Kat: I recently travelled to Singapore to meet my mum and my sister for a week’s holiday. Singapore is known worldwide as a clean, safe and friendly country, albeit only 20kms wide. The reason for this cleanliness? Signs and fines.
There are the standard fines for common sense things like being nude in public, littering, smoking and urinating in lifts. Then there are the quirky rules like the illegality of chewing gum or not flushing the toilet. And don’t even think about eating or drinking on the train; I almost opened up a bottle of water right next to a staff member and my mum stopped me just in time. An instant $500 fine. There are even t-shirts celebrating this “fine” city, proudly advertising “I’m a fined tourist”.
To prevent any incident occurring, Singaporeans have placed thousands of signs up just to make sure even unsuspecting tourists have no way of getting out of being fined. “I didn’t know” can’t be an excuse when every two metres is a no-something sign. This results in some gems, which I’ll share with you here.
My favourite sign from Singapore has to be this above one at the luge ride on Sentosa Island.
Having so many zoos and nature preserves demands a large amount of sign posting. Take the umpteen “Don’t feed the monkeys” signs. The only monkeys I actually saw were in the zoo. Of course, if you are going to feed a monkey, a banana is the obvious choice, but you can try hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream and mouldy bread.
On the topic of monkeys, the zoo also had this informative sign to explain why monkey’s butts are red. And it’s even translated to Chinese!
This zoo sign was for any fat men trying to fit through the bars in the lion’s den. Just don’t. Look at your wife’s face.
Another animal warning on Sentosa Island, this time for snakes at Fort Siloso.
And finally, my favourite Singaporean sign of all: Deadly Drool in the Komodo Dragon exhibit.
So folks, when you go to the great city nation of Singapore, don’t forget your rulebook.