Singapore is a modern city-state in southeast Asia that has one of the highest standards of living in the world, as well as a highly educated population. Hi-tech and financial services underpin its strong free market economy. At the same time, Singapore is known for its political conservatism - Singaporean statesman Harry Lee Kuan Yew governed for three decades as Prime Minister following Singaporean independence from Malaysia in 1965.
The literature of Singapore reflects its diverse mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and British influences. Arthur Yap's the space of city trees: selected poems indirectly draws attention to Singaporean self-identity in a rapidly changing landscape. Catherine Lim is amongst the best-known of Singapore's writers, and works like Miss Seetoh in the World and The Bondmaid examine the dispossessed and ignored people left behind by Singapore's modernisation.
Many British writers have also set their fiction in Singapore, a result of Singapore having once been an economic outpost of British Malaya (1867-1942). Anthony Burgess' Malayan Trilogy, Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim, and J.G. Farrell's The Singapore Grip are amongst the works that emerged during this period of Singapore's history.
Singapore's film industry has emerged in the past decade with filmmakers like Eric Khoo, Djinn (Ong Lay Jinn), and Royston Tan. Eric Khoo's Tamil language film My Magic screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. His films shows a gritty side of Singapore that differs from the orderly image it projects to the world. In 2010, Boo Junfeng's Sandcastle competed for the Caméra d'Or at Cannes and was included as part of the BFI London Film Festival.