The Land of Laws

“Would you like a piece?” I offered my Irish dinner companion, extending a pack of gum.

“No!” he responded with a hint of perplexity.

I was taken back by his tone but decided to shake it off as I popped a piece in my mouth.

“Are you serious?” he accosted, having witnessed the act.

Immediately offended, I turned to him confused. After a lovely meal, I didn’t understand the sudden change of manner.

“You know gum is illegal in Singapore right? Really illegal, it holds a minimum fine of $500.”

That was probably the last thing I had expected to hear. In disbelief I rebutted; “That’s ridiculous!”

“Okay, let’s go in and see if they sell gum,” he confidently suggested as he pointed to a 7/11.


Moments later, I was proved incorrect. Proof that gum is in fact illegal in Singapore – there wasn’t a single pack for sale. I immediately had flash backs of my first two days in Singapore… walking aimlessly around Marina Bay, casually smacking piece after piece of gum, oblivious to my apparent lawless behavior.

Upon further research, I learned the law was enacted to protect the city from filth. Chewing gum is not outright illegal, however the sale or distribution, and littering of the substance is what results in severe penalties.

A strange law, but one of many in the small city-state of Singapore. The regulations pay off as this is the cleanest city I have ever seen. Streets are free from waste, sidewalks are spotless and greenery flourishes all around. Truly a beautiful city!

If I have taken anything away from my time in Singapore, its the importance of always researching local laws before traveling to a new place.

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