No Bubble Gum? Strange Laws Around the World

don't do this in Singapore.

don’t do this in Singapore.

Every country is different, and while we pride ourselves on being a nation that offers us so much freedom and possibility, sometimes we have a tendency to take our good fortune for granted. Luxuries that seem as simple as driving a car or drinking alcohol can result in major fines and punishment in other countries. And even parts of the USA have some of the most random laws ever, like the fact that it’s illegal to throw confetti or spray silly string in Alabama (yet it’s completely okay to openly carry a pistol or gun.). Here’s a list of some of the super strange laws that don’t seem to make any sense (yet they were considered of enough importance to be made into laws).

A Wife’s Revenge in Hong Kong – There’s a law that actually allows a woman to kill her husband if she catches him cheating on her, but there’s one small requirement: she is only allowed to kill him with her bare hands. No weapons or outside assistance are allowed, so ladies, you either marry a man smaller than you or you start lifting weights and work on achieving your maximum physical condition, just to be prepared.

Pennsylvania Pranksters – You remember that good old trick of tying a dollar bill to a string on the ground and pulling it away when someone tries to pick it up? Yeah, well, in Pennsylvania that’s a no-no. Time to look in your bag of tricks for some new material!

Drunk Drinking – In London, if you’re found to be publicly drunk in a licensed premises (that includes a pub), you’re actually violating the law and can be fined on the spot by a policeman. It almost seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? By publicly drunk, they of course mean engaging in disorderly conduct, so if you’re just sitting in a corner drinking away your sorrows, they’ll most likely leave you alone.

Illegal Rainwater in Colorado – Proud of your collection of rainwater in all of those sparkling bottles or saving that water for when you’ll need it, like during a drought? Well if you’re in Colorado, better dump it out. Apparently farmers and landowners are being punished for engaging in this “crime” (which used to be legal and was simply known as “rainwater harvesting”).

Gum-Free Singapore – Singapore prides itself on being the cleanest country in the world, and they can attribute a big part of this to the fact that chewing gum has been banned. Good luck even trying to find a single stick of chewing gum, and if you somehow happen to have one in your possession, better get rid of it fast. I’m sure there’s some hidden black market for bubble gum somewhere, but if you do get caught selling non-medical chewing gum or you’re chewing it, you’ll be fined $1000. If you’re caught a second time you’ll be fined $2000 and forced to clean part of the city. And if you’re crazy enough to get caught doing this a third time? You’ll be forced to face the ultimate public humiliation: cleaning the streets while wearing a big that says “I’m a litterer.” So next time you run your hands under a public bench in Singapore and smile because you don’t have any gum sticking to you, keep in mind that didn’t come without a steep price.

Saudi Arabia’s Steep Regulations – This is one tough place to live so you’d better make sure you’re a law-abiding citizen if you choose to make this place your home. For one, there is no minimum age for marriage, so don’t be too surprised when you saw really young girls (some children even) out with their much older husbands. Also, it is illegal for women to drive and vote (although word on the street says they will be able to vote in 2015). I guess one upside of not being allowed to drive is the fact that you’ll never have to worry about being the designated driver and you can drink. Oh wait, alcohol is strictly forbidden by law as well. Guess now is a good time to take up a fun side hobby, like knitting.

Divorce-Free Philippines – If you’re planning on getting hitched in the Philippines, better make sure you’re willing to make that lifelong commitment to your significant other, because divorce is illegal here. On a previous episode of National Geographic’s Locked Up Abroad, an American guy was thrown into prison for dating a married woman (who was actually separated from her husband, but because they were not divorced, it was considered adultery). The Philippines is primarily a Catholic country and divorce is not allowed by the Church. But I’m wondering if people leave the country to get divorced and then return? Not quite sure how this one works, but being that I’m half Filipina myself, I should probably look into this.

Money Stomping in Thailand – Next time you see money on the ground while in Thailand, you’d better fight the urge to step on it with your foot. Either reach for it with your hand or simply let it blow away in the wind. In Thailand, the underside of the foot is considered extremely dirty and offensive (never point towards someone with your foot, for example), and the royal family is depicted on the Thai Baht, so by stepping on their national currency, in essence you’re stepping on the royal family’s faces.

Parental Time in China – Another family-oriented country, a law was passed in 2013 that considers it illegal for people to not visit their parents often in China. What constitutes “often” I do not know, but in China it is very common for parents to go and live with their children in their old age. There is also a century-long waiting list to get into a retirement home (seriously, I’m not exaggerating), so you’d better brace yourself for late night games of Cribbage and reruns of your dad’s favorite shows.

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