Do you know about the unbelievable Singapore laws? Singapore is a weird country. Singapore is #1 for the best investment potential in the world, 2nd most competitive city in the world and most transparent country in Asia. It is also named of the most expensive city in the world in 2014 and is in the top 30 countries for travel in the world. Yet, it is also known as the country in the world where chewing gum is banned.
Despite being highly regarded in the business, political and tourism world, I have had so many weird encounters with travellers who have absolutely no idea that Singapore exists.
Common Questions I get about Singapore
- “Why do you speak such good English? Where are you from?”
- “What do you guys speak in Singapore? Do you speak Singaporean?”
- “Oh so which part of China is Singapore from?”
- “Are you from China?”
- “How big is Singapore? Do you have villages there?”
- “What types of farms do you have in Singapore?”
- *Points to the map* “Where is Singapore? I cannot find it.”
I think the best part of travelling and meeting new people is that you become an ambassador for your country and promote your country. We speak English in Singapore and everyone must learn at least 2 languages. We usually converse in English, although Malay is the national language. Singapore is not in China, it is in fact at the tip of South East Asia. It is extremely small and you can barely spot it on the map.
Now, there are many interesting things I love to share about my little nation, but the funniest things I love to share would be the extremely weird laws we have in Singapore. When I was in Berlin in December, I told my friends that homosexuality is illegal and the looks on their faces were priceless.
Presenting the 13 weird Singapore laws!
Being Gay is Illegal
Under the Penal Code Chapter 224 Section 377A, a male person is punishable with imprisonment up to 2 years if found to have sex with a member of the same gender. This includes kissing, inappropriate touching, etc. Well, the funny thing is that it only talks about a male person and not a female person. That is another interesting topic that shall not be discussed in this post. x
Walking Naked in your House is Illegal
Pornography is illegal and the government blocks most pornography sites. However, walking around naked in your house is considered a form of pornography in Singapore because it is a disturbance to your neighbours. Someone can lodge a police complaint if they are uncomfortable that their neighbour is naked in his own home. Tell me that is not weird!
Ps: Please use this invention called curtains if you wish to be naked in the comfort of your own home.
Chewing Gum is Illegal
This will always remain as one of the most unbelievable laws to everyone else but Singaporeans. The sale of chewing gum is illegal, “importing” or bringing it to Singapore is an offence and spitting it is even worse.
My German friend was “caught” in Singapore Changi Airport when the arrived from Germany to Singapore. The police took all of his chewing gum away from his suitcase! The chewing gum ban is one of the funniest crazy Singapore laws.
But people still love Singapore despite the ridiculous laws! Learn why.
[NEW] Drinking Alcohol from 10.30 pm to 7 am is Illegal
Yes, Singapore really knows how to limit the fun. You have to get a permit from the government if you are having a barbecue party with alcohol to drink after 10.30pm. This is a new law that just passed and takes effect from April 2015.
You can drink inside a bar with a liquor license or drink in the comfort of your own room. If you drink in a public place, you will be caught by the police. The funniest situation I have witnessed is police carrying a Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine gun patrolling the drinking area at 10.30pm in Singapore.
I guess the country is so safe that you use the guns to stop people from consuming alcohol.
You will DIE if you bring drugs to Singapore
Oh yes, you heard it right. Drug is a very serious offence and capital punishment is still relevant here. This is extremely serious because you really get the death penalty. I just want to warn everyone out there that Singapore takes drugs super seriously.
*Important: This also applies to travellers who are in Singapore for a stopover! You are also NOT ALLOWED to have drugs on you when the final destination is perhaps, Australia.
When flying into Singapore, you will notice that the cabin crew will always warn people that drug is a deadly offense.
Draw Graffiti in Singapore? Get 3 strokes of Cane in Prison
“There is no such thing as beautiful graffiti, just annoying vandalism.” –probably what the government had in mind when having this law. The punishment includes fine and/or jail term as well as 3 to 8 strokes OF CANE. PS, foreigners are not exempted from this law. We have a Swiss, an American and 2 Germans amongst the many offenders.
Flush The Toilet After Use Or Pay S$500
Probably one of the ridiculous laws Singapore has. Police officers conduct random checks to make sure you flush the public toilets in Singapore. Well, thank God for automatic toilet bowls right?
Racism is a VERY serious offense.
This is true throughout the world, but Singapore takes is very seriously. We once had a woman who wrote a very insulting post about Malays vs Chinese on her Facebook page and she got fired from her job immediately. Singapore prides itself as a multiracial and multi-religious city and aspires to uphold its name. Racism is taken very seriously here.
When in Singapore, do note all the advertisement. We have 4 nationalities (Chinese, Malay, India, Caucasian) and every ad will definitely have at least 3 races there.
Oral and Anal sex = Criminal Offences.
Whether you are a straight couple or not, it is illegal to engage in oral and anal sex in Singapore. The same section as #1, Section 377 explains that the penetration of the penis without an orgasm would constitute an offense. (This is seriously a hilarious and ridiculous law and I cannot really take this seriously now.)
/Edit: Due to the overwhelming response by the public, this Section 377 was repealed and the new Section 377 just criminalises sex with dead bodies (“Sexual penetration of a corpse”). So, the only illegal thing now is anal sex between males. So, have fun and good luck tonight everyone!
Smoking is Illegal Almost Everywhere
Smoking is banned in the following places: buses, cinemas & theatres, indoor locations, trains, interchange, bus shelters, 5m away from bus shelters, public toilets, public pools, coffee shops & public eating area unless specified, night entertainment like clubs, bars & pubs, common areas like playground, exercise areas & markets, carparks, 5m away from all entrances and exits. The list goes on.
How about I tell you where you can smoke? 5m away from all exit and entrance of a building and bus shelter, your house if your neighbours do not complain and designated smoking rooms & specific smoking areas. This is so serious that in a food centre, smokers have to sit in a yellow box to eat their food.
A fine of maximum S$10,000 is payable to offenders. Throwing the cigarette butt is also considered littering and that is another fine of S$1,000.
Littering is a Huge Offence
Litterbugs are fined S$1,000 and S$5,000 subsequently. They are also required to do community service. Isn’t Singapore such a fine city?
Literally, you can find undercover cops hanging around the smoking areas waiting for smokers to flick their cigarette butts on the floor. Then they give these people a littering fine.
Better Shut Up after 10 pm
No crazy house party, no big groups of people getting together and no making of noise after 10 pm. This is a law in Singapore. Large groups gathering together after 10 pm is considered illegal gathering and making noise after 10 pm will invite the police to come to your house. Adding on to the no-alcohol law (#4), Singapore really knows how to party.
Committing Suicide is Illegal
If you fail to kill yourself, please do note that you have committed an offense in Singapore, according to the laws.
That being said, Singapore will not try to kill you on your behalf. Instead, you are required to seek treatment and assistance for the issues you are going through.
Well, Singapore is indeed an interesting country. If you forget everything that is posted here, just remember this.
- You cannot drink, smoke or do drugs in Singapore.
- You also can’t engage in same-gender anal sex, be gay and be naked in your own home.
- Flush the toilet after use, do not litter and better not kill yourself.
Because these are all offenses in the eyes of the law.
Nonetheless, Singapore is really a place you should see in your life. The Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool and rooftop bars are things you should not miss in the endless summer we have here.
Here is a compiled Singapore Travel Resource List for you!