Singapore truly is a unique country. Beyond just the fact that it's a city-state, it's also an amalgamation of different cultures, traditions, and yes, customs. It's easy to regard Singaporeans as belonging to one race and such, but the truth of the matter is it's one of the most, if not the only diverse country in Southeast Asia. It's become the East's own melting pot, putting together many nationalities, races, and more into one beautiful and rich island. And with that comes a culture with many things you ought not to do. Here are a few you should know if you're going here soon.
Leaving Your Shoes On in Someone's Home
Leaving your shoes on in people's homes is a definite no-no here in Singapore. Many from the West might consider it an 'Asian thing' so the fact that it's also custom in Singapore, Asia's own melting pot, makes sense. You simply don't wear your shoes in people's houses. There might be a few that'd still allow you to leave them on, but most of the people here would prefer you take them off before you go to their place. More often than not, you'd either stay inside barefoot or they'll provide special slippers that guests wear. That's the way it is here!
Casually Calling Older People By Their Name
In many Asian countries, including Singapore, respecting your elders is very important. Though it's always good manners to address people you don't know as Mr./Ms./Mrs. But when it comes to seniors, it's doubly important. Very rarely do you address them by their first names just like how they do in the West. Of course, when it comes to family members, you refer to them as to how they're related to you—mom, dad, grandfather, grandmother, aunt, uncle, etc. But for older people that you're affectionate with that aren't related to you, you can simply call them 'Aunty' or 'Uncle.'
When you visit or move to Singapore, you'll find that queueing up is very common in the city-state. Singaporeans are taught that at an early age. Starting from school
to, at times, even in adulthood, people here always fall in line. You'll see them queuing up in hospitals
, and even leisure places like fashion stores or fitness centers
. And when you see a queue and you're interested in what it's all about, it's good manners to fall in line yourself. Of course, it's rude if you overtake people. Expect that you'll start a commotion if you ever attempt to do that here!
Not Minding Your Chopsticks
Singaporeans are quite mindful when it comes to chopsticks. So when you're here, you're expected to do the same. It's not with how they use it, but rather, how they set it on the dish. It's fairly normal for people to place their chopsticks upright, piercing their food to make them stay in place. But that's actually considered rude. Instead, chopsticks are placed flat on the rim of the bowl or dish and balanced out. Placing it upright is only done in funerals and if you do it outside of one, it has a rather obscene and rude meaning to those around you.
Staying In Your Seat In The Train
Singapore is undoubtedly a busy city. The job market here
has gotten so big that many people from all around the world move to Singapore
especially for work. So what does that mean? For one thing, this often entails very busy and hectic public transport
. And the best example is the MRT. During rush hour, people pack in the train as if they're sardines in a can. Very rarely will you see this system completely empty. But whether it's spacious inside or not, Singaporeans consider it rude when younger and healthier people don't give their seats up to the elders, pregnant women, or people with disabilities. It leaves an awful impression in their minds!
Littering In Public
Littering in public isn't just bad manners in Singapore, it's illegal! This city-state is pretty serious about keeping the areas clean and pristine. Anyone who disobeys them will be met with a high fine or, at times, even jail time. It's no secret that many other Southeast Asian countries have negative reputations when it comes to cleanliness. Singapore wants to separate itself from that and be the shining beacon of excellence in the region. So it makes sense that they're pretty strict when it comes to littering in public spaces. With such a clean environment, it's no wonder the country has become quite the medical tourist destination
Smoking Anywhere You Want
Do you know what's also illegal in Singapore? Smoking in public! Not only is it rude and doing so will lead to a lot of angry stares, intense glares, and annoyed scoffs, but it can also get you fined or even jailed! Just lighting up a cigarette will have the authorities reprimanding you on the spot! That's how much they find smoking in public rude and offensive. Of course, just like any other country, Singapore has designated areas for you to smoke your life away. And it's only in these places where you're allowed to do so. But anywhere else? Let's just say you better prepare to do the time for your crime!
Singapore may be diverse and different from other countries in its region, but it still has its own set of customs and traditions that many are expected to follow. You'd be surprised by how many things there are that you shouldn't do while you're here!
What you should do in Singapore, however, is to rent a luxury home
. Only then will you really have a pleasant stay here.