Singapore is well-known to the world for its many achievements. This is evident in the superlatives used to describe a lot of things in and about the tiny city state – top country for net international investment position per capita, best business environment in the world, least corrupt public sector, the national airline carrier Singapore Airlines being named as Top Global Airline, World’s Best International Airline, Changi Airport being named as Best Airport in the World, add to that the country’s efficient public transport and very clean environment. But just like any other country, Singapore has its own share of peculiarities.
Ban on Chewing Gum
The ban on the sale and import of chewing gum was put in place in 1992. However, the idea of a total ban existed from as far back as 1983 when the Minister for National Development at the time suggested the idea to Prime Minister Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. This was due to the improper disposal of spent gum in public places such as lift buttons, keyholes, and mailboxes. The tipping point was when gums were stuck on train door sensors and caused train disruptions and delays. The law was relaxed in 2004 to allow the sale of medicinal and therapeutic gum in pharmacies. However, pharmacists are required to take the buyer’s name and ID card number before they can sell the gum. Contrary to popular belief, you will not be put in jail or fined for possessing chewing gum. You will be fined if you don’t dispose of it properly. Littering is taken seriously in Singapore and if you are caught, you will be given a composition fine of S$300.
Youngest iPhone App Developer
Singapore’s education system is known to be one of the bests in the world. It really shouldn’t be a surprise that it is home to the youngest iPhone app developer in the world Lim Ding Wen. Ding Wen was only 9 years old when he wrote the code for the finger painting app Doodle Kids for his younger sisters. With the app, the user can paint using his or her fingers and erase the drawing by shaking the phone. Since it was created, the application was downloaded over 4,000 times. Doodle Kids was not his only project. Being fluent in 6 other programming languages, Ding Wen is also working on other projects.
Coffee Culture like No Other
If you go to any coffee shop, you’ll be amazed at how complicated it is to order coffee or tea. You’ll be hearing orders for Kopi-O or Kopi-C, Kopi-O-Kosong, Teh-O, Teh-C… so which is which? When ordering coffee, you have to remember that coffee in Singapore is sweet by default. So if you order Kopi that means coffee with condensed milk. Kopi-O is coffee with sugar and without milk. If you want black coffee, say Kopi-O-Kosong. And don’t be surprised if you order your coffee or tea to go, you’ll get it in a plastic bag with straw and plastic bands to tie or hold. If you go to the older coffee shops in Singapore, you’ll be served coffee in take away tin cans. While it may not be the same cup of coffee every westerner would expect, the Singapore coffee culture is definitely a must-experience.
Restroom Association Singapore
Toilets are serious business in Singapore. How else could Singapore keep almost all public toilets in perfect condition? A non-profit organization called Restroom Association (Singapore) was established in 1998 and it advocates for clean toilets throughout the country. They work in partnership with different public and private sectors to facilitate programs and activities to promote cooperation in maintaining clean public toilets.