It feels like everyday I learn something new about Singapore when it comes to their laws. Commonly known for their gum and litter ban, today we will look at five other strange laws in Singapore. These ones are less commonly known abroad, and may surprise you. They certainly came as a surprise to me!

1. Caning is Legal

Caning: aka being struck by a cane-shaped object, most commonly made out of wood. Not only is it legal, but it is commonly used as a punishment for many crimes in Singapore. Only for men, however, as caning of females is entirely illegal. While reading news articles, you will frequently notice: “sentenced to (insert number here) strokes of the cane.”

Caning also happens in schools, occasionally in front of the recipient’s classmates, or the entire school, as a “lesson” to the other students. To my understanding, this type of “public caning” in schools was more common many years ago, however it does still occur today.

2. Illegal to be Naked in Your Home

Yes, you read that correctly. If you are seen naked in your own home by a nosy neighbour, it is technically illegal. Only if they decide to report it, of course. And if they do, you may get a hefty $2000 fine, or sentenced to three months in prison (no caning though, thank goodness).

3. Audition for Busking

Similar to many other places around the world, a busking license is required in Singapore. However, you must also audition as part of the application process, whereby they can accept or reject you. The National Arts Council website explains it as a means to “ensure consistency in the quality of busking activities”.

I was wondering why all the buskers I had seen were extremely talented, now I know why! #Qualitycontrol.

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Photo via Flickr

4. Not Flushing the Toilet is Illegal

How they would go about enforcing this, or catching people in the act….your guess is as good as mine. Some sources of the internet have said that police are known to randomly check, however I cannot confirm this. Thank goodness for automatic flushing toilets!

5. Illegal to Wash Your Dog in Public

Ok, I had no idea this was a law until doing some research for this blog post. To me, it just seems so absurd I had to include it. The exact law states, a person will be liable to conviction or fine not exceeding $1000 if he/she, “bathes or washes himself, or any other person, animal or thing on any public road, or in, upon or by the side of any public tank, reservoir, watercourse or stream.”

So, don’t wash your dog, yourself, or any other human in public or by any body of water.

Also, don’t walk around your house naked.

And for goodness sakes, flush the damn toilet!

These are just some of the many strange laws in Singapore. I have a feeling this list will continue to grow, the more I learn about Singapore.

Did you know about any of these laws already? Which ones surprised you most? Curious about other strange laws in Singapore?

Let me know!

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Hi! Welcome to my little corner of the interweb. My name is Laura, a twenty-something Canadian currently working in Singapore. Follow along as I document my journey on teaching, travelling, and living abroad.

1 thought on “5 Strange Laws in Singapore That Will Surprise You

  1. Hey Kiddo,

    Thanks for yet another great post on life in Singapore! I would be curious to know about traffic laws and violations; are speed limits strictly enforced? What happens if you run a red light? Are there separate by-law and police officers as we have here, or does the police service enforce all the basic rules of law?

    Keep up the great work!

    xo
    Dad

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