Explore Singapore, the Fascinating Mosaic of Cultural Diffusion!

Singapore History:

It would not be an exaggeration to say that millions of global tourists, flocking to Singapore in search of fashion, shopping, glitz and glamour hardly know the proper history of this island city-state located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It is a wonder, that being the smallest country in Southeast Asia, Singapore happens to be the site of several ancient port cities and a possession of several empires in its “not-so-well-known” history.

To start with, when Singapore was colonized by the United Kingdom in the 19th century, it was nothing but a small Malay fishing village, the first records of its existence being made in the Chinese texts as early as the 3rd century. The island which then bore the javanese name “Temasek” and which happened to be an outpost of the Sumatran Srivijaya (an ancient Malay kingdom on the island of Sumatra) empire, gradually rose to become a significant trading city. However, throughout history, it had to bear the brunt of several political conflicts, which altered its destiny in course of time.

For example, Singapore was a part of the Sultanate of Johore, until it was set ablaze by portuguese troops in the Malay-Portugal wars in 1617. Again, in 1819, British East India Company made a treaty with the Sultan of Johore and established Singapore as a trading post and settlement. Later, seeing instant growth and immigration from various ethnic groups to Singapore, it was declared a crown colony by Britain in 1867. Its status was soon raised to that of an entrepot town by the ruling British empire due to its strategic location along the busy shipping routes connecting Europe to China.

Destiny had written a few more dramatic twists and turns for Singapore, “The Lion City”, as it also called. Further occupied by the Japanese Empire in World War II, it finally became part of the merger which formed the “Federation of Malaysia. Finally, after much tussels with the Federal government in Kuala Lumpur, the nation ultimately acquired independence in 1965.

However, what we see today as a tousists’ paradise was for many years, a fledgling nation struggling for self-sufficiency. Overburdened with mass unemployment, housing shortages and lack of land and natural resources such as petroleum, it was a sociopolitically volatile and economically undeveloped nation, relying massively on foreign investment and government-led industrialisation. The situation started changing after Lee Kuan Yew joined as prime minister in 1959. Within three decades, his administration curbed unemployment, raised the standard of living and developed Singapore’s economic infrastructure, thus elevating Singapore into a developing nation and subsequently to developed status.

In the recent years, the country has tackled various disasters, the major ones being the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the SARS outbreak in 2003, and terrorist threats posed by the Jemaah Islamiah (JI).

Singapore Economy:

It is really heartening to know that with 63 surrounding islets and with a total land area of 682 square km, the main island of Singapore, with its market-based economy, has grown into a thriving centre of commerce and industry in just 150 years. Successfully increasing its manufacturing base after being a ‘backward fishing village’ for many years, Singapore today thrives on various industries including shipping (Singapore today is the busiest port in the world with over 600 shipping lines sending super tankers, container ships and passenger liners), electronic components manufacturing and above all its booming travel/tourism industry. The island city state located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula that has suffered various political and economic onslaughts is now home to four million people, also boasting of one of the highest per capita gross domestic products in the world. The economic progress of Singapore as a nation can be an enriching example of how a mere “fishing village” and a British naval base for decades can be reborn as an important financial, commercial and educational center for South East Asia.

The credit for this resurrection goes to the PAP Government, who, assisted by a far-sighted Dutch economic adviser, realized the need of maintaining its colonial inheritance by attracting foreign capital from the developed world to establish export-oriented industries, while at the same time building up a modern service sector in Singapore based on banking and financial services. Needless to say, this economic strategy proved a phenomenal success, producing real growth that averaged 8.0% from 1960 to 1999. Thus, relying on foreign investment and expertise, while at the same time building up strong state enterprises, the provision of infrastructure, housing, transport and other basic services for the local population began increasing notably, and the old Singapore consisting of overcrowded and unsanitary slums was demolished strategically.

In recent years, the trade policies of the Singapore government which included commitment to free trade, active export promotion strategy, the ‘open arms’ policy towards multinationals and the support of trade liberalization have made Singapore an economically stable nation. In due course of time, Singapore has also developed an export trade that thrives on medium and high-technology electronics components. Such trade undoubtedly focuses on the key-strengths of Singapore, including “hi-tech” sectors as information technology and bio-technology.

Singapore Culture/Religion:

A cosmopolitan society with harmonious interaction among various different races, the inherent cultural diversity of the island is a source of one of the prime attractions of the nation. To be precise, this cultural diversity is the ultimate result of the diversity of the population, the intermingling of various ethnic groups and the amalagamation of Chinese, Malay and Indian immigrants. It is not unnatural for one to witness a Malay wedding taking place beside a Chinese wedding at a void deck, on the ground floor of a HDB apartment block in the Singapore city. Infrequent intermarriage between the Chinese and Indians are not unusual occurrences in Singapore. Besides indigenous Malay population, Singapore houses a majority of third generation Chinese as well as Indian and Arab immigrants. Thus, the diverse mix of races result in a significant degree of cultural diffusion with its unique combination of ethnic groups. Maybe that is one of the reasons why one would find very little culture that is specifically Singaporean. However, there exists a Eurasian community and a community of Peranakan or “Straits Chinese,” (a community of mixed Chinese and Malay descent).

Such a significant degree of cultural diffusion has given Singapore a rich mixture of diversity for its young age. One of the prime examples is the Singapore’s cuisine, a massive cultural attraction for tourists. Chinese, Indian, Malay, Indonesian, Italian, Peranakan, Spanish, French, Thai and even Fusion tops the menu. To speak of art and culture, Singapore is identified globally an emerging cultural centre for arts and culture, including theatre and music. Often called the “gateway between the East and West”, it has seen the emergence of several performing arts groups, especially in theatrical arts. A number of productions were staged successfully and several groups, including TheatreWorks, have performed overseas too.

As a cosmopolitian and multi-racial society, Singapore has also been the seat of major festivals from various ethnic groups associated with their respective religions. Those again, reflect the diversity of races residing there. While the Chinese are predominantly followers of Buddhism and Taoism, there are even Christians, Catholics and “free thinkers”: ones who don’t confirm to any religious faith. Thus, in today’s Singapore, religions tend to cross racial boundaries and even merge in unusual ways, combining a little of the mysteries of the older generation with the realistic world of today.

Singapore Travel/Tourism:

Celebrated and renowned worldwide as a delightful haven for tourists, Singapore has been able to earn major revenues courtesy its booming tourism industry. With the rise of tourism in Singapore, there is a stiff competition among hotels to run for the best slot. There are cheap airline travels to Singapore today, including apex fare, discounted airfares to Singapore and the like. A seat for the world’s most delectable seafood, awe-inspiring sea-beaches, impressive bird-parks and night safaris that account for wonderful wildlife adventure, Singapore today happens to be a little dynamo in Southeast Asia, embodying the finest of both East and West. Truly, the dynamic city rich in contrast and colour captures the hearts of millions of global tourists with its harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture and above all, its unbridled energy.

While on entering this cosmopolitan, multi-cultural city, one experiences the mélange of flavours from around the globe, the multicultural heritage of the nation is bound to sweep one off his feet as he discovers an ever-changing mosaic of fascinating contrasts. Thus, the amalgamation of ancient beliefs and contemporary culture, of rich legacies and sleek modern living makes Singapore an ever-youthful, ever-enchanting nation for tourists.

Tourist interests in Singapore: While tourism is continually infesting ChinaTown, a cultural section of Singapore, with shops and street vendors offering a glimpse into the days of old, the Asian Civilizations Museum (a diverse cultural museum) is there to exhibit antiques like a ninth-century Buddha and a Chinese snuff box. For lovers of art and architecture, the Thian Hock Keng Temple (Historic Taoist temple near Singapore’s waterfront) happens to be a “must watch” religious site. Another wonder is the unforgettable Singapore Art Museum, which, since its opening in 1996, offers an immense rotating collection of Singaporean and Malay sculpture and art. If you are a connoisseur of shopping and fine dining, there is Orchard Road, the ritzy shopping and dining area, often referred to as the “Park Avenue” of Singapore. For the lovers of spectacular underwater beauty, there is the Underwater World of Sentosa, showcasing the awe-inspiring beauty of a whole different world beneath the seas.

All said and done, the strategic location of Singapore, its cultural contrasts and diverse tourist attractions contribute to its success as a leading destination for both business and pleasure.

Source by Lopa Bhattacharya

Top 5 Tips on Making Money With Your Glamour Images

To those who ever dreamed of being paid for taking glamour shots, I devote this article – discover 5 efficient ways to start making money from your glamour photographer’s skill.

Now I reveal 5 sure-fire techniques of turning your vocation to glamour photography into a lucrative business venture. Just read it and see for yourselves!

Ever thought, “if only I got $1 for every good picture I take…”? Well, here are 5 great ways to make your dream come true – in sums far greater than that!

A glamour photographer has a plenty of opportunities to monetize their hobby to bring in some decent income that can add some pleasant bonuses to monthly cash-ins or even replace a good full-time salary.

Already feeling excited? I haven’t told you the best part – there are multiple ways of making money with your glamour images and your artist’s skill! Let us have a quick insight in some of those effective techniques.


You can trade your skill as a glamour photographer. All you need is a DSLR, a studio (rented, owned, home-based, your friend’s – there are many options), a little self-marketing and a HUGE desire to make money. There are many people who would pay nicely for a professional glamour shot; so if you can deliver it, why not earn some extra cash for doing what you do best?


You could take private coaching for beginner glamour photographers. You may not be a pro, but having enough credibility and some fresh, out-of-the-box ideas could compensate the lack of renown. This is not an easy one; however, digital art schools being diploma mills as they are, the market is overcrowded with hungry learners. You only need to step into it and take a niche. There are always people who would pay for knowledge – even if you are not a guru; and there is always something one person could teach another. So why can’t it be glamour photography?


Stock photography is a great opportunity to earn residual income from your glamour images. Resources like iStockphoto, Fotolia and many others would handle all the commercial issues for you, while you enjoy the revenue, getting anywhere from $3 to $5000 per one picture purchased. Saturating a photo bank with quality shots is a time-consuming process, but it can bring a lot of cash to you.


If you are knowledgeable about the subject, you could always compile your knowledge into a good e-book and sell it, and sell it, and sell it… Glamour photography is no exception – you can trade your expertise in the form of informational products. This market is smoking-hot, while quality e-books are not a frequent catch. If you manage to produce good content and market it, people would buy, and buy, and buy…


There are always magazines out there actively hiring prospective artists. This has much to do with trading your skill and time, but you don’t need a studio – just your camera and inspiration. The employer will take care of everything else. If the very idea of having a boss to work for doesn’t make you shudder, this is the option worth considering.

As you can see, there are literally hundreds of opportunities and resources to make your hobby turn into a little golden stream, which will eventually become a river. Like any other business, it can be successful and lucrative – provided that you are professional, sensible and, most importantly, dedicated!

Source by Michael Zelbel

Rating of Wooden Model Ship Kit Manufacturers

There are about 20 wooden model ship kit manufacturers throughout the world. It can be challenging to determine who’s kit will suit the model ship builder the best because of all the variables involved. The idea is to match up the kit manufacturer with the needs and wants of the builder so at the end of the day, the ship model builder has an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.

Cast Your Anchor has been in the model ship supply business for 7 years and been ship modelers for over 30 years. Over this time we have formed opinions on model ship kit manufacturers either through direct experience or from listening to our customers relate their experiences. We have summarized our findings below for 10 of the ship model manufacturers.

We provide the history and background of the manufacturer, location of their factory, the North American distributorship channel, their tendency when it comes to the kit skill level requirements and of course their rating.

The distributorship channel is most important when considering after sales service. Direct contact between the retailer and the manufacturer is usually best but not in all cases. The tendency for manufacturers to build kits aimed at a certain builder skill level is very important when it comes to the instructions that are provided in the kit. Entry level kit instructions generally assume that the model builder will require guidance with ship model building techniques in addition to specific instructions related to the vessel construction.


Rating 1 -10: 1-3 Poor, 3-7 Good, 8-10 Excellent. All categories are considered equally rated because there are alternative options the builder can exercise should there be an issue in any one of the categories.

Skill Level Tendency – Some manufacturers tend to lean towards a specific builder’s skill level in their kits. Other manufacturers have a good variety of kits to suit all levels of skills. Skill Level Tendency: E – Entry Level, I – Intermediate Level, A – Ambitious Level.

Availability – Ranges from always in stock to fulfillment within a few weeks or months. Availability can be adversely affected by the distribution network of the manufacturer. If the manufacturer allows for direct buying the availability tends to be quite high.

Types of Vessels Available – The two areas looked at were era of the vessel and the vessel type. Some manufacturers have a limited range while others have offerings in almost all categories. One manufacturer has vessel types that are unique to what other manufacturers have to offer.

Historical Accuracy – The accuracy of a model ranges from barely recognizable to reasonably accurate. Detailed information of many vessels is not available which leaves for a fair bit of interpretation. When it comes to paint colours some manufacturers don’t even try to recognize the true colours of the vessel.

Detailing – Some kits are highly detailed while others have minimum deck fittings. The accuracy of the detailing in terms of the era of the ship as well as the materials used at the time that the ship sailed is also considered.

Instructions – Good accurate instructions that if need be have been properly translated from the host language as well as detailed instructions on the techniques of model ship making range not just from one manufacturer to another but between the skill levels of the kits. Novice kits tend to be more explicit with regards to modeling techniques than advanced kits.

Design – This refers to part fit. Precut bulkheads and all parts that are laser cut should fit reasonably accurately without too much modification. Also there are some kits with inherent design flaws that result in misshaped lines of the vessel.

Parts and Fittings – The fittings should be accurate, to scale and made of high quality materials depending on what the parts is.

Completeness of the Kit – The builder should not have to purchase anything outside of the kit unless there is a desire to augment the fittings or parts in order to improve on the historical accuracy. There should be enough wood and rigging material so that extra material does not need to be purchased.

Price – The manufacturer should produce a range of products at different price points.

Overall Value for Money – This refers to the combination of quality, price and product that the manufacturer has assembled in order to the give the builder a positive overall experience regardless of his skill level.

After Sales Service – This refers to being able to obtain extra parts or responses to customer questions concerning the build. Manufacturer’s who have set up distribution channels tend to give fairly poor after sales service.

Manufacturer’s Rating

Amati: Overall Score 7.27 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “I”. Strength is availability of kits and after sales service. Weakness is instructions.

Established in Italy in 1879, Amati moved quickly from printed fretwork models to the model ship line. For over 120 years, Amati, thanks to the collaboration with designers and craftsmen, offers to the modelers the best products and the modern technology. Nowadays customers can rely on a large and varied choice of models from the most beautiful and famous America’s Cup, to historical sailing ships, and world-wide known motor boats and submarines. Thanks to the high quality of items, detailed construction plans, the product’s originality and the constant introduction of new designs, Amati is a world leader in the wooden ship model hobby. Retailer is serviced direct or through distributors in Canada and the US.

Artesania Latina: Overall Score 7.27 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “I”. Strength is price and overall value for money. Weakness is after sales service and parts and fittings.

Artesania Latina began its journey in 1970 in Barcelona Spain. In 1979, 80% of revenues came from outside Spain and their products were known and recognized in 40 countries on five continents. A key aspect in the evolution of the company has always been innovation. In 1994, Artesania Latina released a second family of products, basically but not exclusively for women and in 2001, they opened an office in Hong Kong focused on strategic positioning in emerging markets. In the 34 years of activity, Artesania Latina has continued to evolve in line with the needs of the market every day, year after year, with a passion for the hobby attracting thousands of friends around the world. Retailer is serviced through a distributor in the US.

Billings Boats: Overall Score 6.73 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “I”. Strength is availability of kits, types of vessels available and completeness of kit. Weakness is after sales service, price and instructions.

In the early 50s Ed Billing, a former RAF pilot during WWII, was working as an Architect in the town of Esbjerg in Denmark. His wife was running a Hobby shop called Vestjydsk Hobby and Mr. Billing was proudly displaying his build up model of a Danish Fishing Boat. At that time there were no actual model boat kits around, from which you could make a boat. One day a Danish magazine saw this beautiful model in the window of the Hobby Shop and were very interested in buying 50 “build ups” of this Fishing Boat for a competition the upcoming summer. Mr. Billing was very keen on the idea, but it was a huge undertaking making 50 models, so he came up with the idea to make the model as a kit, exactly the same way you would build a real ship. This was when the concept “plank-on-frame” was invented by Mr. Billing, which is now used by all model boat manufacturers around the world. Up until 1958 the kits were produced under the name “VHT” Vestjydsk Hobby Teknik, but this changed as Mr. Billings products became known outside Denmark. During the 60s, 70s and 80s the kits were improved, and gradually made easier for consumers to build. The frames were precut or die cut, and in the 60s ABS-hulls were introduced for the people that wanted to go out sail with RC. In 1989/90 the first laser cut machine was brought in, and everything became easier to produce, but also to make for the model builder. August 2008 was the 50th Anniversary of the Billing Boats brand name. Retailer is serviced through distributors in Canada and the US.

Bluejacket: Overall Score 6.73 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “E”. Strength is instructions and after sales service. Weakness is types of vessels available and detailing.

BlueJacket Shipcrafters, Inc., located in the United States, has been in continuous operation since 1905. In 1905, Horace E. Boucher, a French-born naval architect with the U.S. Navy Department and head of the Navy’s model shop in Washington, founded the model company that bore his name. Boucher’s models were prized by museums all over the country-more than 40 are in the Smithsonian alone. His innovative idea of mass producing cast fittings and selling kits to the general public started a new industry in the United States and helped turn what had been the art of a few craftsmen into a hobby enjoyed by thousands. The company name was changed to BlueJacket Shipcrafters after Boucher’s death. Bluejacket strives to manufacture the finest and most historically accurate wooden model ships in the world. Retailer is serviced direct or through distributors in the US.

Constructo: Score 7.64 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “I”. Strength is price and overall value for money. Weakness is after sales service and design.

Founded in 1942, Constructo wooden model ships was a pioneer in its field. Constructo, a well-established Spanish toy and games manufacturer, added wooden ship kits to its line only a few short years ago. The kits are of high quality, with accurately cut laser parts. Constructo produces high quality kits for children.

Corel: Overall score 6.36 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “A”. Strength is historical accuracy, parts and fittings and completeness of kits. Weakness is instructions and after sales service.

Corel, located in Milan Italy has been making model kits for period and modern ships since 1971, and enthusiasts will know about their high quality. The company pride themselves in the manufacture of some of the highest quality model boat kits available to the modeler with the best plans in the business. Corel are also able to supply very high quality fittings and materials to model boat

builders. Retailer is serviced through a distributor in the US.

Dumas: Overall score 7.36 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “E”. Strength is types of vessels available and after sales service. Weakness is price and overall value for money.

Al Dumas started marine model boat kits in Milwaukee, WI in 1946. These kits were made of balsa wood with parts printed on the wood for modelers to cut out. About 1980, Dumas moved to its present location at 909 E 17th St. Most of the boats are not only beautiful on display, but they can also be run with electric or gas power and radio control. Dumas line of model boats is most encompassing. Dumas has an exclusive license to manufacture Chris-Craft mahogany runabouts and pleasure craft. Retailer is serviced direct or through distributors in the US.

Mamoli: Overall score 6.36 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “A”. Strength is in detailing, parts and fittings and completeness of kits. Weakness is availability, price and after sales service.

Besides its normal commercial activity, the firm has established a “Naval Modeling Department” for the production of period ship kits. The models presented, which from the structural point of view are of an extremely advanced conception, are the logical continuation of a line begun more than 20 years ago by the designer Luigi Volonté, whose long experience allowed him to personally set up and follow a production, which was regard as one of the best, both for the facility of construction and the clearness of the plans, which are full of perspective drawings and fully described in four languages. Retailer is serviced through one distributor in the US.

Mantua: Overall score 6.09 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “A”. Strength is in detailing, parts and fittings and completeness of kits. Weakness is availability, instructions, price and after sales service.

Mantua Model, located in the ancient town Mantova, Italy, has built its reputation on the ultimate in large, elaborately detailed ship model kits. Mantua Model Group (includes Sergal and Panart) have been producing period model boat kits since after the war and were the first company to innovate and use the cutting ability of laser beams to produce very accurate and high quality products. Designed for the experienced modeler, most use a combination of photo-etched brass and cast or machined bronze fittings. Several feature solid bronze ornamentation cast one piece at a time by the lost wax method. Retailer is serviced through one distributor in the US.

Midwest Models: Overall score 7.36 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “E”. Strength is instructions, completeness of kits and after sales service. Weakness is price, types of vessels available and detailing.

In 1952, friends combined their passions for model airplanes to develop a thriving business dedicated to providing high quality products to enthusiasts around the world. More than 50 years later, Midwest’s product line and distribution have grown and changed, but its passion for quality has remained steadfast. Today, Midwest Products is a leading supplier worldwide of quality raw materials, accessories and kits to distributors and retailers. People use our products for leisure, educational and professional pursuits, from model airplanes and boats to architectural and educational projects. Retailer is serviced direct or through distributors in Canada and the US.

Model Shipways: Overall score 7.36 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “I”. Strength is instructions and after sales service. Weakness is historical accuracy and price.

Model Shipways (A Division of Model Expo), in continuous operation since 1946, is the oldest ship model factory in America. As a leading manufacturer and provider of historically accurate and authentic model kits and precision tools, Model Expo serves more than 40,000 customers and hobby stores throughout the world. Model Expo was founded in 1976 and partners with over 40 companies worldwide to include Italy, Spain, Europe, and China. Retailer is serviced through a distributors in the US.

Occre: Overall score 5.64 out of 10. Skill Level Tendency “A”. Strength is historical accuracy and completeness of kit. Weakness is availability of kits, instructions and after sales service.

Above all else, OcCre (Ocio Creativo) is a brand whose potential for development is based on its highly integrated team of people, capable of creating products of excellent design and creativity. OcCre is a fairly new company with a manufacturing facility in Spain. Retailer is serviced through a distributor in the US.

Cast Your Anchor continually looks for the best fit between the ship model builder and the ship model kit manufacturer. Should you wish to comment on this article or would like more information, please contact Cast Your Anchor at castyouranchor@bellnet.ca.

Source by Wray Hodgson