|Singapore takes drug offenses very seriously. Those convicted of trafficking, producing, importing, or exporting more than 15 g of heroin, 30 g of morphine, 30 g of cocaine, 500 g of cannabis, 200 g of cannabis resin, or 1.2 kg of opium face the death sentence, and just possession of these amounts is enough to condemn you. Unauthorized ingestion is punishable by up to ten years in jail, a $20,000 fine, or both. You can be charged with unauthorised consumption if traces of illicit drugs are found in your system, even if you can prove that you consumed them outside of the country, and you can be charged with trafficking if drugs are found in bags in your possession or in your room, even if they aren’t yours and you aren’t aware of them. If you must carry possibly prohibited medications, contact the Singapore Health Sciences Authority to find out what they are and to get formal authorization to bring them (if necessary and permitted). This can be done quickly through e-mail, but it may take a few weeks via conventional mail.|
Stay Safe in Singapore
By almost every metric, Singapore is one of the safest large cities in the world. The majority of individuals, even single female travelers, will have no trouble strolling alone through the streets at night. But, as the local police say, “low crime does not imply no crime” – keep an eye out for pickpockets in busy places and use common sense.
The Singapore Police Force is in charge of law enforcement across the nation, and officers are distinguished by their dark blue uniforms. The majority of tourists will find Singaporean police officers to be competent and friendly, and any crimes you see should be reported to them as quickly as possible. If you are detained, bear in mind that Singaporean police have more authority than you may be accustomed to in other countries. While you have the right to have a lawyer defend you at trial, the police have the authority to limit your access to a counsel during an interview if they think it might jeopardize their investigation. Furthermore, although you have the right against self-incrimination, you do not have the right to silence and must answer the police’s inquiries honestly until the former is violated. If you do not make all of your defense statements during your questioning, the court will not believe you when you mention them at your trial for the first time.
Singapore’s immaculate cleanliness is due in part to stringent regulations prohibiting activities that are permitted in other nations. Jay-walking, spitting, littering, and drinking and eating on public transportation, for example, are all banned. Singaporeans joke about it being a fine city because if you’re found committing an offense, you’ll face hefty penalties. Look for signs outlining the “Don’ts” and the penalties connected with these infractions and pay attention to them. Avoid littering since offenders face penalties as well as a “Corrective Work Order,” which requires offenders to wear a bright yellow jacket and clean up trash in public areas. However, enforcement is inconsistent at best, and it’s not unusual to see people littering, spitting, smoking in non-smoking zones, and so on. Chewing gum, which has been very long prohibited, is now accessible for medicinal reasons (e.g., nicotine gum) at pharmacies if you ask for it, present your ID, and sign the register. While importing gum is still illegal, you should be able to bring in a few packets for personal use without issue.
Singapore uses caning as a punishment for some offences, most notably unlawful entrance and overstaying your visa for more than 30 or 90 days. Vandalism, theft, molestation, and rape are among the other crimes for which caning is used as a punishment. Having intercourse with a girl under the age of 16 is considered rape in Singapore, regardless of whether the girl consents, and will result in you receiving a few cane strokes. This isn’t a light reprimand. The thick rattan cane strikes are extremely painful, take weeks to heal, and leave a permanent scar. Corruption is also punished by caning, thus offering a bribe or gratuity to a police officer is never a good idea. Murder, abduction, unlicensed weapon possession, and drug trafficking are all punishable by death.
In October 2007, colonial-era sodomy laws were repealed, making oral and anal intercourse lawful for heterosexuals. However, homosexual intercourse is still prohibited, with a potential penalty of two years in jail and/or caning. However, this legislation is seldom implemented, and the homosexual community is quite active, but gays can anticipate legalized discrimination and censorious attitudes from residents and government officials. Regardless of the above, outright violence against gays is virtually unheard of, and you’re unlikely to receive much more than blank looks and murmurs.
Begging is prohibited in Singapore, although you’ll encounter beggars on the streets from time to time. Even the “monks” clad in robes who sometimes pester visitors for contributions are generally not Singaporeans.
While jaywalking is against the law, it is nevertheless a frequent occurrence in the city. If you are caught by a police officer, you may face a minor fee; much worse, though you are struck by a bicycle rider or a vehicle, it is deemed the pedestrian’s responsibility even if it isn’t their right of way, and they may be liable for damages. Simply said, vehicles belong on the roads, whereas pedestrians belong on the sidewalks.
Although Singapore’s constitution guarantees “freedom of speech,” this right is severely restricted in reality, as shown by the country’s censored domestic press. Although you will not be arrested for expressing anti-government sentiments in casual discussion with your friends, foreigners in Singapore are not permitted to participate in any kind of political action, including attending demonstrations or protests, regardless of the topic.
Singapore is largely impervious to natural disasters: there are no fault lines close, despite the fact that Indonesia’s earthquakes may be barely felt at times, and other landmasses protect it from typhoons, tornadoes, and tsunamis. Flooding is a risk during the November–January monsoon season, particularly in low-lying areas of the East Coast, although the water generally drains within a day and life goes on as usual.
In both public and private life, Singapore is usually seen to be largely devoid of corruption. Bribery is a severe crime punishable by lengthy prison sentences, fines. Under no circumstances should you propose a bribe to a police officer or other government official, since this will almost certainly end in your detention.
Racial and Religious Discrimination
Singapore has made significant efforts to create a peaceful, cohesive community; making derogatory comments about any race or religion is a felony punishable by imprisonment in Singapore. Bloggers have been imprisoned and sentenced to jail for posting racist comments on their sites, while charismatic pastors have also been arrested and sentenced to prison for disparaging other faiths in their sermons.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses religion is prohibited in Singapore for residents (owing to their refusal to serve in the military), although this has no effect on visitors.
Unauthorized possession of weapons in Singapore is punished by lengthy prison sentences at best, and the death penalty at worst.
Licences to buy and possess guns are usually only given for sports reasons (i.e. target shooting), and you must be a member of a recognized shooting club to do so. At a shooting range, firearms must be kept safely, and taking one out of the range is usually prohibited unless you have obtained specific authorization in advance.
Visitors who want to carry guns into the country must first request for a permission, which is usually only given for formal shooting contests. You’ll also be escorted by police from the port of entry to the shooting range, where you’ll have to keep your weapon safely until you depart the nation.
- Ambulance 995
- Fire 995
- Police (main number for Emergency Services) 999
- Singapore General Hospital +65 6222 3322
- Drug & Poison Information Centre +65 6423 9119
Stay Healthy in Singapore
With extremely high cleanliness standards, tap water is safe to drink. Drinking lots of water is recommended due to the hot and humid environment.
Malaria is not a problem, but the area is plagued by dengue disease. Although Singapore has rigorous mosquito control (leaving standing water around can result in a fine), the government’s reach does not extend into the island’s natural reserves, so pack insect repellent if you intend on trekking.
In August and September 2016, Singapore was hit by a Zika virus epidemic, prompting travel advisories from a number of nations. Hundreds of individuals might have been infected at worst, but as of early November, there are just a few new cases each week. The National Environment Agency’s website has up-to-date information about the Zika virus.
Singapore’s medical treatment is consistently good, and the city-state is a favorite destination for medical tourism (as well as medical evacuations) in the area. Despite the cheaper costs, quality at both public and private clinics are generally on par with those in the West, making this an excellent location to get your jabs and tabs before going out into the jungle elsewhere. Before a lengthy stay in the hospital and/or significant surgery, be sure your insurance is in good working condition.
Look for a general practitioner at the closest suburban shopping mall or HDB retail area for mild illnesses (GP). Patients are typically seen without an appointment, and they may prescribe medicines on the spot, and the entire cost of a consultation, including prescription, is seldom more than $30. Visit a hospital if you have a more serious issue. Singapore’s public hospital services are not free, although they are subsidized by the government. Regardless of your capacity to pay, public hospitals are obliged by law to provide emergency medical treatment; nevertheless, you will be billed at a later date. As previously stated, 995 is the emergency number to call if you just need an ambulance; but, if your situation necessitates police assistance, you should dial 999; the police will arrange for an ambulance, and you will not need to call for one separately. If you have a true medical emergency, the ambulance service is free; but, if your condition is deemed trivial by the emergency room doctor, you may expect to pay a high fee.