From singing explicit songs in public to walking around naked at home, disobeying these strange Singapore laws can land you in trouble.
You know the saying, ‘Singapore is a fine city’? Well, that’s true in every sense of the word. It’s an amazing place to live in, but there are also hefty fines to pay when you break the law. While we’re all for clean streets and parks, as well as low crime rates, some of the laws on our sunny island are, for lack of a better word, bizarre. So it’s best to know what you cannot do, whether you’re new to this island-city or you’ve lived here your entire life. Read on to find out about our strange Singapore laws…
Strange Singapore laws
No nudity in sight
Your house, your rules… right? Well, that’s not entirely true. Before you think of stripping down to your birthday suit (it’s your home, so no judgments here), make sure you’ve drawn the curtains so you’re not exposed to any possible views from the public’s eye. If someone spots you, they can report you under the peculiar nudity law. This offence can leave with you a fine of $2,000 or three months in prison.
You better flush it
You would think it’s basic public toilet etiquette to flush when you’re done with your business, but boy, that’s not the case. Under Section 16 of the Public Cleansing Act, you can be slapped with a hefty fine of $1,000 for not hitting the flush after using the toilet. Nevertheless, we’ve still come across public cubicles that’ve look downright murderous and criminal – and we’re not talking about blood.
What’s in the bin stays in the bin
As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure… but not in this case. It is illegal to rake the contents of a rubbish bin. While most of us might agree that this law under the Environmental Public Health Act is needless, it affects the homeless population. Not to mention ‘freegans’ who go dumpster diving for secondhand goods.
No such thing as free WiFi
Before you tap into your neighbour’s unsecured WiFi, just know that you’re breaking the law. Under the Computer Misuse Act, piggybacking off someone’s WiFi is considered the equivalent of hacking. If caught, you can be sentenced to a maximum of three years behind bars, a fine of $10,000, or both.
Swallow, don’t spit
Joining the long list of laws that play a key part in keeping the city spick and span is the ban on spitting in public. Unless you’re the Merlion, then you’re pardoned. This gross habit can get you fined $1,000. But in case you’re wondering, the law isn’t only limited to spitting. It includes all types of human waste disposal in public spaces, from expelling mucus on the streets to urinating in drains.
Cat lovers, you might not like this one. If you’re living in an HDB flat, you’re not allowed to keep cats as pets. Shocked? Us too. Apparently, felines are considered a challenge to keep indoors, as they “tend to shed fur and defecate or urinate in public places”. They’re also prone to making “caterwauling sounds.” We’re pretty sure dog owners face similar issues, but hey, the law is the law.
Skip the explicit lyrics
Before you drop a sick verse from your favourite rap song in public, you might want to censor the f-bombs. According to Section 294 of the penal code, annoying others by singing, reciting or uttering any obscene song, ballad or words in or near public places can land you in prison for three months (with a possible fine, too)!
Please do not feed wildlife
It’s typical to cross paths with wildlife in the city as we make room for urbanisation. But don’t even think about feeding them. Besides the risk of getting bitten, it might cost you a fine of up to $10,000 for multiple offences! Feeding wild animals is strictly prohibited in Singapore, so the next time you see a cute otter or an inquisitive monkey, it’s best to go ‘ooh and ahh’ from a distance. PS: This includes the feeding of pigeons as well.
No chewing of gum
This is probably one of our not-so-strange laws, yet one of the most famous. Yup, we’ve been made fun of countless times by other bubble gum-loving countries for this unconventional law. But it’s really for our benefit as a clean city. To curb the sticky situation of gum littering, the government banned the consumption and selling of chewing gum in 1992. Unless it’s for medical reasons like nicotine replacement therapy (which must be administered by a doctor or pharmacist), it’s a strict no-no. That’s why most people chew it all they can once they cross the border to Malaysia!
Know of any other strange Singapore laws? Let us know at [email protected].