Singapore Country Guide

Respect

 
 

Local Customs

If invited to someone's house in Singapore, always remove your shoes before you enter as most Singaporeans do not wear their shoes at home. This is the case in many parts of Asia and wearing shoes into a home is considered unclean. Socks are perfectly acceptable though, as long as they are not excessively soiled. Many places of worship also require you to remove your shoes before you enter.

 
 
 
 
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Chinese temple by Sengkang

Beware of taboos if bringing gifts. Any products (food or otherwise) involving animals may cause offence and are best avoided, as are white flowers (usually reserved for funerals). Among the Chinese, knives and clocks are also symbols of cutting ties and death respectively and some are superstitious about the number four because it nearly sounds like the Chinese word for "death". Also note that in Singapore, it is considered rude to open a gift in front of the person who gave it to you. Instead, wait till the person has left and open it in private. Many Singaporean Muslims and some Hindus abstain from alcohol.

Inside a mosque by Smuconlaw

Swastikas are commonly seen in Buddhist and Hindu temples, as well as among the possessions of Buddhists and Hindus. It is regarded as a religious symbol and does not represent Nazism or anti-Semitism. As such, Western visitors should not feel offended on seeing a swastika in the homes of their hosts and many locals will wonder what the fuss is all about.

Take dietary restrictions into account when inviting Singaporean friends for a meal. Many Indians practising Hinduism and Chinese are vegetarian. However, the majority of the Hindu Indians are not vegetarians but most will abstain from eating beef.
Most Malays (being predominantly Muslims) eat only halal food i.e. food that are permissible in Islam.

 
Singapore
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Boat Quay
Chinatown
City Hall
Clarke Quay
Marina Bay
Mustafa Centre
North Bridge Road
Orchard Road
Sentosa Island
Suntec City

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