Singapore is a "Fine" City

With great power comes great responsibility. And like Singapore, greatness can mean a lot of restrictions. No wonder the place is spic and span! We Filipinos should learn a thing or two from them…

no smoking in singaporeGoing cold turkey in Singapore

First on the list is smoking. Our vacation lasted for 10 days and knowing this, I should have brought with me a ream of cigarettes but because our point of entry was Singapore, I had to ditch the plan and bring with me two packs which I had to open upon arrival just to make a point that I do not intend to sell them or something. One cannot bring more than one opened pack of cigarettes in the country! There is a total smoking ban in all enclosed places including public transportation and bars. I cannot imagine drinking without cigarettes! And even if you are outside, there will only be designated places for smoking usually marked with a yellow line with a sign that says “smoking zone.” Otherwise, you choke up SGD$1000 as fine. The horror…

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Jay-walking, spitting, littering and even drinking and eating in public transport are prohibited. Heck! You are not even allowed to bring Durian inside buses and trains. Pedestrian walks are easily available and traffic rules are expected to be observed to the dot. Jay-walking will cost the offender SGD$300 and up to 3 months in jail while snacking inside the bus will cost you SGD$500.

singSigns like this are commonly seen in public places like park, streets and train.

Another controversial restriction is chewing gum. It is not sold in stores and you cannot bring it as you enter the country. Since 2004, only chewing gum of therapeutic value is allowed to be sold upon showing your ID and brought into Singapore. Just so you know, leaving a stagnant water in your backyard/office, jaywalking, leaving your bicycle unlocked and feeding birds are some of the 40,000+ offenses that are punishable by law.

Planning to get high? You might want to postpone that till you get to Amsterdam. Singapore treats drug possession, trafficking, manufacturing, importing or exporting more than 15 g of heroin, 30 g of morphine, 30 g of cocaine, 500 g of cannabis, 200 g of cannabis resin and 1.2 kg of opium extremely severely. A maximum of 10 years in jail or a fine of SGD$20,000 or both await the offender. You can also get charged if they find traces of illicit drugs in your system even if you took them prior to going into the country and also, if drugs are found in your possession even if you were not aware if it.

Illegal entry, overstaying your visa, vandalism, robbery, molestation and rape (sex with a girl under the age of 16 regardless whether there was consent or none) merit caning punishment. Note to Pinoys: Bribing does not work in Singapore. You can get charged for corruption.

Caning is a corporal punishment still retained in Singapore where fit male criminals under 60 years of age can be sentenced to a maximum of 24 strokes of the rotan (rattan) cane on the buttocks. The punishment is mandatory for over 40 offenses, mostly violent crimes, but also some immigration violations and acts of vandalism (look up Michael Fay).

Crimes such as murder, kidnapping, unauthorized possession of firearms and drug trafficking are punishable by death.

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