Singapore Crib Sheet

Despite being just a tiny dot on the world map, Singapore is an economic “big brother” of Southeast Asia.

The country took just 50 years to evolve from a busy colonial port to a glitzy, ultra modern city-state that never sleeps. Today, Singapore is a melting pot of different cultures, beliefs and ethnicity. The population is a wonderful mix of 75% Chinese, 13% Malays, 10% Indians and a pinch of everyone from everywhere else.

Its therefore hardly surprising to learn that Singapore has some rather unusual laws and customs. Here is our crib sheet of interesting facts that first time pink travellers should know about this amazing little country.

1. No Chewing.

Strange, but true. Chewing gum is banned in Singapore. Only gum of therapeutic value is permitted. Gum can be bought from a doctor, but must be prescribed.

2. No duty free allowance on cigarettes.

Bad news for the smokers. There is no duty-free concession for cigarettes and other tobacco products when entering Singapore. Expect to pay tax on what you bring to Singapore.

3. No Smoking.

Singapore leads Asia with its smoke free policies. Smoking is not allowed in air-conditioned areas, public eateries or within a five-metre radius of all building entrances. If you are a poof that puffs, then look for the designated smoking areas.

4. Singaporeans pick the longest queues.

Singaporeans believe that longer queues simply mean better food. The craving for great local cuisine means that your if Singaporean friends see a long queue, they are likely to join it.

5. It is technically illegal to have gay sex.

Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code still criminalises gay sex. Although no longer enforced, gay rights activists have been trying to get the legislators to repeal the law in recent years.

6. Singapore has it’s own language – “Singlish”.

Singlish is a unique language that created by decades of multiculturalism. English is blended with a sprinkle of real and made-up words from Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and the local dialects. Don’t be too surprised when someone adds a “lah” or “meh” at the end of a sentence.

7. Don’t drop litter.

Singapore is squeaky-clean. Why?  Littering carries a fine of about 300 dollars for first-time offenders. If you get caught again, you’ll be sweeping the streets in a neon orange vest that says “Corrective Work Order”. You’ve been warned.

 

03-01-2014 by Tod TGA   |   More: Gay Singapore

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