Singapore is famous for its strict laws and their ruthless enforcement, moreover, it is called a fine city. The bans may surprise you, but even more surprising are the penalties that can be imposed: gigantic fines, flogging and even the death penalty!
The following is a list of prohibitions that on the one hand may surprise, surprise, somewhat amuse, and on the other, even frighten. Importantly, however, the law is strongly enforced here, and the penalties imposed are downright cosmic relative to the “crime” committed.
And it’s not just about finances, but it’s important to remember that whipping and the death penalty are allowed in Singapore. And even if there is method in this madness, because after all, Singapore is regarded as one of the cleanest and safest destinations in the world, it is considered a country where human rights are violated, according to various international organizations.
No matter how strange the prohibitions here seem, it is important to remember that being a tourist here is no excuse. Just as ignorance of traffic laws does not entitle anyone to drive 200 km/h, being a foreigner does not entitle you to bring chewing gum to Singapore :)
What penalties await non-compliance? For example, for smoking in an unauthorized place or peeing in a public place – up to $1,000, for picking flowers up to $5,000!
There is also a lot of talk about corporal punishment, famously the case of the lashes that German teenagers received for graffiti on train cars. Apparently, flogging is becoming more and more abandoned and one has to have severely transgressed to deserve it, but it is still seen as a punishment that can be imposed by the court.
And while some of the following prohibitions may not come as a surprise (such as littering or spitting), it is regulated in Singapore and you will encounter signs reminding you of the rules here. Even more emphatically evidenced by the financial penalties indicated just below the prohibition sign….
Table of contents
Bans in Singapore
Well, then, it’s time for bans:
- The ban on chewing gum – then since we’ve already called up this example to the board, we’ll start with it. It is a common opinion that chewing gum is absolutely prohibited in Singapore! In general, the ban applies to the import and sale of chewing gum, and it is allowed if there are, for example, medical indications. Rubber cannot be imported from other countries either. Where did such a recipe come from? You can read a lot of different stories on the Internet, but generally it all comes down to money.
First, Singapore had a huge problem with chewing gums stuck everywhere. The cost of cleaning them was enormous, so it was decided to ban their import, sale and dumping them wherever they fell. The second, speaks of cases where vandals deliberately taped door sensors on the subway with rubber. It was very costly to get to the cause, the consequences and the time so this was another reason for the bans.
- Ban littering on the streets – simple? Of course, it is not only in Singapore that there is such a ban, but thanks to astronomical fines, this regulation is really being followed. Others, too, in fact. Sometimes we even bet on who would be the first to find the paper on the road ;)
- Banning cigarette smoking in public places – Maybe a little over the top, because you can smoke, however, but not everywhere. Smoking places are scarce, and the government is making life more difficult for smokers every now and then. We like it – there is no smell of cigarettes anywhere.
- Banning peeing in public places – yes, such signs can be found on the streets and even in elevators! Well, what has never happened to you? :-P
- Ban hugging in public places – excessive displays of affection can end in fines. One has to endure somehow ;-)
- Ban on picking flowers – especially at Gardens by the Bay.
- Ban on not flushing the toilet – absurd? :) There are stories circulating on the internet that a policeman can overhear if you flushed the toilet after taking care of your needs! How much truth there is in them we do not know, we never met any of them at the toilet door ;)
- The ban on eating and drinking on public transportation – especially durians, known as the most stinky fruit, which have earned their own individual ban sign. Although here we must admit that we probably happened to drink water on the subway to cool off after the heat.
- Banning spitting on the sidewalk – would be useful in many other countries….
- Ban on feeding monkeys – not just at Singapore Zoo and Safari River. Such signs can be found in parks and forests.
- Banning bird catching and fishing – if it occurred to anyone….
- Banning the destruction of public property – seemingly an obvious thing, but as in the example cited at the beginning of the article – it is even punishable by flogging.
- Ban on living in a gay relationship – LGBT communities do not have an easy life in Singapore. Sexual intercourse with a same-sex partner is illegal and punishable: up to 2 years in prison, financial penalties, caning.
- Banning exhibitionism – even within one’s own four walls.
- Prohibit connecting to someone else’s Wi-Fi or unsecured network – connecting to an unsecured network is considered a hacking act! Good thing we didn’t know that before we left ;-)
- Prohibition of drug possession and trafficking – the mere possession of certain amounts of drugs even carries the death penalty! Admittedly, in recent years the death penalty for mere possession has been abandoned, but the provision still remains. Besides, Singapore is regarded as the country with the strictest laws when it comes to drugs. And good!
Not just the bans themselves…
Lest it be said that the state only bans, there are other forms of “discouraging citizens” from certain behaviors. And so, for example, to reduce car traffic in Singapore, the government has made it simply not worthwhile to buy them!
Car prices and fees are horrendously high that only the wealthiest citizens can afford them, but that’s not all. Added to this is the fact that the government has established that the number of cars and motorcycles cannot increase in Singapore from February 2018. Since 1990, to own a car you need a special license – a certificate, renewed every 10 years. There are a limited number of them, they are acquired by auction, and under current law for such a license to become vacant you need someone to deregister the car (it is also possible to renew the certificate, but only for another 7 years).
Fortunately, mass transportation works almost perfectly.
Also expensive is alcohol, and you have to pay customs duties for importing stimulants (alcohol and cigarettes).
We heard about many of these bans before departure, learned about a few during our stay and still a few only after our return. It didn’t hurt us in any way. We don’t litter on a daily basis, we don’t chew gum, we don’t pick flowers and we always flush the water ;-), yet many people remain outraged.
The only thing that might be outrageous is the amount and type of fines, but that’s a discussion for another post.
We just need to be aware that when going to a country like Singapore, we need to familiarize ourselves with the laws here and fully respect and honor them.
Read more about Singapore and what to see in our post Singapore – TOP 9 places you must see!
Sources and further reading:
Are you interested in the topic? :) So we recommend additional interesting materials on this topic:
Numerous signs, placards, information leaflets, magnets in Singapore :)
Singapore Customs – Controlled & Prohibited Goods for Imports
Singapore – the state of prohibition – NG
Human rights in Singapore – Wikipedia
LGBT Rights in Singapore – Wikipedia
There will be no more cars in Singapore. This is what the authorities have decided – Forbes
A few words about car prices in Singapore – specjalski.pl