What you need to know about Singapore

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Jun 10, 2019

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What is the first thing you think when the word Singapore comes to mind? Is it the food, the grand buildings or is it the movie 'Crazy Rich Asians'? 

Here are a few things about the city-state that might blow your mind:

How to reserve your seat at a Hawkers market

Inside Lau Par Sat, the grande dame of markets in Singapore.

A tissue can save your seat in the hawkers market.  Yes, really.  As told to IOL, it's an 'unwritten rule' that if one leaves an umbrella or a tissue on a seat or on the table, the seat is off-limits to anyone else. 

So what happens if a person just brushes away the tissue and sits on the 'reserved seat'?

It depends, say Singaporeans. If the person who made the social faux pax is a tourist, then they are easily forgiven because they might have not known about the 'unwritten rule'. However, if it was local...  Let's just say things won't end well. 

What inspired Marina Bay Sands?

Marina Bay Sands' architect was inspired by a house of cards.

Many architects find their inspiration from various things. The architect of the famous Marina Sands Bay Hotel, Moshe Safdie, was inspired by a mere house of cards. 

The biggest myth about Singapore   

Singapore is not as strict as people may think. It is not utilitarian state and you will not be slapped with hefty fines for everything under the sun - except if you a smoke in a non-smoking zone. You can face a fine of up to S$ 1000 (approximately R10 000) if you are brave or stupid enough to smoke in a non-smoking zone.

Your car is scrapped after ten years 

We all know someone who has had the same car for years.  Maybe it's because he/she loves that car and couldn't bear to part with it or perhaps there is no money for a new car. Whatever the reason may be, Singaporeans don't get to keep the 'family car' for years.  Cars in Singapore get scrapped ten years after it is bought.

If you don't scrap it, you should renew your Certificate of Entitlement ( COE). This makes your car 'road-worthy' again.  

Permits and prostitutes

In a bid to curb illegal activity, prostitutes are required to carry a permit. This permit shows authorities that this prostitute is 'legally' doing her trade.  Prostitutes found without a permit can expect heavy consequences by the law. 

The Peranakan melting pot

Peranakan culture is one of the many things that make Singapore unique. The Peranakan people, whose are born from the intermarriages of the 1800s of Chinese men and Malay women, are very proud of their heritage and embrace, respect all parts of their heritage. 

Directing money to the land

The Singapore Flyer Observation wheel changed its direction shortly after its official launch. Why? Feng shui masters believed the wheel should draw the sea water, which is a symbol of wealth, into the land rather than the water.

The significance of numbers

Eight is a lucky number symbolising prosperity. This eight was found hanging over a casino inside a cruise ship

The Singaporeans are all about the symbolism of numbers. The number 8 is especially favoured because the number 8 in Mandarin sounds like 'fa' which means wealth and prosperity. 

However the number four is the most unlucky. The Chinese will go to extreme lengths to avoid this number. Look carefully and you will notice there is not a 'fourth floor' in many buildings in Singapore. 


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