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Four Things Tourists Should Avoid Doing in Singapore


The world is a mystery. There are many things that happen around us – whether seen or unseen. Many Singaporeans believe that a supernatural realm exists. With this, superstitions were born. Here in Singapore, superstitions or taboos are called “pantang”. Many people believe that breaking pantang will mean dealing with the wrath of the supernatural.


Here are the top five things to avoid here if you do not want to deal with the wrath of the supernatural:

  • Tapping on the shoulder: Here, nobody gets tapped on the shoulder therefore nobody taps the shoulder. Why is this? It is believed that we have three “lights” that helps keep away the ghost’s energy – forehead and each of the shoulders. When someone taps your shoulder, be sure not to turn your head because it can cause you one light. The ghost can then slap you with a curse. When you are trying to catch someone’s attention, you should shout “oi” or grab their arm. This gesture makes sure that you are human.


  • Smelling frangipani flower: Many people said that the scent of frangipani flower is exquisite but you should not risk it and smell it. It is said that if you smell these flowers especially on old and abandoned trees, there is a big chance you will see a Pontianak.


  • Saying “dabao”: When you are trying to get a takeout food, using dabao is acceptable. Dabao is Cantonese and it means “pack up”. However, you have to be careful not to say these words inside a hospital or classroom. In the hospital setting, dabao means wrapping a dead body. Who knows what might end up following you or your food. When you are in the classroom, do not mention dabao since it will mean failing subjects.


  • Peeing on trees: Men are often seen peeing on trees. This is for them. In Army, men learn to pee on trees since it is the best place if they are in the field. You already know that some trees harbour supernatural spirits and peeing on them might offend them. If there is really a need to pee on the tree, make sure to apologize first.

Conversely, there are people who don’t care about these taboos or superstitions here. They live accordingly without thinking of other things and what might happen. Sometimes life is easier without thinking of many things. Whether you believe in superstitions or not, the important thing is you respect all life forms. Do your best not to offend someone and you will be fine.


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