Customs and traditions
In Singapore, Chinese, Indian, Malay and
Western culture live side by side. The different ethnic
groups have different customs and traditions, but at the
same time they see themselves as a national whole.
The national whole is sometimes compared to the local
dish rojak, where the peanut sauce unites four
distinctly different and separated ingredients from the
four different cultures.
Overview of the capital city of Singapore, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
The cultural differences become especially evident
around the dining table. The Chinese use sticks, the
Indians and Malays often eat with their hands and those
who carry with them Western culture use cutlery. They
eat all three meals a day, but the Indians do not eat
beef, the Malays do not eat pork and many Chinese prefer
vegetables. Staples on the dining table are rice,
vegetables, fish and chicken which are mixed with spices
such as chilli, tamarind, coconut and lime.
The nuclear family predominates in Singapore,
although polygamy is permitted among the Malays. Younger
people usually live with their parents until they get
married. Most often, the marriages occur within their
own cultural sphere. Most people adhere to "their"
culture in private, but there are rarely any such
barriers in working life.
The difference between private and public is also
evident in social contexts, as distance and formality
are common in meeting new acquaintances between and in
working life. This is especially true between men and
women. Respect for the elderly is usually shown, but
social status in the form of wealth and professional
role plays a big role. A younger, but successful man is
usually shown more respect than an older, less able man.
The woman plays a minor role for the most part.
Every year, a number of colorful celebrations are
celebrated according to the country's different
religious traditions. For example, the Chinese New Year
is celebrated with dragon dances, fireworks and parades.
The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and the closing
party of al-fitr are celebrated in the Malay
quarter and until the late spring the Buddhists
celebrate vesak by releasing cage birds free as a
symbol of the liberated soul. The Dragon Boat Festival
and the Halloween celebration are other great