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THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE is a small city-state of 4.7 million people (2003) attracting outsized attention by its path of development and mode of government, which is reputed to be a most powerful challenge to the Western liberal model.

One of the earliest references to Singapore as Temasek, or Sea Town, was found in Javanese and Vietnamese sources of 1360s. Intermittently a pirate camp, it was a fortified city well connected to trade networks with China and other Asian countries. By the end of the 14th century, the Sanskrit name, Singapura (Lion City), became commonly used. Owing to its communicative and strategic importance, the city was traditionally a place of rivalry between Siamese and Javanese forces. Europeans came in the 15th century. Portuguese, Dutch, and French ...

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