1. The 'Fine' City. Singapore is famous for being the cleanest city in the world. Tourists will be astonished and impressed by the strict rules and regulations formed by the Singapore government. There are many posters in buildings and parks telling people what they should do, what they shouldn't do and how much they will be fined if they break the rules. That is the reason why Singapore is called "the fine city." The following list of fines comes from a tourist t-shirt:
1. No Smoking -FINE $1000
2. No urinating in lifts - FINE $500
3. No Feeding Birds - FINE $1000
4. No eating and drinking in MRT(subway) - FINE $500
5. No Littering - FINE $1000
6. Not Flushing (toilet) - FINE $150
7. Possession of Fire Cracker - Cane
8. Possession of Drug 30g - Death Sentence
9. Vandalism - Jail and Cane
It does seem that these fines are rarely enforced though. More for show.....2. Grocery Shopping. Our first shock of this experience was having to pay a dollar to get a shopping cart at the local grocery store, which appropriately set the tone for the rest of our first week (finding an affordable apartment will have its own post!). As we made our way through the store, sans grocery cart (we didn't have a dollar), it quickly became apparent that our grocery bill is going to double. $16 for a gallon of Florida Orange Juice? No problem. $14.25 for a Lean Cuisine. Sure. A bag of Shredded Cheddar Cheese, $13. Bogus. Eating as we do in the US is probably not going to fly for too long...Basil has already stocked the cupboards with Curry Noodles and Potstickers. On a positive note, we found all of the isles crowded with store employees checking the expiration date of every single item in the store to ensure compliance and every vegetable and fruit is saran wrapped for the ultimate sanitation. We later found out that this particular grocery store was the most expensive in Singapore. We have recently found a more reasonable place. Only $13 for Orange Juice........
**Other random things we have learned about Singapore:
- They don't show any kissing or have cussing on TV but you can walk into any trendy store and they will be blasting rap songs with the 'f' word.
- Restaurants do not provide napkins and they discourage you from cleaning up your table when you leave, even at the outdoor wet markets, or else you are taking away jobs of poor elderly citizens who are paid to clean up. Kind of sad, but apparently the systems works well over here.
- It is illegal to be gay, but prostitution is legal in some areas of Singapore with the proper license.
- It is illegal to honk your horn unless you think you are absolutely about to prevent an accident.
- The escalators go so fast you literally have to run onto them and jump off.
- The ever-so-popular 'no chewing gum' law is true but not enforced.
PS. Byram and vonBargen booked their tickets last night to come out here in October over OU's bye-week. Any and all are welcome to come. Riding elephants on the beach in Bali will most likely be on the agenda.
Emily & Basil