Last Update: 15 Aug 00
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REPLY #15 TO
(R) It is NOT illegal to chew gum in Singapore. In fact: "One of the biggest misconceptions about Singapore is that you can't chew gum there. You can. You just can't buy it. Under Prohibitions of imports Order that was enacted in 1993, the sale, manufacture and imprtation of chewing gum was banned.
Which means in normal English that you can carry it, chew it, blow massive bubbles with it, even give it away on the street. Just don't sell any of it; that will land you with a $2000 fine."
(MB) I'm afraid that I must disagree with you. Essentially, there are four things concerning chewing gum that are illegal in Singapore -- importation, sale, littering and possession. Each offense carries its own separate fine which can range from $200 to over $6000. Chewing is not expressly forbidden. However, before one can chew, one must possess. Before one can possess, one must either import or be a party to a sale. A great many people have discovered this the hard way.
These laws are derived from the cleanliness initiatives instituted by the government of Singapore. In the case of chewing gum, the problem was with the mindless and thoughtless chewers who left their nasty, sticky wads anywhere and everywhere they pleased. Cleanup costs were running at several million dollars annually prior to the enactment of the laws against chewing gum.
When I was assigned to the White House Communications Agency, we received a briefing prior to a Presidential trip to Singapore which warned us in no uncertain terms about the chewing gum laws in Singapore. The bottom line was "don't challenge them or think you can avoid them simply because you are an American". That doesn't play over there. Chewers who wish to visit Singapore are simply going to have to forego their bad habit for the duration of their visit. They ought to forego it here, too!
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