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Singapore is an island nation located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It lies 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the Equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. At 704.0 km² (272 sq mi), it is one of the few remaining city-states in the world and the smallest country in Southeast Asia. Despite its small size, Singapore has a population of slightly over 5.6 million people, of which over half were born locally.

The British East India Company established a trading post on the island in 1819. The main settlement up to that point was a Malay fishing village at the mouth of the Singapore River. Several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people also lived around the coast, rivers and smaller islands. The British used Singapore as a strategic trading post along the spice route. It became one of the most important commercial and military centres of the British Empire. Winston Churchill called it "Britain's greatest defeat" when it was occupied by the Japanese during World War II. Singapore reverted to British rule in 1945. In 1963, it merged with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. Less than two years later it split from the federation and became an independent republic on August 9, 1965. Singapore joined the United Nations on September 21 that same year.

Since independence, Singapore's standard of living has increased. A state-led industrialization drive, aided by foreign direct investment has created a modern economy based on electronics manufacturing, petrochemicals, tourism and financial services alongside the traditional entrepôt trade. Singapore is the 3rd wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. The small nation has a foreign reserve of S$222 billion (US$147 billion).

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The Causeway, which was blown up in the battle
The Battle of Kranji was the second stage of the World War II Battle of Singapore. On 9 February 1942 the Japanese assaulted the north-western front of the British colony of Singapore. Their primary objective was to secure a second beachhead after their successful assault at Sarimbun Beach on February 8, in order to breach the Jurong-Kranji defence line as part of their southward thrust towards the heart of Singapore City. Defending the shoreline between the Kranji River and the Johor-Singapore Causeway was the Australian 27th Brigade, led by Brigadier Duncan Maxwell, and one irregular company.

On 10 February the Japanese forces suffered their heaviest losses while moving up the Kranji River, which caused them to panic and nearly aborted the operation. However, a series of miscommunications and withdrawals by Allied forces in the ensuing battles allowed the Japanese to swiftly gain strategic footholds, which eventually led to the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942. The terrain around Kranji was primarily mangrove swamps and tropical forest intersected by streams and inlets. The shoreline between the Kranji River and the Johor-Singapore Causeway, nearly four kilometers long, was defended by the Australian 27th Brigade, led by Australian Brigadier Duncan Maxwell.

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Credit: Huaiwei (9 August 2004)

The Tanglin Police Division (or 'E' Division, Chinese: 东陵警区) is a police division of the Singapore Police Force. It manages a varied, highly urbanised area of central Singapore, which includes the public housing towns of Bishan, Toa Payoh and parts of Kallang, large areas of private housing areas such as those in Bukit Timah and Novena, as well as key commercial areas such as Orchard Road and Clarke Quay.

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Selected Biography

Han Sai Por (Chinese: 韩少芙; pinyin: Hán Shàofú;born 19 July 1943) is a Singaporean sculptor. A graduate of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), East Ham College of Art, Wolverhampton College of Art (now the School of Art and Design of the University of Wolverhampton) and Lincoln University, New Zealand, she worked as a teacher and later as a part-time lecturer at NAFA, the LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, and the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, before becoming a full-time artist in 1997.

Though Han is probably best known for her stone sculptures with organic forms, her oeuvre is broad. Today, her sculptures can be found in Osaka and Shōdoshima, Kagawa Prefecture, in Japan; Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak in Malaysia; and Washington, D.C.. For her contributions to art, Han was conferred the Cultural Medallion for Art in 1995. She had won awards from the Lalit Kala Akademi in India, as well as the Outstanding City Sculpture Award in China

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Did You Know

Photo of the Singapore Power Building on Aug 07
  • ... that Dragon's Teeth Gate, an ancient navigational landmark, was documented in one of the earliest historic records of Singapore?

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Harbour in Singapore, circa 1870
Credit: sgbooks

A panoramic view of the roads and harbour in Singapore in the 1870s

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