Baffled by the variety of faces of different colours, garments too bright for a northern eye, and strangely sounding English on the streets of Singapore, Russian visitors rush to ask their very first question: «What constitutes Singapore's population?»
There is no simple answer, for Singapore is a multicultural society similar to the â€˜racial mosaics' of Canada, the United States or the former Soviet Union. In Singapore's colonial era (1826-1959), the local population was segregated into different communities, living in racial enclaves and having very little, if any, mutual understanding. After Singapore gained independence in 1965, the Singapore government took over from British colonial rule and has since been working toward establishing social cohesion through a policy of multiracialism. This means that every race is viewed as â€˜separate but equal'.