Here’s a guide to Singapore’s diverse melting pot of cultures and races. It’s a vibrant brew that gives the country its unique character.
The Chinese are the largest ethnic group in Singapore, making up almost three-quarters of the country’s population. It’s not surprise then that Chinese culture – from the language and food to entertainment and festivals - features prominently in Singapore.
Most of them made the trek here from the southern provinces of China, including Fujian and Guandong. Those from the Hokkien and Teochew dialect groups are the most populous, followed by members of the Cantonese, Hainanese and other smaller groups.
Many came here to escape harsh conditions at home and ended up as coolies, or labourers. Others showed a flair for making money, and many of the city’s notable entrepreneurs were of Chinese descent. Today, Singaporean Chinese are well represented across different segments of society – from politics and business to sports and entertainment circles.
While their traditional culture has since been blended with other local ethnicities and Western influences, the festival of Chinese New Year is still celebrated with much gusto; a raucous reminder of what it means to be Chinese.