Singapores arts and cultural activities blend Chinese, Malay and Indian traditions. Music and dance are used to celebrate festivals such as the Hungry Ghost Festival or National Day.

 Chinese street operas (wayang) are held outdoors on a makeshift wooden platforms. The performers wear elaborate costumes and act out stories from Chinese folklore and history. Classical Chinese opera is also presented in theatres.

 The Chinese Lion Dance is often performed at Chinese New Year, accompanied by drums and cymbals. Chinese music may be played on the er hu and the gao hu, both stringed instruments. 

Malay theatrical traditions, such as the bangsawan (Malay opera), have seen a revival in recent years. Performers act out dramatic stories using poetry, music and dance. A popular Malay dance is the candle dance, performed by dancers carrying lighted candles.
 Did you know? 
King Rat by James Clavell and The Singapore Grip by J.G. Farrell are bestselling novels set in wartime Singapore.
Indian drama, like Malay drama, incorporates music and dance. There is also a tradition of classical Hindu dances, such as the Bharata Natyam and the Kathakali. Indian arts organizations in Singapore bring teachers in from India to teach classical music and dance. 

During the annual two-month-long Festival of music, more than 100 local and foreign groups perform a wide variety of music from jazz and computer music, to European symphonic music, to Chinese, Malay and Indian traditional music. 

There is a growing interest in literature in Singapore, fostered in part by the annual Singapore International Festival of Books. This festival started modestly, but it has grown into a large regional book fair. Lee Tzu Pheng is a well-known poet and a professor at the National University of Singapore. Her books include Prospect of a Drowning and Against the Next Wave. A popular Singaporean writer whose books are available in English is Catherine Lim, author of The Bondmaid and The Teardrop Story Woman.