Are We Too Disapproving?

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So the recent news about the new types of equipment to deal with smoke and fuel have made an old hawker centre rule somewhat redundant. Environment Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan has rightly asked for the scrapping of the National Environment Agency rule. But what about other “archaic” rules?

1. Connecting to Unsecured WiFi Hotspots in Public…

Constitutes hacking and is a chargeable offence under the Computer Misuse Act, even if you accidentally connect your laptop or mobile device to an unsecured WiFi hotspot at your favourite fast food restaurant. Hilarious and ridiculous, this offence carries a jail term of three years along with a hefty fine. In 2006, a Singaporean youth was sentenced to 18 months’ probation and 80 hours of community service.

2. Oral Sex and Gay Men

Statue 377A of the Indian Penal Code states, ‘Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animals, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.’

Oral sex between gay men is an offence that carries a lengthy prison sentence up to 10 years, compounded by a hefty fine. A more likely issue is that the government is afraid of stepping on the tails of religious groups.

Then again, would any gay man boast about his rendezvous in public when the matter is, first and foremost, a personal and private one?

3. Nudity at Home

It seems that the legislators are a bunch of jealous people to have passed this motion in parliament. Possessing pornographic material is, of course, illegal, but the act of stripping down to your birthday suit in the privacy of your own home is also an offence if someone sees you. You will be charged for indecency under Chapter 184 of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act. If you do not want police officers knocking on your door late at night, always keep your clothes on no matter how humid the weather is. Or make sure your curtains are drawn! On the other hand, isn’t peeking into the homes of others’, including your neighbours’, an invasion of privacy.

4. Water Conservation Tax

The water conservation tax does not encourage people to save water. Even if PUB says that the purpose of introducing this tax is to remind people that water is precious right from the first drop, people are aware that water is a precious resource. You are already paying for three components in your monthly water bills – water tariff, waterborne fee and sanitary appliance fee. So why do we need to pay more?

5. Vehicle Inspection

Compulsory vehicle inspection in Singapore has, over the years, grown to become a pain. While the purpose of inspection is to prevent unnecessary vehicle breakdown that could escalate into a serious road jam, the Land Transport Authority is not doing enough to prevent traffic congestion. What is the point of having an annual vehicle inspection once your car or motorbike turns three years’ old if Singapore’s roads are more often than not cluttered with traffic?

6. Thinking Death

Thought is dangerous and thinking of the President’s death can send you straight to the gallows. According to Chapter 224, Section 121A of the Penal Code, anyone – Singaporean and foreigner – who compasses, imagines, invents, devises, or intends the death of or hurt to or imprisonment or restraint of the President is punishable by death. Hilarious as it already is, lawyer Mark Toh of Characterist LLC says this rule should be removed because thought is intangible. So perish the thought or you will be thrown into prison!