Singapore offers an excellent example of how people of many different races and creeds can live and work together in harmony while retaining their own distinctive cultures.
For decades, Chinese, Indians, Malays, Indonesians and people from the rest of Asia and beyond have flooded into the island, providing their new homeland with its most important resource - a hardworking, adaptable and resilient workforce.
This multi-cultural mixture enriches Singaporean life in many ways, with each group retaining its own unique traditions, delicious cuisines, fascinating costumes, festivals and religions.
The Chinese, who make up 76% of the population, have come from almost every province in China, bringing with them their encyclopedic variety of culture and cuisines and their strong disposition towards family links.
The Malays, just over 15% of the population, are also a vital force in Singapore. Among their qualities are their strong sense of community, their wonderfully spicy cooking and their Islamic religious values.
The Indians, comprising 6.5% of the population, add a third dimension to Singaporean society with their strong sense of family, love of colourful dress, their remarkable curries and striking religious festivals.
The traditions and artistic legacies of these communities live on for all to enjoy in the ethnic districts of Chinatown, Arab Street and Little India. And, while Singaporeans may come from different ethnic backgrounds, they tend to share many of the same qualities - a love of family, a penchant for hard work and a pride in their origins.
Singapore is home too for a Eurasian community some descended from the Portuguese who colonised Malacca in Malaysia in the 16th century. There are also small Arab, Armenian and jewish communities, settlers who made an early mark on Singaporean life.
Add to this rich blend of races a thrivingEuropean community plus a large group of expatriate professionals, and a true picture of Singapore's extraordinary cultural diversity begins to emerge.
Singapore has four official languages - English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. Most Singaporeans are proficient in at least two languages - one of them English.
communi-ties, while culturally diverse, live harmoniously together.
Activities such as the Courtesy Campaign contribute to this. Introduced
in 1979, this annual event brings Singaporeans together in an
on-going drive to improve everyday standards of courtesy. The
results help make Singapore a warmer, friendlier place for residents
and visitors alike.