Known as the cleanest and greenest city in Asia, Singapore is an island located just north of the equator in Southeast Asia and is one of the world’s most prosperous nations. Singapore was founded as a British trade colony in 1819 and was under British rule until 1959. Full independence as part of Malaysia came in 1963, but after a short couple of years of unification, Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965 as a result of differences in political beliefs. Since then, Singapore has been led by the People’s Action Party which has dominated elections under a parliamentary government.
Singapore is known as one of Asia’s economic ‘tigers,’ and its economy ranks second out of 41 countries in the Asian-Pacific region. Its large, free port is among the busiest in the world and contributes significantly to Singapore’s position as one of the greatest commercial centers in the world. Due to its booming economy, the nation is becoming increasingly materialistic, and many Singaporeans are preoccupied with pursuing the five C’s: career, cash, car, club, and condo. Family structures and relationships, traditionally strong, are suffering today because they are no longer a societal priority.
Singapore is a multi-religious society, with Buddhism (40 percent), Islam (13 percent), Hinduism (4 percent), and Christianity (16 percent) practiced. Religious tolerance and harmony are government priorities and resolute action is taken when these are threatened. The Church is growing, though Christians struggle to maintain their spiritual fervor in the highly materialistic, competitive, and achievement-oriented culture. Associated with these is an underlying sense of insecurity, which also affects the Church. Many Christians struggle to prioritize spiritual riches and development over worldly riches and personal achievement. Excessive competitiveness within society has also sub-consciously crept into the Church, weakening unity among congregations. The many achievements of the nation and the Church feed a sense of pride that at times seeks to withhold glory from God. Pray that Christians will have Spirit-led sensitivity and wisdom to present Singaporeans with a Christ-glorifying witness of vibrant and relevant faith in contemporary society.