Singapore is a city-state that’s known for its low crime rates as well as strong penalties for what are usually considered minor offenses in other developed nations. Sure, vandalism carries the possibility of caning as a punishment but if you have any sense, you won’t be spray painting cars in foreign countries anyway.
Putting aside things you know not to do no matter the penalties, the following offenses in Singapore have punishments you might not be expecting. It’s best to brush up first, as fines are hefty at best and jail is, well, jail.
1. Don’t Bring More Than Two Packets Of Gum
Until 2004, gum was completely outlawed in Singapore – a law that came into effect after an incident where some was stuck on a door sensor, disrupting commuter train service. After some intense lobbying by Wrigley, the ban was eased allowing the sale of gum for ‘medical purposes'; essentially whitening or nicotine-gums. To save yourself the hassle of getting a prescription to buy a packet, simply bring two with you. Two packets of gum is the legal limit, although it’s up to customs officials if they want to confiscate any amount.
And please, don’t chew where you’re not supposed to. On public transportation fines begin at $500 USD.
2. Use The Waste Bin
The only place you should spit out your gum is directly into the garbage. (Speaking of spitting, don’t do that either unless your saliva is worth $200.) Littering of any kind (smokers: cigarette butts are trash) carries a $1,000 USD fine, in additional to potential community service. So, if you don’t want to be picking up trash publicly during your visit, discard your junk properly.
3. Get Low After You Get High
Having any amount of a controlled substance (pretty much any recreational drug not alcohol) on you is serious business in Singapore. At the lowest amounts, you can be caned plus fined for drug possession while being in the presence of larger amounts has mandatory death sentences. Not traveling with drugs is pretty generic common sense, even if you have dreads, but be aware that showing up high at the airport is considered possession in Singapore. Yo, like dude, how would they find out you’re wondering? Random drug screenings at Changi Airport. Like, for real man.
4. Flush Your Crap
Literally. Although it’s probably one of Singapore’s least enforceable laws, public toilets must be flushed. The $500 fine might also help relieve you of your bathroom OCD, or you can simply learn to kick flush.
5. Cross Where You’re Supposed To
Jaywalking laws are however well enforced in Singapore. Police often (covertly) monitor random crossings and hand out $15 fines for first time offenders. Once you see a ‘no jaywalking sign’ and repeat penalties listed in the thousands staring back at you from across the street, you’ll be convinced to walk a few extra steps to cross in designated places.
There are a number of other laws (or to be fair, their punishments) many tourists have found unusual or absurd in Singapore. Remember, you’re subject to a country’s laws when you’re there, whether or not you know or agree with them. Besides, you shouldn’t be littering anyway, most of us have little sympathy for people who can’t clean up their own mess.
Turkish food is disproportionately represented by doner and other kebab varieties in the minds of many. Although it’s not immediately evident eating out around Istanbul’s bright Istiklal Caddesi, most dishes served in Turkish homes are vegetable-based. You might not remember the name of that spicy pepper paste or know how to work magic with lentils but my live chat guest has the answers to your kitchen questions.
Hulya Polat is an award-winning international broadcaster who managed to feed me growing up while working the demanding schedule of a journalist. A lot of Turkish dishes that seem complex (stuffed grape leaves; zeytinyağlı dolma) or excessively time consuming (lentil balls; mercimek köftesi) have tricks she’ll teach you so they’re easier to prepare.
The chat is open today, August 28th from 7:30pm-9:30pm US EST (11:30pm-1:30am GMT). Thanks everyone for participating!
You can eat around the world but often nothing we find on the road replaces our favorite meals we ate as children. My mom will be here for two hours today to help you with recipes, options for vegan-vegetarians, plus what dishes to look for to eat healthy in Turkey (yes, it’s possible!) I’ll also be joining – mostly to make sure there aren’t any embarrassing stories about me. Everything takes place in the comments below so don’t be shy, we look forward to hearing from you.
This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2014.
The Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas organized by Creation Entertainment is the world’s largest gathering of Trekkies – over 12,000 – held annually in the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino. I’ve attended the past several conventions (here are my pictures from 2011, 2012, and 2013) noticing a once timid minority of cosplayers several years ago has rapidly inspired an evolving environment of creative costumes from all over the Trek universe.
Seeing the first Andorian walking around the casino drinking hard cider is actually what makes the Star Trek convention feel like you’re near the final frontier; not some aging lady on a respirator spending her last breaths futility trying to win millions at a slot machine. Completely fan generated, cosplay is one of the reasons nerds travel – it creates an organic atmosphere no overcharging corporate entity could imagine squeezing from their profits.
Those of you who’ve never been can take a look at my insider’s guide to saving money at the Las Vegas Star Trek Con after being tractor beamed for a visit next year by taking a look at some of the best costumes I was able to photograph earlier this month.
An Andorian Red Shirt And Terran From The Mirror Universe
Two Klingon Warriors
Elementary, Dear Data’s Georgi La Forge
Data And The Borg Queen
Horned Dog From TOS Episode “The Enemy Within”
Steampunk Red Shirt With Space Lincoln
A Borg And His Queen
Mirror Universe Terran
Borg Cube And Seven Of Nine
Starfleet Officer With Cardassian
Andorian Elvis Taking A Picture Of Droxine From TOS “The Cloud Minders”
I Laughed Every Time I Saw The Two In White From The Next Generation’s “Justice”
These were only some of the pictures I was able to take of those in costume and around the convention, you can see the rest in my Las Vegas gallery here.
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Walking around The Best City To Visit 2012 Sarajevo, moments before capturing this video I was convinced there was a large brawl taking place. Though this group of men may have quieted somewhat for my benefit, these chess games between streets Ferhadija and Zelenih beretki in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina resemble many modern democracies around the world – lots of people shouting opinions but only the one guy with power making decisions.
Many scholars believe chess’s rise in popularity around the Balkans during Communism is in large part because it provided one of the few socially acceptable creative outlets. The average age of these players gathered near Hostel City Center seems to further suggest this might be the case and if so, they’ve picked the ultimate game. Mathematician Claude Shannon estimated there are around 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1050) possible outcomes in any given game of chess – based on the number of opinions being shouted per game, I may have heard close to all of them.