Social Organization of Singapore
November 7, 2010
My research will be based on Political, Economic, and Social Organization of Singapore—an industrialist city-state. Even though Singapore's history dates from the 11th century, the island was little known to the West until the 19th century. Singapore is one of the World's largest ports, because the city of Singapore has become a major port, with trade exceeding that of Malaya's, Malacca and Penang combined. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of steamships launched an era of prosperity for Singapore as transit trade expanded throughout Southeast Asia (Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 2010). Singapore is a very multicultural country, but education through social studies has brought the country into a social cohesive unit (Ho, 2009). Singapore is a Republic—a one-house Parliament makes the county’s laws. A prime minister leads a Cabinet, which carries out the operations of the Government. “The ruling political party in Singapore, reelected continuously since 1959, is the People's Action Party (PAP), headed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong” (Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 2010). The president (chief of state) previously exercised only ceremonial duties. As a result of 1991 constitutional changes, the president is now elected and exercises expanded powers over legislative appointments, government budgetary affairs, and internal security matters. The PAP believes that rationalism and expertise is the proper approach to social and economic problems that may arise (Bellows, 1985). “The PAP has held the overwhelming majority of seats in Parliament since 1966, when the opposition Barisan Sosialis Party (Socialist Front), a left-wing group that split off from the PAP in 1961, resigned from Parliament, leaving the PAP as the sole representative party” (Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 2010). “Singapore became independent in August 1965, and has had compulsory voting since the late 1950s (every Singaporean 21 years of age or older must vote). Between 1968 and October 1981, in four national parliamentary elections and innumerable by-elections, the PAP won every seat” (Bellows, 1985). The maximum term in Parliament is five years. The president appoints nominated members of Parliament from nominations by a special select committee. Nominated members of Parliament (NMPs) enjoy the same privileges as members of Parliament, but cannot vote on constitutional matters or expenditure of funds (Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 2010). Members of Parliament serve only two-and-a-half-year terms. As stated above, the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of steamships launched an era of prosperity for Singapore as transit trade expanded throughout Southeast Asia (Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 2010). Also, in the 20th century, the Automobile industry’s need for rubber and the packaging industry’s need for tin assisted Singapore in becoming one of the World’s major ports. Singapore’s location among major sea lanes, and its industrious population, is what gives this small country its economic importance (Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 2010). “Upon independence in 1965, Singapore was faced with a lack of physical resources and a small domestic market. In response, the Singapore Government adopted a pro-business, pro-foreign investment, export-oriented economic policy framework, combined with state-directed investments in strategic government-owned corporations. Singapore's economic strategy proved a success, producing real growth that averaged 7.8% from 1965 to 2009” (Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 2010). In addition to this economic strategy, the end of the cold war brought about less tension between Asian counties, which brought the region into a more globalizing production process (Heng, 2006, pg. 2). In the...
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