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The remembrance of social and economic difficulties influenced the development of a national culture with a focus on wealth and stability and the idea of multiculturalism. These differences are superseded by an identification with Singapore as a homeland with wealth and stability.
The different communities do not regard themselves as sharing a culture; instead, they consider themselves parts of a whole. Its area is 248 square miles (642 square kilometers), including the main island and some sixty islets.
This is illustrated by reference to a popular local dish, Rojak , a salad in which the various ingredients are covered by the same peanut sauce, forming a distinct whole with each ingredient clearly discernible. The main island is flat with a hilly region in the middle.
The place name "Singapore" is derived from Singa-pura ("City of the Lion"), a commonly used term since the fourteenth century.
The main cultural traditions are Malay, Indian, Chinese, and to some extent Western (British).
Singapore gained independence in 1959 and joined the Union of Malaya in 1963 but was expelled in 1965.