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Singapore is a 'Fine City': Watch Out for These Penalties

Where: Singapore
August 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM | by | ()

Singapore is a fine city. You've got it. And while it's certainly a metropolis on our list as one of the coolest cities on the planet, we haven't used the word "fine" that way. We mean "fine" in that the city is notoriously full of little —and not so little— punishments for breaking civil laws within the borders of the city-state.

If you've been to the Southeast Asian city, you might remember how clean and orderly it is. That's because anyone caught littering is smacked with a fine of $1000 SGD ($802.56 USD). This law, enacted in 1968, goes for locals and tourists alike, so consider yourself warned. The hit to the wallet isn't the end, either; offenders need to perform a few hours of community service as penance.

Got plans to head over to the Lion City? Take note of these rules and you might just have enough money left to do some duty free shopping at the airport*:

· Jaywalking:
Better use that pedestrian crossing because, if you try to play Frogger, it may cost you $500. Singapore is super easy to navigate on foot and cutting it short isn't really necessary.

· Chewing gum:
Yep, no Trident. No Eclipse. No Hubba Bubba. Officially chewing gum is banned ever since it started clogging up the sensors on public train doors. If you can't live without it, just keep it in your mouth. Once it lands on the ground and causes a sticky mess, that's $1000. The same fine goes if you try to bring in large quantities

· Eating or drinking on the public transport:
Keep your stomach grumbling or mouth parched when riding the train or you will have fork over $500. If you feel the need to light up, it'll cost you $1000. Either way, we like both since it keeps things quite tidy.

· Stealing wifi:
Don't think about connecting to that unsecured network of your neighbor. If you are caught just quickly logging on, it is considered "hacking" and offenders can be fined for stealing. It's just as easy to find a Starbucks or internet cafe. If you get caught, you can expect a fine of at least $5000.

· Feeding birds:
Make no plans to head to the local park and act like a crazy bird-lady since it will cost you $500. Public bird feeding is a no-no. Ultimately it promotes wild animals becoming scavengers for human food and that's just not a nice thing.

· Drugs:
This goes without saying, but don't smuggle drugs into the country. Singapore has no tolerance for any type of illegal substances. The penalty for possessing large amounts of drugs will result in the death penalty. See what we mean by "no tolerance?" For more reasons than this, just say no.

This may be a brief list of rules within the country but, as with any foreign travel, we cannot stress enough the importance of fully understanding a culture so there are no awkward (or illegal) moments to be had.

Finally, if you are wondering, the last fine in the sign above concerns the durian. While there is no fine attached, we can imagine that the sign is too small for all those zeros. If you have ever smelled the tropical fruit, you will understand.

* All amounts are in Singapore Dollars.

[Photo: Rayme Gorniak/Jaunted]

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A shame they care more about mulcts than manners and don't try to suggest limiting mobile phone usage to texts; of course, that's a plague with most places save for Japan. Worst related idea?: The significance of a "quiet car" on the KCR trains in Hong Kong is a muted television.

It's easy to be a bad ass

It's interesting how the locals all follow the rules so strictly. Even crossing a quiet road on a "red man" made me feel like a bad ass when all the locals were waiting for the green. Their sad panda eyes made me feel incredibly guilty for being a bad tourist and going against local tradition.


When in Rome do as the Romans do or else keep your ass at home