Mind-blowing Singapore facts
Whether you’ve lived on this island for 40 or 14 years, you’d never fail to find something intriguing about our island. Every day, I learn new things about our home land and yes, it might be cliché but Singapore never ceases to amaze me. While Singaporeans’ favourite pastimes include complaining, like talking about our expensive HDB or car prices, I’d say enough with that.
Let’s instead focus on the things we do love about our country like these Singapore facts that will amaze you. Here are some fun facts that you can whip out at any gathering.
Table of Contents
- Mind-blowing Singapore facts
- 1. Our land area has grown by >140 sqkm since the 60s
- 2. We are crowned the happiest country in Asia by the UN
- 3. Most of the tallest buildings in SG are exactly 280m high
- 4. In Singapore, you can get some of the biggest Yakult bottles in the world
- 5. You can find the national anthem in micro-text on the back of the $1000 note
- 6. Singapore is 1 of 3 surviving city-states in the world
- 7. Cartoon Network thought Singapore was in Malaysia
- 8. Singapore has changed our timezone 6 times since 1905
- 9. We are the fastest walkers on this planet
- 10. The youngest person to pass the GCE ‘O’ Level Chemistry paper is a Singaporean
- 11. There’s another Singapore in the world
- Singapore facts you’ve probably never heard of
1. Our land area has grown by >140 sqkm since the 60s
Image credit: National Library Board
The price of your favourite chicken rice isn’t the only thing that’s going on an upwards trajectory. Unavoidable inflation aside, another thing that’s been steadily increasing is Singapore’s land area. After decades of land reclamation, our Little Red Dot has increased 140sqkm in size since the 60s. That’s a 24% increase that’s about the size of 10 Pasir Ris towns.
2. We are crowned the happiest country in Asia by the UN
How are you really? Turns out the answer for the average Singaporean is “pretty good” – at least according to UN statistics. In their 2023 World Happiness Report, Singapore is ranked the happiest country in Asia, and the 25th happiest country in the world based on factors like GDP per capita, social support and life expectancy.
In 2022, we were ranked 2nd in Asia, right after Taiwan.
3. Most of the tallest buildings in SG are exactly 280m high
Bigger is better and better is bigger – so the fact that many buildings in Singapore are exactly 280m tall is a rather strange phenomenon. Republic Plaza, UOB Plaza One and even the newly-built CapitaSpring are not an inch above 280m in height, according to Wikipedia. It’s not because of feng shui and certainly not a limitation in architectural prowess. Buildings are simply not allowed to go over the height limit of 280m to keep the airspace clear for planes. Singapore will be devoid of any mega-sized skyscrapers like Hong Kong and NYC for as long as the rule remains.
Guoco Tower – the tallest building in Singapore.
Image credit: SOM
Guoco Tower is the only exception to the rule with a towering height of 284m, after it secured permission from authorities to go over the height limit.
If, on the flip side, you’re now curious about the deepest points of Singapore, check out our article on Singapore’s underground.
4. In Singapore, you can get some of the biggest Yakult bottles in the world
Image credit: EMRS
When I was younger, I used to pester my mother to buy me Yakult every time we went to the supermarket. They didn’t sell the packets with all-grape flavours back then so every time we bought it, I would rush to ‘chope’ the Grape flavoured one.
I’ve always hated how Yakult bottles are really small but actually, the Yakult bottles in Singapore are the largest compared to those overseas, and of course the most expensive. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind paying for a 500ml Yakult.
Singapore’s Yakult bottles are 100ml in size, on par with China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the bottles are sized 65ml in Japan and 80ml in Malaysia.
5. You can find the national anthem in micro-text on the back of the $1000 note
Image credit: The Banknote Society
Yes, these big bucks might no longer be in circulation but if you manage to get your hands on one, flip it over and see if you can spot the lyrics to the national anthem. I think it’s a pretty cool idea and I wish they’d do so for every other note.
6. Singapore is 1 of 3 surviving city-states in the world
Another fellow city-state: Vatican City.
Image credit: Diliff
There are only 3 city-states in the world – Monaco, the Vatican City and Singapore. It’s weird to think that we don’t have a capital. We’re also both a country and a state which I guess makes it easier when you want to type out your mailing address.
7. Cartoon Network thought Singapore was in Malaysia
Where Is Singapore?
Yes, you read that right. In Season 3 Episode 5 of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Terrence and Mac battle it out as to where Singapore was. If you watch the video above, you’d know that they got it all wrong.
It’s pretty baffling how some people still think we’re in Malaysia…and others still think we’re in China.
8. Singapore has changed our timezone 6 times since 1905
For 36 years, Singapore was 7.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). In 1982, the Singapore Standard Time was redefined to be 8 hours ahead of GMT.
The story behind it is that East Malaysia was GMT +8.00 but West Malaysia was GMT +7.50. Malaysia decided to standardise their timing but it’d be awkward for Singapore to be the only one who’s 7.5 hours ahead of GMT. So, they changed it.
But come to think of it, have we been cheated of half an hour our whole lives? Food for thought.
9. We are the fastest walkers on this planet
According to research by the British Council, Singaporeans have the fastest walking speed. On average, we walk a distance of 18 metres in 10.55 seconds. That’s approximately 6.15km in an hour!
Here’s a fun fact: That’s also how fast bumblebees fly. Guess that’s why they always say Singaporeans are busy bees…
10. The youngest person to pass the GCE ‘O’ Level Chemistry paper is a Singaporean
Image credit: PRWeb
Ainan Celeste Cawley was only 7 years and 1 month when he took the GCE ‘O’ Level Chemistry paper and passed, making him the youngest in the world to do so.
Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to be a child prodigy. At 16 I was still trying to cope with the fact that I had to sit for a major exam, how did a 7-year-old kid do it?
11. There’s another Singapore in the world
Image credit: rossograph
Say what? Guess our name isn’t so special anymore. But alas, Singapore is also the name of a famous Michigan ghost town.
Today, the town lives on only in the name of the Singapore Yacht Club which is located at the end of the town. Don’t get confused though, the yacht club back here is called The Republic of Singapore Yacht Club!
Singapore facts you’ve probably never heard of
If you already knew all the Singapore facts above then congratulations – you’re one super patriotic Singaporean. But if not then now you’ve got new facts to share with your friends.
Check out our other fun articles that will reveal more secret sides of our home:
- Secret facts about Singapore
- Things that nearly happened to Singapore
- Hidden CBD landmarks
- Singapore legends and myths
Cover image adapted from: rossograph, Google Maps
Originally published on 18th March 2014. Last updated by Kezia Tan on 5th July 2023.
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