Singapore is probably known to the outside world as an extremely safe country, low corruption levels and exceptional cleanliness unmatched elsewhere. A big part of this reputation comes from the strict laws and fines that Singapore’s government has implemented.
Like some of the out-of-this-world achievements we have, Singapore also has laws that are out-of-this-world. Strange and downright ridiculous, some might say.
Here are ten of the strangest Singapore laws, some of which I did not know existed at all. Read on to prevent being fined.
Think you can be naked in the comfort of your home? Well, yes and no. Just make sure nobody else can see you. Under Section 27A, Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, Chapter 184, “a person cannot be naked in a private place while being exposed to public view.”
If you are guilty of this, you can be fined up to an amount not exceeding S$2,000 or be sentenced to prison for a term not exceeding three months or both.
Well, if you really want to walk around naked at home, it is probably ideal to have your curtains drawn or use a towel to cover your bits. After all, it is not very nice to have someone looking at you in your birthday-suit strutting around.
Feeding pigeons sounds like a leisurely activity to partake in. However in Singapore, sharing your bread crumbs with pigeons specifically is definitely not a good idea. Under Section 70 of the Animals and Birds Act, Chapter 70, “No person shall feed stray pigeons in any premises or public place.” You can be fined up to S$500 if you are caught doing so.
Why not head to the Jurong Bird Park instead if you want to feed birds? Cheaper than getting a fine.
Super ridiculous, I know. The common excuse that all Singaporeans have used before, “I forgot”, will not work in this case.
A fine of up to S$1,000 can be slapped upon you as stated under Section 113 of the Environmental Public Health Act, Chapter 95, “any person who has urinated or defecated in any sanitary convenience with a flushing system to which the public has access shall flush the sanitary convenience immediately after using it.”
Well, it sounds crazy to actually pay S$1,000 for forgetting to flush when using the public toilet. It is just unsanitary anyway, please flush.
Connecting to a random wi-fi network without any password lock is always tempting. What’s better than having free data to Youtube or stream your favourite shows on Netflix? Well, even if Lady Luck is shining on you that day, it is against the law.
Under Section 6, Chapter 50A of Singapore’s Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, it is illegal to connect to someone else’s wi-fi network without permission.
Any person who knowingly “secures access without authority to any computer for the purpose of obtaining, directly or indirectly, any computer service,” can be liable.
A penalty of up to three years in jail or a fine of $10,000 could be slapped on you. So don’t go around trying to break into a wi-fi from somebody’s home.
If you sing, recite or utter any obscene song, ballad or words in or near any public place, it can get you sitting in a prison cell for up to three months. Even if you have the most beautiful voice, the words coming out are certainly not appreciated by the law if anyone within earshot finds it annoying.
Under Section 294, Chapter 14 of the Penal Code, ” Whoever, to the annoyance of others, sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words in or near any public place shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 months, or with fine, or with both.” Think twice before you open your mouth and mention expletives in the song.
Gay intimacy is illegal in Singapore. This has been talked much about in Singapore’s community where Section 377A of the Penal Code states that any male who commits “acts of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.”
Well, traction has been gained where thousands of people gather for the yearly pro-LGBTQ Pink Dot rally to repeal this law.
Our government has stated that this law is here to stay for the time being as an uneasy compromise, and as our Prime Minister puts it, “Whatever your sexual orientation, you are welcome to come and work in Singapore.”
Smoking is banned in almost every public space in Singapore, including your HDB flat. The list is crazy for places that smoking is prohibited, so here’s the summary law below.
Under Section 3 of the Smoking (Prohibition In Certain Places) Act, Chapter 310, “any publicly accessible place; any place owned, managed or occupied by the Government or a statutory body; any common property of any residential premises or building,” are places where smoking is prohibited.
If you are thinking of smoking in your HDB, it is definitely a no go since it’s considered Government-owned common property. If you have a private property that doesn’t share a common space, that’s fine.
Specific smoking areas in Singapore are demarcated by yellow-lined boxes outside shopping complexes and food centres. You have to be at least 5m away from bus stops and shelters before you can even light a cigarette up. If you do light up at an unauthorised place, be prepared to pay a fine of up to S$10,000. Just don’t smoke.
This is a really ambiguous law, I feel. Nobody can place an exact measure on the annoyance of a wannabe musical talent. Well, thankfully for the really bad ones (similar to the code for singing in public), a law has been put in place.
Under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, “Any person who makes any noise by any instrument or other means in such a manner as to cause or be likely to cause annoyance … be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$1,000.”
Not only do you hurt people’s hearing, but your own wallet as well.
Carousell users, be on a lookout for this! Under the Rapid Transit Systems Regulations, you cannot conduct a business transaction or make any deals in the MRT station, even if it’s across the gantry.
It is an offence while in or upon the railway premises to “sell or offer for sale any article or goods, or carry on any business.”
Don’t pretend at the side like you’re waiting for friends, the CCTV at the station will catch your act. Maybe it’s time for you to cover the transport expense as well Carousellers!
Attaching a punishment to suicide is weird enough since it doesn’t solve anything; in the event of attempted suicide, survivors would have committed an offence in Singapore.
Section 309, Chapter 224 of the Penal Code states that “whoever attempts to commit suicide, and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.”
It is illegal to try to kill yourself. But please, do seek help from your friends or family if you even have the thought to do so. Everyone’s life is precious and so is yours.
That rounds up some of the strangest laws in Singapore I could find which not many people are familiar with. That being said, Singapore is probably one of the finest countries in the world and these laws may or may not have worked out well.
Just try to remember them and avoid doing testing the system. “I forgot” or “I didn’t know” might still land you into trouble.