Visiting Singapore – 8 Weird Laws You Should Be Aware Of

There’s no law saying that Asian cities shouldn’t be well run and Singapore is probably one of the finest examples.

A fascinating ethnic brew that brings the cultures of China, India and Muslim Malaysia all together, the city charms the visitor with its fashion emporiums of Orchard Rd, its antique shops in Chinatown and the amazing city parks that you’re able to wander about. But as some would say “there’s no good without evil”, Singapore has its weird part, or at least someone living in the United States would seem to think so regarding some of their laws.

Although some of these laws have more to do with common sense, the Singapore government certainly has their own “special” way (to be read as fines and time spent in jail) to convince you not to do something. So here’s what some would call weird laws.

1. It is against the law and a public caning offense to not flush the toilet after using it. Again, that’s common sense, but in Singapore you might be getting a large fine for that, too, as the police officers randomly check on public checkrooms.

2. You Litter You Pay-Big Time. A litter law dating from 1968 is the country’s way of keeping clean. Disregard the law, drop trash on the ground in this Southeast Asian city, and you’ll pay $1,000. On top of that you’ll also be forced to do community forced labor. And if you do it three times, you’ll have to wear a “I am a litter lout” sign. Along the same lines, it looks like Singapore has a law saying that relieving yourself in an elevator is particularly forbidden.

3. Chewing gum sales forbidden. if you had some garlic and on your way to a meeting or a date, you may be out of luck if you plan on having some chewing gum to get rid of the scent. Apparently Singapore prohibited the sale of gum after authorities have noticed a prolific amount of chewed gum being stuck in subway stations and on cars. As weird as it may sound, Singapore allows you to actually chew gum. Just make sure you stick it at the trash can, otherwise great fines apply.

4. Don’t walk around your house naked. In Singapore, pornography is illegal, and anything to do with it may result in imprisonment or hefty fines. Along the same lines, the country thinks that nudity has to do with pornography, too, so better watch out carefully when you dress for bed — someone might see you. Also, make sure you don’t hand anyone a Playboy magazine. It’s the same.

5. No hugging without permission. Haven’t seen your loved one for a long time, just make sure you’re not over affectionate when you guys meet in a public space as you could be charged for outraging modesty and end up in jail. If lucky it’s juts a fine.

6. No poking adverse comments at religion. If you’re not really into God or you have your own deity to believe in, keep it to yourself as in Singapore it’s a highly serious matter and you can be cited for sedition.

7. Crooks go to jail. Of course they do, it’s common sense, but here’s something weird to think of. Apparently, if you’re introducing a stranger as your good friend, speak well of him and it proves to be false, you’ll be convicted for abetment. Watch out who you endorse as you can’t fool these guys!

8. Connecting on unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots means hacking. Need just “some” Internet to read mail or reserve some train tickets? Better go to an Internet cafe shop rather than logging in on an unsecured network. In Singapore it’s called hacking and you could end up in jail, or if lucky you’ll be paying a pretty huge fine.

That’s Singapore, the “fine” city, with good, and bad.

Image courtesy of besar_bears, stalejive, dinuks, gurms, jeremyfoo.

40 Comments for "Visiting Singapore – 8 Weird Laws You Should Be Aware Of"

c. farrell says on January 25th, 2010 at 11:51 am:

Some of this is nonsense. Failing to flush the toilet is not a caning offense. And there is no “public caning”. All caning in Singapore is carried out privately in prison.

Terence says on January 26th, 2010 at 8:52 am:

What rubbish?! It’s never against the law not to flush the toilet in S’pore – although stickers that say ‘please flush afer use’ are common to encourage people to flush the toilet after use as a matter of good manners. And no, the police has got better things to do then check if toilets are flushed! The author has probably not been to S’pore or has an extremely good imagination.

Matt Henricksen says on January 27th, 2010 at 1:50 am:

Bunch of junk. I’ve lived in Singapore for 3 years, and while the essence of what you say is true, you are pulling an angle on it. Intent has everything to do with the few cases where people were in trouble for being nude in their own houses; logging onto unsecured network, etc.

Richard says on January 27th, 2010 at 1:49 pm:

The 8 weird laws in Singapore posted here are not entirely correct.
1) the government don’t cane you for not flushing the toilet
2) you only pay a fine of less than $100 the first time you are caught for littering. It’s the habitual litterbug that will get fine “BIG TIME”
3) The chewing gum law is correct
4) This is true. You won’t want your neighbour nake & showing off his thing to your kids, do you?
5) I’m sure you won’t want just anybody to hug your girlfriend or wife without permission, do you?
6) I think this law is found in most countries, no government wants to start a civil war or riots jus because some idiots don’t show respect for other people’s religion
7) The 7 law is not true. Unless you are proven to be an accomplice in crime, you will not be punish. This is universal.
8) it’s not an offence to log onto unsecure network. It’s when you try to obtain information from others network that is illegal.

I hope I had clarify the laws in Singapore.

Michael says on February 9th, 2010 at 2:29 am:

Yep, I remember number 3. I was chewing away like no tomorrow while I was there. Trying to quit smoking you see. Oh, you can smoke anywhere, except designated ‘No Smoking’ areas but just don’t litter. Bummer, part of the fun was flicking the butt! Also, if you get phlegm from all that smoking, don’t spit – you’ll get fined.

scenicviews says on February 12th, 2010 at 3:13 pm:

Yes, especially for no.8. Singapore is probably one of countries that provides wi-fi connection (almost) everywhere :-D. And yes, Singapore is always be a pleasure trip for me.

Arvind Singh says on May 7th, 2010 at 1:42 pm:

Even though these laws are weird, they have more to do with common sense. The Singapore government has their unusual way to prohibit you from doing something against their country’s interests and so far, it has proved quite effective.

Isiekx says on July 13th, 2010 at 1:09 pm:

The author is obviously American. No doubts about that.

raildcjr209 says on November 11th, 2010 at 4:18 pm:

They need to have some of these same laws in the US! No wonder Singapore is such a beautiful city. Walk around the streets of L.A. or NYC and all you see is trash. And.. People SHOULD flush the toilet. Not flushing the toilet is gross and RUDE for the next person having to use it! This is simply a country that has CONSEQUENCES for laziness, sloppiness and bad morals and I happen to like it!

Damon says on December 21st, 2010 at 11:07 pm:

No wonder our beautiful country is respected less every day. It’s just another cigarette butt when millions of others “flick their butt” every day eh? Michael…I don’t know what to say. No respect.

Melvin Cownzowfsky says on June 18th, 2012 at 7:29 am:

I happen to think that strong anti-litter and common sense/common courtesy laws are more helpful than harmful. I live in Israel where doggie poop is (or at least at one time was) almost ubiquitous on the streets and sidewalks. There are laws here against such as this, but they are not very often enforced. Smoking abuses (in non-smoking designated areas) and sheer inconsideration for others is the norm here rather than the exception. I don’t know if it’s really possible to legislate ethics and/or morals, but, I wouldn’t object at all to the Singaporean type laws being implemented and ENFORCED here in Israel. God knows the country would be a much more pleasant place to live/visit if they were.

Opochot Kedondong says on June 19th, 2012 at 5:54 am:

Ok, this needs to be emphasized that the Malays of Singapore have nothing to do with Malaysia. While the Chinese and Indians are of migrant stock, the Malays are native. We didn’t migrate from anywhere to Singapore. So the saying that Singapore is a nation of immigrants is simply wrong – the Malays were already here long before Raffles.

David dutta says on June 19th, 2012 at 7:03 am:

most of this is correct and is true ,as its in its laws,this is not nonsense and not rubbish,this is true about Singapore,
if you got caught doing any of these and if u are black skin
you have to pay!!

Angelika says on February 13th, 2013 at 4:46 am:

Actually Singapore is such a beautiful and lovely city, but some laws and the corresponding punishment are just insane, mad and against basic human rights. As long as we all support that, either by continuing to travel to this area, doing business etc. it will always go on like this and tomorrow it could be you who will be arrested for a minor offence and pay a high fine or even be caned. Physical punishment does not belong to modern,
advanced and civilized country of the 21st century as it can cause lots of harm and is a kind of torture according to human rights carta. Actually I think that it cannot prevent or stop crime.

Mai says on July 15th, 2013 at 9:48 pm:

Excuse me guys, please take a look at the laws carefully before commenting this is not true! Failing to wash the toilet and connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi is really true!

Mai says on July 20th, 2013 at 2:11 am:

Oh yes, public caning is non-sense.

bento says on January 5th, 2014 at 3:33 am:

Yes..and during public caning events ,people do bet on that .Singaporeans love to bet and gamble.LOL!!


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