MONETARY UNIT: The Singapore dollar (s$) of 100 cents is a freely convertible currency. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 dollar and notes of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 10,000 dollars. s$1 = us$0.60606 (or us$1 = s$1.65) as of 2005.
Best-ever crustacean dish
Chili crab was created in 1950 by Singaporean chef Cher Yaw Tian and her husband Lim Choon Ngee. It's since become the unofficial national dish of a food-loving nation. Restaurants and coffee shops serve it by the ton nightly.
The runner-up crustacean dish, Singapore's signature black pepper crab, would take center stage anywhere else.
Fashion Week for the rest of us
Unlike the official fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, London and New York, which are open only to media, buyers and celebs, Singapore Fashion Week sells tickets to the general public.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is in force, but some local measures are used.
Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffl es (1781–1826) played a major role in the establishment of a British presence on Singapore Island in 1819; he introduced policies that greatly enhanced Singapore's wealth, and he suppressed the slave trade. Raffl es also distinguished himself as a collector of historical and scientific information. The English writer and educator Cyril Northcote Parkinson (1909–93), formerly a professor at the University of Singapore, became internationally known as the originator of Parkinson's Law. Singapore's dominant contemporary figure is Lee Kuan Yew (b.1923), prime minister of the
Republic of Singapore from 1965 to 1990. His son, Lee Hsien Loong (b.1952), became the nation's third prime minister and second from the same family in 2004.
6. Cocktails beneath lantern-lit skies
Intimate, lantern-strewn bars dot rooftops from the Central Business District (Southbridge overlooking the river, Lantern Bar overlooking the bay) to Chinatown (The Rooftop Garden). With year-round balmy evenings, the city's many rooftop bars are open most nights, unlike in other cities where they close down once summer is over.
No waiting around
When it comes to public services, visitors seldom have to wait. Strict performance targets at the airport, for instance, mean travelers don't have to loiter around the luggage carousel.
The first bag off a wide-body airplane has to be on the carousel in 12 minutes; the last has to arrive within 30 minutes. It just gets quicker from there -- Singapore trains always run on time.
Sharing popcorn (among other things) simplified
At Gemini cinema, the comfy seats come two by two and with moveable arm rests, making a cozy space for couples.
English no one else understands
It never fails to amuse locals when foreigners try (and fail miserably) to use Singlish, Singapore's own animated colloquial slang. But that doesn't mean visitors shouldn't learn a couple of expressions.
When bargaining, you can say: "So expensive! Cheaper can? I no money lah."
Singlish is a blend of the country's many languages and dialects, including the Queen's English, Bahasa Melayu, Tamil, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Bengali and Punjabi. While some Singaporeans frown on Singlish as an embarrassing crime against grammar, others see it as a colorful and unique expression of the nation's multiculturism.
They're even more super at night.