2014.06.07 singapore skuline

With four national languages, a multicultural population and its infamous chewing gum ban, Singapore is one fascinating country. Singapore is a major financial hub and its airport makes it an easy flight from almost anywhere in the world. And recently we found 10 lesser-known facts about the Southeast Asian island nation that can make up for even the most embarrassing tourism campaign mistake. Click below to find out where Singapore got its name, what’s up with their time zone and why some people love hugging vending machines there!

1. Forget the national anthem? You may have it in your wallet

If you are ever in a pinch and need to remember the lyrics of Singapore’s national anthem “Onward Singapore,” you might be in luck if you’re carrying around some cash. The Singapore government decided to help out those who might forget the words, so the entire anthem is printed on the back of the S$1000 (US$800) bill. Although, carrying around a bill with that high of a value just to be able to recite the national anthem might not be the best option. Plus, the lyrics are printed in extremely small type.

Get out those magnifying glasses if you need to unexpectedly sing the anthem!

2014.06.07 singapore 1k billImage: banknotenews

 2. No lions in Lion City

The Malay word for the country, “Singapura,” literally means Lion City, which would explain the lion statues you can see around Singapore. According to legend, the founder of Singapore named his kingdom “Lion City” because he saw a lion on the island and saw it as an omen of good luck. Unfortunately, zoologists doubt that he would have seen a lion in Singapore since there’s little evidence they have ever lived there. More likely, he saw a tiger or another kind of big cat native to the area.

▼ This “merlion” might actually be just as real as the existence of a lion in Singapore

2014.06.07 singapore merlionImage: Wikipedia

3. Member of the exclusive City-State club

At just 716 square kilometers (276 square miles), Singapore is one of the smallest countries in the world and is one of the few sovereign city-states. The entire island is basically run as one big city and the 5.2 million people living there make it the third-most-densely populated country in the world.

▼ More than one city? Singapore doesn’t have time for that

2014.06.07 singapore mapImage: Wikipedia

4. Hug a vending machine for a Coke

If you love Coke so much you’re willing to hug a machine, then head on over to the National University of Singapore where they have installed a vending machine that dispenses bottles of Coke to anyone that, quite literally, embraces their soda machine. Watch the video below to see the “Hug Me” Coke machine in action.

Video: YouTube (James Procter)

5. Fandi Ahmad: Singapore’s David Beckham

While the U.K. has their celebrity soccer star, David Beckham, Singapore also has a sporting legend that has made him a national icon. Fandi Ahmad played in the national soccer team from 1979 to 1997 where he scored 55 goals and joined the Asian Football Confederation Hall of Fame. He now coaches a Singapore soccer club. He married South African model Wendy Jacobs in 1996 and they have five kids.

▼ Bend it like…Ahmad?

2014.06.07 singapore bechamImage: Wikipedia

6. No one knows where Singapore is

Singapore is an independent country, but many people might mistakenly say it’s part of Malaysia, Indonesia or other larger countries in the area. And some may think that Singapore is part of China given its heavy Chinese influence. One such example is from the U.S. cartoon “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” where the characters think Singapore is in Malaysia. Watch the video below and insert your own facepalm.

Video: YouTube (calsilver)

7. Singapore’s ever-changing time zone

Since 1905, Singapore has changed their time zone six times. From 1933 to 1941, the country moved their clocks forward 20 minutes for a Daylight Saving Time, but then changed it to 30 minutes. During the Japanese occupation in World War II, Singapore’s clocks were in sync with Tokyo—1 hour and 30 minutes ahead of the former time zone. The most recent switch in 1982 synchronized it with neighboring Malaysia as well as mainland China and Hong Kong.

8. World-record walkers

Apparently the British Council researches walking speeds around the world and has determined that the people of Singapore are the world’s fastest, walking about 6.15 km per hour. Tourists planning on a visit to Singapore should take note and maybe take a quick lesson on speed walking before their trip.

▼ Some New Yorkers preparing for a trip to Singapore

2014.06.07 singapore walking Image: Tumblr (lovingmemmoriess)

9. Singapore Five-0

The American police TV series Hawaii Five-0 filmed a two-part season finale in Singapore in the 1970s. The Season 11 episode “The Year of the Horse” is about a Singapore drug ring that is trying to take root in Hawaii. Watch the video below to see a fight scene from the episode and check out some of the scenery in Singapore amidst the 1970s era fashion choices.

Video: YouTube (Thomaz Kravezuk)

10. Singapore, USA

Singapore, Michigan is a ghost town in the U.S. that was destroyed in a fire in 1871. Now the town is completely buried under sand from nearby Lake Michigan, but a yacht club in the area still uses the name.

▼ A sign marking where America’s Singapore used to be

2014.06.07 singapore michigan Image: waymarking.com

Did any of these Singapore facts surprise you or do you have any fun facts about Singapore? Let us know in the comments below what you thought of this Singapore trivia session!

Feature Image: Wikipedia
Source: Yahoo! News Singapore