No country is immune to some of the weirdest policies to arise from Parliament. In Thailand it is illegal to leave the house if you’re not wearing underwear, in Australia, you may not come closer than 100 meters of a whales carcass and in the UK, it is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.
Why should Singapore be any different? Lo and behold, we give to you 10 things we feel must have been policies decided on the first of April.
The MRT system was supposed to be an underground bus service
Yes… the high breakdown monstrosity that you take each day was supposed to have been a network of bus-only tunnels and routes. Given that this was 1967 and the concept of a high speed rail system was considered astronomically expensive for this fledgeling nation, the ever prudent city planners seriously considered the cheaper, wheely alternative. It’s a good thing they didn’t go ahead with it, think about how ridiculous it would sound today.
(Maybe breakdowns would be rare?)
Long hair was frowned upon
Once upon a time, long hair was associated with hippies, drugs, rock and roll, women… Well, generally anything related to mood swings and sporadic bad behaviour. Obviously they couldn’t legislate this, so what did they do? Well, if you’re a person with long hair and waiting in queue at a Government line (ie. immigration etc), then good luck to you, you go back to the line and be the last to be served!
(She was in queue until the early 2000’s)
Oral sex (that does not lead up to proper sex) is illegal
It’s true. How they even intend to prosecute that is a matter that gets curiouser and curiouser. Are government agents secretly spying on your bedroom activities? Does your television have secret cameras built into them? You’ll never know.
(You cannot taste your fruits without wanting to eat them)
It is illegal to keep cats in an HDB
Your beloved puss puss is not welcome in an HDB apartment – yes, bet you didn’t know that? However the policing of this law is futile until someone lodges a complaint. Usually when your fluffy friends takes a dump in someone’s shoe or digs up your neighbour’s bonsai plant.
(Anyone remember Heathcliff?)
MINDEF once had a pineapple platoon
In 1974, Dr. Goh Keng Swee suggested that pineapples be grown in SAF camps. This plan attempted to tackle two problems – feed the soldiers and use the prickly plants as a natural concertina wires, preventing intruders. A shame this didn’t live on till today, would have made for good vocation for the “chao keng” soldiers.
(Let’s see you break through that)
Importing a firing pin warrants a death sentence
In Singapore, you can be sent to hang by the neck until death for drug trafficking, kidnapping and yes, importing of firearms. And the definition of “arm” includes “any component part thereof”, this means the innocent firing pin (one of the parts that sends the bullet flying) can potentially send you to St. Peter’s gate.
There was a “dating unit” known as the Social Development Unit that only accepted graduates.
The planners of this country, once upon a time, tried to mess about with what sounded awfully like Eugenics – the belief that some genes are superior to others. Thus the SDU only accepted graduates in the hope that the offspring of said graduates would produce intelligent heirs.
(There was one other person who was also experimenting with eugenics)
Before the ERP, officers were stationed at the CBD to literally eyeball every car, looking out for those who did not buy a Restricted Zone pass.
In our opinion, this was terribly ineffective. How on earth could you possibly scan the hundreds of cars that pass through the gantry? So whilst those who did cheat the system were coyly laughing at the stupidity of the Government, the folks at LTA were secretly laying out plans for Project ERP.
It is illegal to pee in the elevator
Yes. You have to tell people that it was illegal. It sounds silly today, but it wasn’t too long ago, people had a fetish for peeing, spitting and discarding their cigarette butts in the lifts. These 3rd world habits got imported along into the development of modern public housing. Today these signs are rare, but it is useful to remind ourselves of old habits that fizzled out.
(Look’s stupid today doesn’t it?)
You’re not allowed to be naked at home
Well, you can be in your own room, but – you may be subjected to a $2000 fine and/or 3-month jail sentence if you are *caught* wandering naked around your home. That is to say, someone has seen you. Shame really, with laws like this, no wonder fertility rates are falling. Curtain sales are brisk and on the bright side, the Government would have saved your eyes some suffering, because… how shall we say, low-hanging fruits aren’t exactly the tastiest.
There you have it! It’s a nation in the making – and we’ve made many experiments along the way, all in the good faith of churning out policies that are uniquely Singapore! Happy April Fools Day!