Someone once observed, "The world is wild at heart and strange on top."
Every country is unique, and each country’s laws are unique as well. Sometimes these regulations verge on the ludicrous, while other times they highlight essential cultural values that may differ from others. However, rules and laws are the only way to ensure that society operates smoothly. However, any country can shape the laws according to its own desires, and it becomes interesting when certain countries create their own laws.
When traveling or settling overseas, it is critical to understand how things work in your location. The culture of a new area can be entertaining and engaging, but things can get pretty odd at times. Here are a few odd laws from throughout the world:
Singapore – Use of bubble gum is banned
Leave the gum at home and opt for a breath mint instead when visiting Singapore. Singapore, the island city-state noted for its cleanliness, has various regulations aimed at keeping the country clean. The country appears to have a particular obsession with chewing gum. Singapore banned all gum substances in 1992 after vandals used chewing gum to wreak havoc on the MRT system, and the Housing and Development Board spent $150,000 per year on enforcement.
Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was presented with the knowledge that chewing gum aids creativity during an interview with the BBC in 2000. His response was that chewing gum is illegal and that anyone who needs to chew something in order to be more creative may simply munch a banana. Of the exception of nicotine and dental gums with medicinal value, anyone importing, selling, or manufacturing gum in Singapore faces fines and/or jail time. However, in recent years, restrictions have been relaxed, and bringing two packs is allowed. Don’t get caught in the act of blowing bubbles on the streets!
Dubai – Driving an unwashed automobile might result in a hefty fine
The United Arab Emirates has some harsh rules and even tougher restrictions about public morality and what they deem to be ‘lewd,’ but there are also additional laws in existence throughout the UAE that are simply bizarre. The UAE is concerned about its image, which is understandable, yet a person can be penalized separately for having a dirty car and failing to wash it. Dirty automobiles are deemed to be ‘disfiguring the city image and health,’ and their owners can be fined up to 3,000 dirhams (£590). However, washing a car ‘incorrectly’ — that is, in residential areas, or by hiring someone to do it for you – can also ‘distort the city’s lovely image,’ resulting in a fine. One must take it to a professional car wash to have it done. There will be no car washing on Saturday mornings over there.
Italy – No feed to pigeons in Venice
With thousands of pigeons flocking to Saint Mark’s Square in Venice, enticed by tourists willing to dish them food in exchange for Instagram-worthy images, Venice politicians made feeding the bothersome fowl illegal in 2008. The cleanup from the birds is said to cost each resident €275 per year, so the tables have turned. If someone is caught feeding the pigeons, he or she might face a €700 fine. Instead, take a picture of one of Venice’s beautiful bridges.
France – Men must wear speedos on french beaches
If you believed that the French merely had a thing for Speedos, that’s not it. It is actually French legislation that males do not wear baggy swim trunks on beaches, swimming pools, and other public venues where a swimsuit is necessary apparel. The ban was enacted not for safety, but because men wouldn’t dare to walk about town in a Speedo, therefore if he wears a Speedo in the pool, it will undoubtedly be cleaner than something he may have worn all day. This requirement to eliminate apparel that could have been worn during the day extends to T-shirts; thus one would need to get rid of those as quickly as your surf shorts.
Sri Lanka – Can’t take a selfie with Buddha
You are turning your back on Buddha when you snap a selfie with him. In Sri Lanka, this display of contempt is punishable by imprisonment. It is also considered impolite to point your finger at Buddha, and taking photos with the statues is sometimes prohibited. Although tattoos of Buddha are not banned, a British lady was arrested for three days in 2014 for unsuitable tattoos of the man whom 70% of Sri Lankans believe is a prophet and avatar of the god Vishnu. Respect “no photograph” signs, be nice, and don’t turn your back on him.
You might be obliged to remove the images. If you refuse, the police may be summoned. Photos are permitted next to the Buddhas, sideways, with the body facing him and only the head facing the camera, but never from behind with the Buddha in the background.
United Arab Emirates – Swearing is prohibited
Swearing is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or deportation in the Muslim United Arab Emirates. Swearing, according to Article 373 of the UAE Penal Code, “disgraces a person’s honor or modesty.” This isn’t simply about shouting offensive words out loud. It involves obscene bodily gestures as well as text messages and social media. Even obscene emojis are not permitted. Earlier this year, the British Express reported that a guy sent a furious message to a car salesman who had apparently wronged him. For his choice of words, he was threatened with three weeks in jail.
Japan – After midnight, it is illegal to dance in the dark
Japan was like the country equivalent of the film “Footloose.” Dancing after midnight has been prohibited for millennia because it is considered too wicked. Well, it was simply too American. The ban was enacted in 1948, while US troops were occupying Japan, to prevent liberal Americans from corrupting the decent residents of Japan. In 2105, Japan lifted the ban. People are permitted to dance after midnight, as long as it is not in the dark. Those looking to get their groove on after the clock strikes twelve should do it in well-lit nightclubs.
Rome – Walking dogs is a must
Not walking pet dogs is prohibited under Rome’s rigorous anti-cruelty regulations. If a dog owner fails not to walk their dog at least once a day, they could be fined $625. The law also applies to goldfish. They must have enough space to swim despite the fact that they cannot be walked. Goldfish cannot be housed in bowls and must instead be kept in a full-sized aquarium.
Canada – It is illegal to climb trees in Oshawa
Parks, squares, and public spaces, according to the pedagogue, are perfect places for children who live in cities to play freely. The bad news for Oshawa residents is that there is legislation prohibiting people from climbing trees in municipal parks. “No person shall interfere with a tree or part of a tree located on municipal property, including but not limited to attaching, affixing, or placing thereon in any manner any object or thing to a tree or portion of a tree, and climbing the tree,” according to one of the city’s bylaws.
The Canadian Law Discussion discusses the law’s origins, stating, “This law was placed in place to prohibit Canadians from attempting to act like Spiderman.” According to the city of Oshawa, “they care profoundly about the safety of its inhabitants, which is why this rule is in place.”
Oceania – Forgetting your wife’s birthday might end you up in jail in Samoa
The world is filled with forgetful husbands, but Oceania’s Samoa is working to change that! It is illegal to forget the wife’s birthday there, and the husband must answer to justice and compensate the woman if he does. If the wife ends up reporting to the police about this terrible blunder, the husband may have to visit the lock-up and answer some tough questions. So, the best choice for husbands in Samoa is to keep their spouses happy so that even if they miss their birthdays, their wives would not complain to the police. However, the best choice for them is to remember to wish her a happy birthday and to purchase her some wonderful gifts and a good dinner.