Rules, alcohol and smoking
There are many in Singapore beforehand. On closer inspection and with a view to common sense, what is expected “by law” from the citizens and visitors of the city and is punishable if disregarded is in many cases simply good behavior. In this city you don’t spit on the street, don’t drop garbage, don’t eat or drink or drink on public transportation, don’t stick chewing gum under subway seats
or anywhere else. Fruitful in a positive sense, because you won’t find carpets of chewing gum stains in any street (chewing gum is also prohibited) and you can even visit public toilets without fainting from smell and dirt. To this extremely clean lifestyle fits that
smoking is only allowed in yellow marked “Smoking Areas”. On entry Singapore you may carry a maximum of 17 cigarettes. In between 22.30 and 7.00 you should’nt consume alcohol on common places.
The risk of stepping into dog droppings is also limited, because dogs are only allowed up to a height of 35 cm in the city center, as I read. In 2.5 days I have probably seen exactly 4 pelt noses for this very reason and the penalties that threaten if something “escapes” the dog. The first one near tot he Botanic Garden, a poodle in a buggy with the owner and its nanny was taken for a walk (how blatant when the dog becomes a plush toy) and two on the promenade of the Singapore River (sure with soecial permission). So far so good and somehow possible, at least with a good “upbringing”.
Cars & traffic
I knew that owning and driving a car in Singapore is an absolute luxury pleasure. That – despite the metropolis of millions, the traffic is regulated so smoothly even in the rush hours – was new to me. However, it is immediately noticeable that there is little standing next to traffic lights – no wonder, since the number of vehicle registrations in Singapore has been capped at 575,000 since 2018.
As a result, a car can only be newly registered if another gets signed out. The certificate required for admission (the “CoE”), which is valid for 10 years and the price of which is determined by a monthly auction, can quickly reach well over 50,000 Singapore dollars. As the female voice from the audio guide said so nicely: before you even enter a car dealer to buy a car, you can have already spent $ 50,000 on a car – for whom a Singaporean has to spend about twice as much as we do because of the high taxation. He then pays additional high registration fees, parking costs and toll fees. Of course, registration is done electronically and debit from the credit card is automatic. Nevertheless, the Singaporeans are almost crazy about the luxury vehicles, because you can see mostly new, expensive and flashing speedsters on Singapore’s streets. Not that you need them. Driving in Singapore is a matter of status and image. The government is working vigorously on this narrative; wants to change its image decisively and is promoting the long-term goal of making Singapore almost car-free. For this they put all the money from the drivers into public transport; decouples car ownership and mobility. Getting from A to B directly without a car and almost without waiting times is already a reality today, because buses, subways (MRT) and taxis are very cheap. Also often equipped with WIFI.
Education is very important in Singapore, which is not surprising and even less so that international schools are well represented. The encounter with two school classes in Chinatown was really great. The little ones, dressed in school uniforms – estimated 4-5, but actually 5 and 6 years old – were on a trip with their teachers and I was allowed to ask a few questions. So: from the age of two months, children can be given in city care and from the age of 18 months they go to “school”. That is what a family in Singapore is entitled to, the teacher told me. And it was important for her to call it school (not kindergarten), because the children start playful learning right away – in school uniform, of course!
For me it is always best to go by foot because you can feel the city and its pulse, its spirit and its common life. The many sights, museums and temples or churches are of course interesting, but what is most exciting are the people who fill the place with life. The Singaporeans look like modern and young, and somehow seem to be satisfied. In short: a positive attitude to life dominates. The street scene gives a perceived average age of around 30 years. You can see the ethnic-mix on their faces what is absolutely desired here. Racism or the expression of racial hostility is punishable in Singapore.
Many – especially women – are extremely slim. They appear comparatively fragile by European standards. In many cases they protect themselves from the sun with umbrellas, caps or hats, because those who wear elegant paleness are noble, which is why I have heard of whitening agents in almost all creams. Most of them are incredibly stylish on the road, meaning that I have never seen so much Gucci, Prada, Dior and Chanel (I hope I have not forgotten any of the important designers) up and down in this concentration anywhere else in the world. Then I felt almost shabby in my casual wardrobe. It was just amazing. I was also fascinated and inspired by the way the girls bring fashion to the streets, mix patterns and colors in a completely calm and classy way. So it is not hidden from the viewer that Singaporeans shop passionately and excessively – even more: it is one of their most popular leisure activities. As a smart shopper and fashion lover, I took a look at H&M and found that you can save about 15-20% compared to Germany. The sizes are adapted to the Asian dimensions, i.e. about 1 clothing size smaller (for example, if you wear clothing size 38, you will probably need size 40 there).
What else stands out
I would like to say that I have encountered a kind of “benevolent” dictatorship and do not want to evaluate it in any way. Life runs in a very regulated way and apparently nobody is bothered by it. Not even that press and television are authoritarian and that Journalists are subject to self-censorship, so to speak. As a visitor, you get an impression of a policy of trade, that is, of a government that is empowered to be able to provide prompt answers to questions and problems without democratic decision-making processes. There is apparently no protest. Even under permanent surveillance and police robots are on the move,
immediately putting traffic offenders in their place. Penalties for violations can be severe and not just monetary. In Singapore there are both corporal punishment (cane beating) and the death penalty. Of course, that raises many questions and thoughts.
Particularly noticeable is the fact, that we have never met beggars or homeless people anywhere. Where and how they live, or whether they even exist in this rich metropolis, remained open to us.