Singapore has the tagline “Fine City”. As I prepared to move to the city state, I got little jokes that followed along the “Careful not to get a fine” line. And even now that I’ve returned to Canada and I mention how I lived in Singapore, I still get the question, “Don’t they have a lot of fines there?”. But this leaves me with the question, is Singapore Fine City in reality?
Well, my answer is yes and no.
There are a lot of things that could result in getting a fine in Singapore and you will see signs telling you that all over the place. So, in a sense, yes, you can get fined for thing most countries don’t care about. I guess, this is how “Singapore Fine City” stuck. But to go around saying that you need to be careful not to get a fine in Singapore is an exaggeration. I didn’t get a fine while living there for 5 months, nor did anyone I know.
To understand how it’s so easy to get away with not getting a fine, you have to look at what the fines are actually for.
Okay, a fine could be considered a bit harsh for spitting. But really, have you watched someone spit? It’s gross. Swallow your saliva and don’t be nasty. If you NEED to spit go to the washroom and spit in the sink.
Is walking 3 feet to the garbage can really that difficult? No. So, just put the garbage where it belongs. Litter can ruin a city in terms of cleanliness and visual pleasure, I completely agree with this one.
Eating/Drinking on Public Transit
Once you sit on a sticky seat that had cola split on it, you’ll appreciate this one – I speak from experience.
This is a misconstrued rumour. Technically, it is the selling of gum that is not allowed. No one cared or confiscated my pack of gum I bought in Thailand… as long as I didn’t throw it on the ground or stick it anywhere when I was finished (which I feel would fall under a littering fine anyways).
This one I disagree with. I think graffiti can be a form of beautiful public art. But it’s also not that hard to move what you’d like to scribble on a wall to a canvas and save yourself from any repercussions.
I’m sure you’ll be able to survive without looking nudey pictures. If you seriously don’t think you can, I’d suggest getting some professional help with that little addiction.
I know I haven’t listed all of them, but these are the ones that tend to pop up in conversations about the topic. So, I wouldn’t worry about the fines if you ever want to travel to Singapore. Common sense will save you! Personally, I found Singapore Fine City to be a great country to live in and encourage anyone who is entertaining the idea to check it out.