Bet you didn’t know these everyday actions are illegal
The number of laws Singapore has is too damn high. From the recent public drinking ban, to Section 377A, there seem to be too many ways for us to end up in jail.
But seven laws stand out for being both intrusive and absolutely ridiculous.
1. It is a crime to walk around naked at home (and you can arrest any offender)
According to the Law, “any person who appears nude in a private place and is exposed to public view shall be guilty of an offence”.
Ok, before you start worrying that the police will break down your door, the law has a caveat built into it. Unless your toilet is built with glass walls exposed to the world, you’re safe. But, if you’re like that uncle living in the opposite block, please wear a towel. No one wants to see how unkind time has been to you.
Um….I think we’re referring to a different kind of commando here
Section 28 of the same act states that “it shall be lawful for any person whatsoever to arrest any person found offending … and to deliver him to any police officer”.
You read that right. The law gives anyone the power to arrest that nudist and bring him to the nearest police officer. However, without breaking more laws (breaking and entering, criminal trespassing), the statute is not clear how you are going to arrest a nudist in his own home. Maybe we should just leave that – and the psychological trauma – to our brave men in blue.
Uncle, I’m watching and my handcuffs are waiting.
2. Flush the toilet after use or risk a $1000 fine
With automated flushing now standard in most public washrooms, who still dares to touch the grimy, germ-infested flush button to flush manually?
According to the Law, “any person who has urinated or defecated … with a flushing system to which the public has access shall flush the sanitary convenience immediately after using it”.
Unless you’re Chuck Norris of course
No, I’m being serious here. You must flush the toilet immediately after use. But, again, there is an exception given here. You only need to flush if the toilet has a flushing system. So Recruits, you can’t use the excuse that you’re breaking the law to go back to Company line to use the toilet when your sergeant forces you to use a hole in the ground while outfield.
However, if you’re female and there is no toilet paper available, march over to the cleaner’s cabinet and demand for it. Section 16A of the same law says that all public toilets must provide toilet paper, soap, litter bins, and clean towels and hand dryers.
Seems like every coffee shop owner has broken the law. Oh well, I guess we can’t expect all our toilets to be Caltex 5-Star toilets.
3. Ask for permission before you hug or kiss your female friend
We hug, we kiss, and we shake hands. Those are the many ways we greet our friends. But did you know that you risk a prison sentence of at least two years?
I’m Pink, I want a Hug and I’m jailbait
According to the Law, outrage of modesty is defined as “whoever … uses criminal force to any person intending to or knowing it be likely that he will thereby outrage the modesty of the person.”
And since criminal force is defined as force without another’s consent, hands off buddy. You might think that you’re being polite by hugging your friend but you had better ask them for their permission before you grab them in a tight little bear hug.
4. Having more than 3 friends can get you arrested
According to the Law, “an assembly of 5 or more persons is designated an “unlawful assembly””.
Self-explanatory. Yes, there are caveats included which tighten the definition, but “an assembly which was not unlawful when it assembled may subsequently become an unlawful assembly”. Which means you might only be out with 2 friends but the moment you bump into 2 other friends, the assembly becomes illegal.
As the saying goes, two’s company and three’s a crowd. And that crowd will get you into trouble. Use this as an excuse the next time you forget to invite a friend along.
5. Sex cannot involve toys, movies or magazines
Ok, I know I said that its things we do every day but one of these days, when you’re married, you are probably going to break this law everyday.
The law is too long to quote for this one but essentially, anything that even remotely resembles genetalia is considered pornographic. All those specialty toy shops you see in Bugis Street, they are all traps. Orchard Towers? TRAPS.
Damn…no more looking at images of Cumberbatch…
How are we supposed to help improve the birth-rate if we have no guidance? Are we supposed to have our parents in the bedroom to give guidance?
I am truly sorry for putting that image in your head.
6. Cross at a traffic crossing or risk a six month jail term
Despite our ever efficient traffic system, there are times when we wish the government would install more traffic lights and crossing (Lornie Road is too damn long).
In Singapore, while its not stated explicitely in the Road Traffic Act, according to lawyers, the police have the right to immediately fine someone $20 if they are caught jaywalking and “repeat offenders may be fined up to $2,000 or jailed up to 6 months.”
Yup, even the Beatles’ shadows obey the law
Of course, we are not (totally) unreasonable. If there is a crossing zone within 50 metres, you have to use it or commit the crime of jaywalking. However, like with any law, there will be people who want to test it.
So…what happens if you jaywalk exactly 51 metres away? Hm……anyone who has managed to get away with this excuse, please let us know.
7. Singing “Happy Birthday to You” breaks copyright law
Now, this one is a little bit sketchy. As one of probably the most recognisable songs in the English language, it would surprise many to know that this song from our childhood is actually a copyrighted song. The melody comes from the song “Good Morning to All” and was written by the Hill sisters in 1893.
And the Birthday budget just went up by $5k
In the US, the Copyright protection on the song is expected to expire in 2030 while in the EU, it is set to expire end 2016. However, while a quick search on the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) website doesn’t show a copyright filed for the song here, that does not mean that you cannot be sued for playing or singing this song in public.
See, thanks to a multitude of treaties and something we have in Singapore called the Copyright Act, technically, the copyright of the song might be able to be enforced in Singapore. It hasn’t been tried yet and the copyright status is embroiled in a lawsuit.
In light of the recent scandal over the cease-and-desist letters from Dallas Buyers Club LLC, I wonder, when will Happy Birthday LLC start sending out their legal letters…
Just think about it. Police kicking down your door to arrest copyright violators at your child’s next birthday party. Cakes and presents and scarred for life – sounds legit.
What Does This All MEAN?
Moral of the Story: Changi Prison is going to get alot of inmates soon. Probably.