While Singapore's anti-chewing gum law may seem incredulous to foreigners visiting our country, that particular law of ours surely isn't the most bizarre when we compare it with some other laws and customs around the world.
Besides learning more about bizarre European traditions that still exist today and weird traditions around the world that people actually celebrate, here are the five most absurd laws and customs in the world that we at GET.com have put together for those of you who are especially inquisitive and quirky.
5 Most Absurd Laws & Customs In The World
1. Members Of The Dani Tribe Cut Segments Of Their Fingers To Exhibit Grief
Image source: Carolyn's Travel Stories
One of the most gripping customs ever in my book is the age-old custom where female members of Papua New Guinea's Dani tribe voluntarily cut off a segment of their finger when a loved one passes away. The amputated finger remnant is then buried together with the deceased.
That is their brave and utterly unique way of grieving for someone close to their heart, someone whom they love more than anything else on Earth. Young women of the Dani tribe may no longer be seen with amputated fingers anymore, but this archaic tradition has certainly left its footprints (handprints?) on the older female Dani people.
2. It Is Illegal To Fart In Public After 6pm On Thursdays In Florida
While I do not know if it is possible for anyone to control and restrain his or her fart, it isn't legal for anyone to break wind in a public spot after 6pm on Thursdays, at least when in Florida. This particular law in Florida has nothing to do with safety or religion, and nobody knows why the sacred time is set at 6pm. But how do they enforce this law? Are the authorities going around sniffing farts all night long on Thursdays? That would be really hilarious and a tad idiotic.
Here's a plausible reason why this silly Floridian law exists:
3. Winnie The Pooh Is Deemed Inappropriate For Kids In Poland
Image source: YouTube
Who doesn't find Winnie The Pooh sweet and charming? Nobody...except politicians in Poland. Winnie The Pooh is banned from fronting Polish playgrounds because of a rather lame reason. Local politicians in the small town of Tuszyn, Poland, were forthright in their anti-Winnie The Pooh sentiment during a council session.
The leaked tape had a shocking, crystal clear message - Winnie The Pooh isn't suitable for little kids because this cartoon bear has an indistinguishable gender and is half-naked pretty much all the time.
Come on, Winnie The Pooh is a lovable, adorable, silly bear who's warmed the hearts of millions of children all over the world for generations. Why would politicians who have obviously lost their sense of wonderment think of Winnie The Pooh as an immodest bear?
4. Japan Is Keeping Tabs On Citizens' Waistlines
Aside from sumo wrestlers, most Japanese citizens are actually rather slender by international standards. Despite their usual healthy diets comprising lots of fish, seafood, vegetables and grains (as opposed to highly processed foods and fast foods that we all consume all the time), Japan's 'metabo' law mandates citizens between 45- and 74-years-old to have their waistlines measured at least one time annually, and to seek medical help if need be.
Who's affected by this law? Males with waistlines larger than around 35 inches and females with waistlines larger than around 31 inches in the above-mentioned age group.
Note that the Japanese authorities aren't cracking down and making obesity illegal in itself.
They're just going the extra mile to promote a healthier lifestyle and diets that help their citizens stay slim. As you already know, obesity raises one's risk to a whole host of medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, strokes and more. And all those translate to higher medical bills hence higher fiscal pressures.
Also, companies and local governments will be slapped with financial penalties if specific goals to slash obesity rates aren't met.
5. Several Countries Have Absolutely No Legal Restrictions On Minimum Marriage Age
According to a report by Pew Research, laws in more than 100 countries let people below 18-years-old marry earlier if parental consent is involved. Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, Yemen and Somalia are countries that have zero legal restrictions with regard to minimum age for marriage.
I don't know about you but I am not keen on the idea of child marriage. Not only does child marriage hurt young girls' health, education opportunities, and income potential, it is but also a massive violation of human rights.
Although one may argue that the majority these kids' parents have the power to give the green light for child marriages to proceed or not, you can't discount the possibility that some parents just don't have their young kids' welfare at heart.