Things you never guessed about Singapore
Singapore is known for many things — we’re the home of Marina Bay Sands, Singlish, and Chicken Rice. But that’s all too mainstream. This tiny island nation is small, but it has got a lot more sneaky wonders up her sleeve. Read on to find out with you know every nook and cranny in Singapore.
1. World Toilet Organisation was founded in Singapore
Yes, we take toilet cleanliness pretty seriously. In fact, you can get fined up to $500 for not flushing after you use the toilet. If only the aunties using the toilets at coffee shops and MRT stations got the memo.
2. Bukit Timah Nature Reserves has more species of trees than the whole of North America
While we call ourselves urban jungle a lot of the time, more than half of Singapore is actually covered in green, though it is questionable whether this is all man-made.
3. Singapore is in the wrong time zone
Right now, Singapore is eight hours past Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), guess again. But local clocks were originally set at GMT +7.30, together with Peninsula Malaysia. But in 1982, Peninsula Malaysia decided to match its time zone to East Malaysia and Singapore followed suit, adopting the GMT +8.00 as our standard time. So yes, you are always 30 minutes earlier than you originally thought. Westies are actually earlier than you think.
4. Singaporeans can vote in the British Elections
Heck, we can even stand for elections in the British House of Commons and campaign to be an MP of a British constituency. Because Singapore is a Commonwealth member, Singapore citizens have rights to vote in all elections in the UK.
Now that’s one more option if you gave up on local politics.
5. Singapore is made up of 63 islands
We wouldn’t recommend simply turning up on most of those islands though, as they are largely unoccupied and used for military or industrial purposes. But fret not, here is a list of islands you can check out for those adventurous weekends away from the laptop and potato chips.
6. The most number of vinyl records smashed in 30 seconds
Talk about creating a record by destroying them (literally). A five-man YiDoJang Martial Arts Team destroyed the most number vinyl records in 30 seconds. Maybe they just really hated music.
Check out their record-breaking feat here.
7. The longest human tooth
In 2009, a doctor pulled out a 3.2cm long tooth from his patient at Eli Dental Surgery Clinic. Not quite sure how to feel about this one. But hey, at least we have the longest something.
8. Largest exporter of ornamental fish
Singapore provides for 25% of the world market but exporters are still struggling with land constrains.
9. The national anthem is found on the back of the SGD1,000 note
If you turn the note around and look carefully, you can see it printed in micro-text. They probably figured you’d be singing Majulah Singapura if you ever got your hands on one of these babies anyway.
10. Highest rooftop bar in the world
Party with the gods, or at least those drunk enough to think they are at the highest rooftop bar in the world. 1-Altitude is located at the top floor of One Raffles Place — 282 metres above ground level. Just try not to fall off the open-air area.
11. Singapore is one of only three surviving city-states in the world.
The other two city-states that don’t have a capital are Monaco and the Vatican City.
We’re small, but fierce.
12. Buildings in Singapore cannot be higher than 280 metres
This is partly because of busy air traffic. Buildings that scale this height include: One Raffles Place, OUB Centre, UOB Plaza and Republic Plaza.
13. The largest fountain in the world
Aka Fountain of Wealth at Suntec City, which cost Singapore about US$6 million to build.
14. We won a major award at Cannes Film Festival
Ilo Ilo, a local movie directed by Anthony Chen, is the first Singaporean feature film to be awarded the Camera d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. The local film about a family set in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis has received 21 awards and 10 nominations globally making it the most critically acclaimed Singapore film.
We have a winner!
15. First Singaporean film screened at Cannes was by Eric Khoo
The first Singaporean film to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival was director Eric Khoo’s 12 Storeys in 1997. It stars Jack Neo as Ah Gu, a middle-aged man who brings home a trophy wife from China. But problems arise and he has to cope with her growing frustration with life in Singapore.
16. Singapore Airlines had to ban the Mile High Club
Soon after unveiling the Airbus A380, which had a $10k per person, double-bed suites, Singapore Airlines publicly asked passengers to stop having sex in the private rooms. Because even though the rooms were walled, they were not soundproof.
17. All taxis were ‘yellow cabs’
Right after independence, all taxis were owned privately or were ‘yellow top taxis’. There were also unregistered pirate taxis, which roamed the streets. Charges were not streamlined and a lot of territorial fights broke out.
Today, spotting a green taxi in the sea of red during peak hour is something to feel lucky about.
18. Israel trained our original NS men
The Israeli military helped trained up SAF after the British left Singapore following independence. Singapore started with only 1000 troops from the British Army. Eventually the Israeli provided expertise and instructors to train the ‘infant’ SAF.
19. Singapore shut down Orchard Road for parties
We had the Singapore Swing from 1988 to 1992 Forget big brand DJs pumping up parties, from 1988 to 1992 the man behind one of the biggest parties in Singapore was none other than Lee Kuan Yew himself.
Almost the whole of Orchard Road was shut down on a Saturday night and transformed into a disco-dance floor for National Day Celebrations.
DJs were spinning music on mobile cranes and the youths poured into the street. The first year saw 250, 000 revelers and the numbers just kept rising to half a million in 1992. Unfortunately, the police had to deal with crimes like fights, theft, molest and injuries. Needless to say, all good things must come to an end.
20. Float on air for an hour
Ever wondered what it was like to float in air? Now you can at Palm Avenue Float Club. Founded in 2014, the club offers hour-long sessions where customers are immersed in body-temperature water, seasoned with Epsom salt. This combination makes you feel like you are floating in air.
Beneath the cosmopolitan metropolis, Singapore has a quirky side. Now that you know all these facts, you can finally become the life of every party you attend. Because everybody loves a show-off.
Did we miss any interesting Singapore bits? Let us know.