Singapore may have a reputation for being an extremely safe and clean country, but there is a good reason for that—very strict laws. The infamous gum ban is just one of the many rules in Singapore designed to keep the city-state tidy and well-behaved. So if you are planning a trip to Singapore (besides perfecting your race-walking skills) you might want to check out some other local laws that are surprisingly stricter compared to other developed countries. Click below to read about 10 laws in Singapore that you should probably follow unless you plan on taking an up close and personal tour of a Singapore jail!
1. Make sure you love the “correct” gender
While many countries are currently debating how to recognize same-sex relationships, the gay community in Singapore is arguing for the right to even exist. Although Singapore changed its puritanical laws in 2007 to allow heterosexual and female same-sex adults to engage in some good ol’ fashioned sodomy, sex between men remains illegal. Although the law is apparently rarely enforced, the punishment can include a fine, a two-year jail sentence and even caning. The dated law has its critics and last year Vincent Wijeysingha became the first openly gay politician when he came out on Facebook ahead of a gay right’s protest.
▼ The Pink Dot annual event to promote LGBT rights and awareness in Singapore has gained enough popularity since it began in 2009 to turn the small “dot” into a giant pink “blob”
Image: Facebook (Pink Dot)
2. Letting it all hang out, even at home
While it’s not uncommon or even strange to have a law banning public nudity, that law in Singapore can extend to the privacy of your own home if a passer-by happens to catch a glimpse of you in your birthday suit. It seems like nudist enthusiasts in Singapore should keep those blinds completely shut if they need some naked time at home.
▼ Definitely not Singapore appropriate attire
3. Sex toys
Don’t get caught with that “novelty gift” in Singapore because the law there defines sex toys as “obscene objects,” the possession of which can land you with a fine and even some jail time.
▼ This actual Burger King ad from Singapore appears to be hinting at a way around that sex toy ban…
Image: Global Voices
Magazines, videos – whatever the medium – pornography is banned in Singapore and can get you arrested. Instead of trying to explain it as an “artistic visual expression of sexuality and vulnerability in the 21st century,” just leave your copy of SEX-Men: Days of Future Ass at home.
▼ Meanwhile in Japan
5. Flush the toilet and pick up your trash
Though your environmentally minded self may want to conserve water, it is against the law in Singapore to not flush a public toilet after each use and can cost you S$500 (US$400) if the police catch you. The police will also give you a hefty fine if you litter and a streak of three offenses can book you a ticket to a humiliating afternoon of cleaning up a public park dressed in a very fluorescent jacket.
▼ This alligator might want to tidy up before Singapore police put him on Corrective Work Order
6. Suicide is painless…and illegal
While probably hard to enforce, suicide is actually illegal in Singapore and police can arrest you after a botched attempt. So if you’re looking for a place to off yourself (after being convinced by the voice of your smartphone), you might want to pick another country
▼ A vibrating suicidal Elmo would break so many laws in Singapore
7. Borrowing your neighbor’s Wi-Fi
Make sure you have your neighbor’s permission before connecting onto their Wi-Fi because if not, it could be a violation of the Computer Misuse Act. In 2006, a teenager was charged under the law and faced up to a S$10,000 fine and up to three years in jail.
▼ Sir, do you have the proper permission to join that wireless network?
8. Pirating music
In this age of digital music, it should be no surprise that downloading or uploading music without the artist’s or record label’s permission is illegal. But in Singapore, pirating music carries a big fine and a jail sentence. In one case, two men were charged with illegally uploading music in 2006 and faced five years in jail and a S$100,000 fine, each. It’s best to just stick to your friendly local music store when buying music in Singapore.
▼ Unfortunately Singapore has not turned their anti-piracy campaign into anything nearly as catchy as this 1992-era anti-software-piracy motto
9. Late night parties
Gatherings of three or more in public after 10 PM are illegal in Singapore and can get you stopped by the police asking what’s up. If you are out that late, be prepared to show your ID and explain why you need to be hanging out with more than one person out in public. The police usually give just a warning, but if you’re a minor, there’s a good chance they will give you a free ride home.
▼ If your party includes yourself, clothed, with just one other person at home, then yes
10. Unrequited hugging
While hugging is a great way to greet friends, express friendship or embrace a loved one, you should always have the permission of the other person when you hug in Singapore. It’s hard to imagine a court handing down a sentence of “hugging without permission,” but it’s probably best to just check every time you hug someone there.
▼ Better make sure that hug has been asked for Mr. Kitten
With the knowledge of those 10 laws behind you, you may be ready for that Singapore trip. Did we miss any other strange laws in Singapore? Let us know in the comments below what you thought of these 10 laws and whether you have anything equivalent in your own country!