Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

The one thing most Americans have heard about Singapore is that they have some crazy laws there. I remember the story in the 90s of the American teenager who was caned for vandalizing cars and stealing road signs. It isn't just that their punishment is so strict, it's also that they have so many laws, all of which I image are geared toward promoting public harmony and cleanliness on this tiny island inhabited by millions of people representing a huge diversity of cultural backgrounds (apparently you even have to get a permit if you want to speak in public about any racial or religious topic). Makes sense, I suppose. But as an American, you can't help notice all the signs everywhere...

There are signs that show you where to walk and where to ride your bike (nice that they have two separate sidewalks, right?). Of course, just because there are signs doesn't mean people follow them...
This seemed to be the sign least followed. There were constantly bikers in the walker lane and walkers in the biking land.
No jaywalking. Also a sign frequently ignored by pedestrians trying to get to the train station, not willing to wait for the light to turn. (Seems reasonable to me).

It appears Singaporeans take many of these signs with a grain of salt. 

There are signs directing you at the train station... check out those fines! They aren't too far off from the US dollar. The first three seem like pretty reasonable requests for keeping the station clean and safe for all travelers. But the bottom right one is just funny... no durians! I think this is because durians (fruit) tend to stink like smelly sweet cheese.

More things you can get fined for at the train station

Signs telling you what to value... interesting.

Signs making healthy suggestions... the top stair sign reads something like "I burned 5x the calories by taking the stairs"
Signs showing you how to use the bathroom. The most ridiculous part is this was posted in the women's restroom. Aim properly, ladies!
Signs on the trails of Pulua Ubin. These all make sense to me, but I thought (and Google confirms) poaching is, by definition, illegal. I guess a little redundancy never hurt anyone.
Signs at the Botanic Gardens... no segways! 
The upper right sign deserves a closeup... perhaps the most ridiculous of all...
I guess since not everyone speaks English, the picture is necessary. Or is it?? Really, dotted line, arrow? Does the average person need help understanding how a dog's digestive system works? Oh Singapore...

In addition to the ridiculous signs, there were also some helpful ones. Like when it's lunchtime and you spot this sign... very helpful.

Or if you are driving your car around looking for a spot in a parking garage. Every car in Singapore has a card and card reader that is also used to pay for tolls and parking. The card system gives you an up-to-the-minute count of how many parking spots are available in any given parking garage. Pretty impressive!

Also impressive is the amount of stuff to do... in their airport! Shall we check out the butterfly garden on the way to the gate? How about the koi pond? Great food and shopping here too. And I must say I appreciate how across Asia they really don't jack up the prices of stuff at airports. They also have Starbucks and free wifi.
Lastly, we saw the sign for this restaurant. Simple, to the point. Didn't have time to stop here, but I think Nick would really enjoy a place like this, judging by the sign.

There were a few key signs I did not get (like the "do not feed the monkeys" sign!). Nick also saw a sign in his restroom that indicated "No washing your feet in the sink." If you want to see a few more ridiculous Singapore directive signs, check out this post

PS... a number of you have told me you have had trouble getting your comments to post... boo! Am sending feedback to Blogger to hopefully fix this.

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