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10 peculiar things you can find in Singapore
Only in this city can you lose S$100 before you even get inside the casinos, queue for two hours for bubble tea and join a dating agency run by the government
We all know about SIngapore's air-conditioning, shopping malls, hawker centers, fines for littering and carrying durians.
But did you know the Lion City also has a government-sponsored dating agency and a Merlion hotel? Here are 10 more eyebrow-raising facts about the Little Red Dot.
1. Ridiculous bubble tea queues
We haven’t seen queues like this since Hello Kitty showed up at McDonald's, but trendy bubble tea stores like Koi, Gong Cha and I Love Taimei have really been cashing in on our tenacious tea drinkers who are willing to queue up to two hours for their fix.
- More on CNNGo: 5 levels of weird: Singapore foods you know you should try
2. Maid cafes
Girls don fake lashes, bambi eyes and Japanese-styled French maid costumes at the Akibanana Café and Bar(108 Tanjong Pagar Road, +65 6222 2087) to serve your every whim and fancy.
These Meido-sans will spoon-feed you, do your nails, and even give you a massage. See their full list of services here.
3. The Merlion Hotel
Lo and behold, our nation’s favorite half-fish half-lion will "undergo a transformation from February 7 to March 9 to turn into a temporary hotel suite to welcome quests for overnight stays.
As if our Merlion has not been subjected to enough mockery, we now have a hotel erected in its name.
4. The S$100 casino levy
Yes, we’re the only country in the world that enforces a casino entry fee for locals and we find it thoroughly absurd.
But please, don’t try to be hero and fake a foreign identity card just to evade the fee; several people have already been arrested, fined and jailed for using another person’s Singapore Work Permit card to enter the casino.
5. Restrictions on Thaipusam
As part of our government’s plan to “secularize” Singapore, we now have a law stating that “shouting and other forms of unruly behavior are prohibited; participants shall not paint their faces or bodies or wear any form of disguise.”
Right, so where does this leave ethnic festivals such as Thaipusam? And seriously, where was this heinous rule during our YOG opening ceremony?
6. Singapore Kindness Movement
Again, we’re the only country in the world that has a national campaign to promote kindness and care among citizens. “Kindness is in everyone”? Clearly, it isn’t.
7. SDU = Single, Desperate, Ugly?
Oops sorry, it’s the Social Development Unit, our very own government-sponsored dating agency. Be prepared to receive an exclusive membership invitation (at an annual fee of only S$10) from the SDU if you’re above 30 and (still) not married.
For more info, check out their full membership schemes here.
- More on CNNGo: Alexis Ong: The problem with Singapore men
8. The racial quota
Over 80 percent of Singaporeans live in a Housing Development Board (HDB) flat and with one million of them built you'd think securing one would be easy.
Sadly no, the HDB dictates that a racial quota be met before homeowners can secure a flat of their choice -- with a maximum ethnic limit per block of 25 percent Malay, 87 percent Chinese and 15 percent Indian/Others.
Does this policy serve to integrate or segregate?
9. No making out
We’ve spotted a “No Making Out” sign at the Mandarin Gallery several months ago. Has anyone been brazen enough to challenge this yet?
10. The 'Tuition Nation'
Singapore, you know it as "A Fine City," or the "Little Red Dot," but it should also be dubbed the “Tuition Nation.” The Straits Times coined the term some years ago and the saying still holds true with over 540 (and counting) tuition centers islandwide, their banners adorning every wall and fence possible.
This tuition-chasing phenomenon is making parents more kiasu and uptight, and their kids (future leaders of tomorrow, right?) more umm, myopic, in more ways than one.