A guide to Singapore’s wackiest laws
Our love affair with Singapore goes way back. The island country’s fascinating brew of Chinese, Indian and Muslim-Malaysian culture makes for a charming travel destination. We love Haji Lane’s trendy shops, Orchard Road’s fashion emporiums, Chinatown’s antique stores, Little India’s art galleries, and the list goes on. One thing we’re not so enamoured with is Singapore’s weird and wacky laws. Here’s a few of our favourites:
1. Flush the toilet or face a public caning
It seems nothing is sacred these days. In Singapore, you can’t even pee in private. Apparently, police officers do random checks to make sure public toilets are flushed after use. Note to self, must flush the toilet!
2. Litter bugs pay big time
There’s a reason why the streets of Singapore are almost glistening with cleanliness. A litter law dating from 1968 means litter bugs can be fined $1,000 for the first conviction and $5,000 for repeat convictions. On top of that, you’ll be forced to do community labour. And if you offend three times, you’ll have to wear a lovely sign, which states, “I am a litter lout”.
3. Selling chewing gum is forbidden
Gum chewers, beware – put your chewed gum in the bin or you could face a hefty fine. Singapore prohibited the sale of gum after authorities noticed a prolific amount of chewed gum being stuck in subway stations and on cars. Mints might be the safer option if you have a case of garlic breath.
4. Don’t walk around your house naked
In Singapore, pornography is illegal, and anything to do with it may result in imprisonment or big fines. Along the same lines, the country thinks that nudity has to do with pornography, so better close the curtains when you dress for bed.
5. No hugging in public without permission
Haven’t seen your loved one for a long time? Make sure you ask their permission before giving them a hug in public or you could land yourself in gaol. True story. If you’re lucky, it’s just a fine.
6. No poking adverse comments at religion
If you’re agnostic or atheist, keep it under wraps because in Singapore it’s a highly serious matter and you can be cited for sedition. Ouch.
7. Stranger danger
If you’re introducing a stranger as your good friend and speak well of him and it proves to be false, you’ll be convicted for abetment.
8. Connecting on unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots means hacking
Need to check emails? Better go to an internet cafe rather than logging in on an unsecured network. In Singapore, it’s called hacking and you could end up in gaol or face a big fine.