasu, as written by the Kuppies (their pen name).
- The food-themed Roti, Kaya, and Guyu, superheroes who run a kaya-sandwich shop, also written by the Kuppies.
- Flocculencio from AH Dot Com the Series (and see below)
- The Siak (pronounced Sok) Republic in Ghost in the Shell.
- Madripoor, a No Communities Were Harmed version in Marvel Comics, although there is a separate Singapore in this universe.
- Singapore has been mentioned in at least one James Bond film. Seems like MI 6 has a tiny branch here.
- I Not Stupid, an affectionate satire of Singapore's former education system.
- The Singapore Wink a novel by Ross Thomas.
- AH Dot Com the Series featured a futuristic cyberpunk version of Singapore that has been launched into space and now orbits the Earth; it is the original home of crew member Flocculencio.
- Freeware RPG game Everlong has a small fishing village named Singapore. Given that Singapore used to be a fishing village, it might not be entirely coincidental.
Notable shows in Singapore:
- Under One Roof - A longrunning sitcom that featured the Tan family, who live in a HDB flat in Bishan. Tan Ah Teck (played by Moses Lim) is the awesome, if fat, father of the house, with many a humorous Aesop, all of which taking place "Long, long ago, in the Southern province of China."
- Phua Chu Kang - A sitcom (starring Gurmit Singh) about an Ah Beng construction contractor, his inept employees, and his family. Season One features a lot of Singlish, which was later cut as part of the government's Speak Good English campaign. They Hand Wave the dropping of Singlish by claiming that Chu Kang was sent for English lessons between seasons.
- Gotcha - a now-defunct show akin to Just for Laughs and Candid Camera.
- The Unbeatables - a Chinese-language drama with amazing gambling stunts, which starred two Great Old Names of Caldecott Hill, Zoe Tay and Li Nanxing.
- Triple Nine - An old crime drama starring the local Criminal Investigation Department, or CID.
- VR Man - A short, one-season wonder featuring a pager which the titular hero used as a transformation device. It was very heavy on the Narm.
- The Golden Pillow - Another popular Chinese-language drama.
- The Little Nyonya - A recent, extremely popular drama featuring the local culture of the Straits-born Chinese, or Peranakan folk. It's popularity has warranted a DVD release of the entire series.
- Makan Sutra - A little show which highlighted quite a lot of good places to eat in Singapore.
- Crimewatch - A police-sponsored documentary which occasionally highlights interesting case-files to show how good the boys in blue are at catching the crooks.
In a related vein, Singaporean adaptations of shows from overseas are equally popular, including local versions of American Idol, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, The Weakest Link, Deal or No Deal, Don't Forget The Lyrics, and Just for Laughs: Gags.
The Singaporean flag
- ↑ He was dissatisfied later that he managed to convey the city's "creepy anal retentive" authoritarianism better than its "unrelenting dullness"
- ↑ Ah, Marine Parade. The opposition won a good chunk of the votes and almost got the current Prime Minister's team to leave Parliament. Officially, it's because the opposition was just good. Unofficially, one of the PAP members in the running, a young woman named Tin Pei Ling, created a scandal with her apparent lack of intelligence and almost doomed the party. There are currently petitions for her to step down.
- ↑ In case you're wondering, the title references Bill Bryson's Notes From A Small Island, where the island was Britain.