Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin,
square-shaped plugs are in use.
Singapores official languages are English, Mandarin,
Malay and Tamil. A patois called Singlish, or Singaporean English
is widely spoken. It is the by-product of mixing English, Chinese
and Malay syntax and idiom.
Tipping is not encouraged as most hotels and restaurants in
Singapore already levy a 10% service charge on customers' bills.
Tipping is not a way of life in Singapore, but is appreciated for
Singapore is a very safe travel destination with crime limited
to the odd theft. The Singapore Government has stepped up security
measures following the terrorist attacks in Bali and is committed
to maintaining Singapore's reputation as a safe destination.
Singapore is a fairly diverse society and has been moulded by
its immigrant population, primarily Malay, Chinese and Indian,
along with the large expat community. The city is incredibly
efficient and the citizens very law-abiding - there are fines
issued for just about any offence in Singapore, including S$500 for
smoking in public places, S$50 for jaywalking, S$1,000 for
littering and S$500 for eating, drinking or chewing gum on the MRT.
There are even fines for not flushing public toilets so it goes
without saying that getting involved in illegal drugs is not
advisable; trafficking carries a maximum penalty of death. Chinese
Singaporeans have three names, the first of which is their surname,
or family name. As a result visitors should be prepared for hotels
mistakenly reserving rooms under their first names. For clarity
surnames may be underlined.
Business in Singapore is conducted formally. The adherence to a
dress code is strict, with suits the preferred business attire.
Punctuality is essential in all business meetings, unlike social
engagements where a 'fashionably-late' policy is observed.
Appointments should be made at least two weeks in advance. The
exchange of business cards is vital at introductions and the
ceremony of it is important for creating good relations. Business
cards are to be treated with respect and not folded, written upon
or vandalised in any way. Shaking hands is the common form of
greeting for both men and women and may last up to 10 seconds. The
person is to be addressed by their respective title followed by
their surname. It is a good idea to ask beforehand how the person
is correctly addressed as this may vary depending on the different
cultures within Singapore. Business hours are generally 9am to 5pm
Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.
The international access code for Singapore is +65. The outgoing
code is either 001, 002, 008 or 018, depending on the service
provider, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00144 for the
United Kingdom). City or area codes are not used. Public phones are
good for local and international calls; they take credit cards or
phonecards, which can be bought at newspaper kiosks and Telecom
shops. Calls made from hotels are free of any surcharges. Several
local mobile phone operators use GSM 900/1800 networks. Email and
Internet access is available at Internet cafes throughout the
Travellers to Singapore over 18 years do not have to pay duty on
1 litre of wine, spirits and beer. Chewing gum and tobacco products
must be declared on arrival. Strictly prohibited is the trafficking
in illegal drugs, which carries the death sentence. Prohibited
items include meat and meat products, and firearms and explosives
without a permit.