How to Handle Legal Implications in Singapore

Singapore has long been a top draw for tourists, business travellers and expatriates and continues to be so as the city-state has something to offer for every sort of visitor. In the present times when crime rates have gone up in almost every nation on the face of this earth and tourists are pervaded by a feeling of insecurity when they travel overseas, Singapore offers a save haven. In fact, Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world where even a heavily bedecked woman can criss-cross the city late at night without the fear of getting mugged.
Since Singapore used to be a British colony, the legal structure of the country has been modelled on the judicial setup of the English Parliamentary System. Many have termed Singapore as a police-state because of its rigorous law enforcement policies. You could be fined heavily even for petty misdemeanours like littering, jaywalking, chewing gum, smoking in the open or for leaving toilets un-flushed!

The Legal Framework in Singapore

The Singapore Police Force is entrusted with enforcing and safeguarding the laws and bringing culpable citizens to book. Before you can start planning your Singapore sojourn, it is imperative to be aware of the legal framework of the island-state and also have a fair idea of dealing with the legal niceties if you’re unwittingly caught on the wrong side of the law.
The principal segments of legal jurisprudence- administrative law, property law, trust law, equity law, tort law, and contract law are generally framed by judges. Nevertheless, criminal law, civil law, family law and company law are of a statutory (as enshrined in the Singapore Constitution) nature and amendments in these specific legal segments are made on the basis of past precedents. The entire legal structure (or infrastructure) of Singapore is supported by the four props of Constitution, Legislation, Auxiliary Legislation, and laws framed by Judges.

The Court System

The Supreme Court of Singapore is the apex court of the country headed by the Chief Justice. The Supreme Court is broadly sub-divided into High Court and Court of Appeal for hearing criminal and civil cases. The           ‘juvenile courts’, ‘district courts’, ‘coroners’ court’, ‘small claims tribunals, ‘magistrates’ courts’, ‘family courts’, ‘traffic courts’, syariah courts, ‘night courts’, and ‘community courts’ make up the rank and file of Subordinate Courts. Before you move the court against someone or before somebody can file a case against find out which court of law you should approach.

 About Dispute Resolution

It goes without saying that moving the court in Singapore could be pretty expensive as well as a very time consuming affair. So, you’d do well to know that no matter whatever the dispute you’re involved in (business, family, criminal or civil), you can go for an out of the court settlement via the procedures of Arbitration and Mediation. A mediator is an experienced legal professional who can help you negotiate with your adversary and arrive at a mutually agreeable solution. The Singapore Mediation Centre is the monitoring and regulatory body entrusted with appointing neutral mediators. Nearly 90% of cases settled through the mediation route have been resolved within a day. The mediation fee is a minimum of 900 SGD for each day for a single party.

The Arbitration process unlike Mediation is legally enforceable. However, you do not need to be present in a courtroom as the arbitrator presides over a case in a private setting. The arbitrator announces a verdict at his own discretion and the same is legally binding on both the parties. The SIAC (Singapore International Arbitration Centre) is the regulatory body that supervises only civil arbitration matters in Singapore. Family law and/or criminal law cases are handled by the respective courts meant for such disputes. The particular court you’ll approach for your dispute resolution will invariably depend upon the character of your case and the amount you’re claiming as compensation. Bear in mind that once a verdict has been declared, it is legally enforceable although you can always appeal against the sentence in a High Court or Court of Appeal.   

 Wedding Traditions in Singapore

A marriage ceremony or wedding has always been a traditional affair that has transcended national borders, race, caste, creed or religion and even time. So, needless to say even in the 21st century, a typical wedding ceremonial in Singapore no matter how avant-garde and trendy it may appear at the outset is steeped in age-old rituals and customs. Singapore is a melting potpourri of cultures and people with diverse ethnic cultures and practices have harmoniously co-existed in the country for decades.

So, it follows that inter-racial and cross-cultural nuptials and weddings are quite common in the city-state. A wedding in Singapore is Occidental or Western in form but essentially Oriental (traditional) in character. The following lines elucidate some conventional and time-honoured customs that are still zealously followed in a characteristic wedding ceremony in Singapore.

1)The Positioning of the Wedding Bed (An Chuang)

Just before the wedding ceremony, a well-to-do man is generally consulted as far as the positioning of the newly married couples’ bed is concerned. Thereafter, a male kid of a close relation is invited to lie down or roll on it. Such an activity (rolling on the bed or lying down on it) is carried out to sanctify or consecrate the wedding. A male child is selected so that the couple is blessed with a son. Fruits like dates and oranges and vegetables particularly red or green beans are also spread throughout the bed for auspiciousness.

2)Sending Betrothal Gifts (Guo Da Li)

The tradition or practice of sending betrothal gifts to the bride’s family has been handed down from generation to generation. Actually, the entire process (of sending wedding gifts) comprises of two stages. In the first stage, the prospective groom and a lady who is considered lucky, visits the would-be-bride’s home to handover the gifts basket. What goes into the basket depends upon the ancestral provinces of both the groom and the bride. In the stage or final stage, the bride’s family returns the basket out of courtesy. The parents of the bride are supposed to reciprocate the gesture by giving ‘return gifts’. The amount of gifts in the baskets should always add up to an even number.

3)The Ritual of Combing the Hair (Shang Tou)

Prior to the wedding ceremony, the hair of the groom and the locks of the bride are done up generally by a lady and this ritual of combing signals the transitioning of the couple from adolescence to adulthood. The hair is usually done up (or combed) four times and each round has a symbolic meaning. The first combing stands for the lasting of marriage; the second represents holy wedlock till one reaches his or her prime; the third round stands for fertility and the ultimate combing represents lasting prosperity.

4)Bringing the Bride to Her In-Laws Home

Traditionally, the bridegroom in order to fetch his would-be-wife visits her parental or family home along with some of his closest male friends (xiong di dui) and relatives. The entire episode of bringing the bride to her in-laws home is quite an elaborate affair. The groom along with his male buddies has to go through many trials and tribulations before he can get to the bride. The ‘jie meis’ (bridesmaids) make the groom profess his love for his bride by telling him to draw up a marriage contract and put his signature on it. 
 
5)Tea Ceremony (Feng Cha)

The newly married couple after paying homage to their predecessors offer cups of tea to the parents of the grooms. Thereafter, they offer tea to the groom’s elders. In return the couple are presented with red packets containing money.

6)The Banquet

Parents of both the bride and the bridegroom sponsor a lavish wedding banquet that   usually comprises of a 7-to-10 course dinner. The wedding banquet is a perfect way of commemorating the holy union.

7) The Home-Coming (San Chao Hui Men) 

It is customary for the newlyweds to visit the parental home of the bride three days post the wedding reception.    
 

India Singapore Relations

History of India Singapore relationship

Singapore has long-standing bilateral, cultural and trade ties with India.  It’s a part of historical “Greater India”, which existed between Indian Subcontinent and Far East Islands and has strong historical and cultural relationships with India for many centuries.  According to a popular myth, The ancient king of the Srivijaya Empire at Sumatra, (now Indonesia) Saang Nila Uttama went to the expedition of the Island state and saw a huge lion there. Lion is called “singh” in Sanskrit and thus he named the island “Singapura,” with “pura” or “puram” being the Sanskrit version of the city.  So, the very name of the island state is of Indian origin.
    
The strongest proponent of India’s Look East Policy in ASEAN

Recently, because of the strategic location and historical ties between Singapore and India, both countries have developed a strong relationship, which involves cooperation in trade, security, tourism and defense.  India introduced Look East policy, post-Cold War era and Singapore responded positively to this warm gesture from their old friend.
 
Inroads into ASEAN through Singapore

It happened at a time when India chose the path of liberalization and export promotion.  Singapore also had a keen interest in India because of its Mild India Fever programs.  Singapore played an instrumental role in including India into the ASEAN Regional Forum. ASEAN India Summit meetings were also initiated through the mediation efforts of Singapore.  India is also a partner of the East Asia Summit and it is because of the efforts of Singapore and Japan, though, China and Malaysia opposed it. 

Indo-Singapore strategic partnership

Singapore is a country, which advocates India’s presence and participation in the affairs of Asia-Pacific region.  Because of Singapore’s drive for trade regionalization, India signed its maiden free trade agreement with the island state for the first time in the Asia-Pacific region.  Singapore needed to counter the Chinese communist threat, after its independence in 1965, and the government of Singapore found a reliable partner in India.  India and China were strong adversaries at the time, because of 1962 war.  Because of this, Singapore also supported India, when the latter went into a war with Pakistan. 

Cold War era differences

However, India’s position in the Cold War era and its non-aligned diplomacy was responsible for decreasing the chances of an active strategic partnership between the two states.  India had favored communist Soviet Union in the past, so it backed up Vietnam against America. ASEAN was against Vietnam and therefore the relationship between India and Singapore went sore.  But, when the Cold War ended in 1990s, India and Singapore again came together to strengthen the relationship.  Singapore became the first country to support India’s Look East policy and offered a platform for India to penetrate and form strong regional ties with other countries in this region.

Political strategic and defense relationships

Since Singapore’s independence in 1965, both the countries shared a common understanding and as a result, the bilateral cooperation further forged ASEAN centric regional partnerships.  Singapore’s Prime Minister Mr. Yew visited India three times between 1965 and 1975 and it was reciprocated by the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.  Singapore has always supported India’s geostrategic presence in the ASEAN region as a balancing force against China. 
India’s strong international ally

It also supported India’s claim to the membership of United Nations Security Council.  In the recent years, both the countries have also signed up various defense agreements and partnerships, including joint naval exercises and transfer of defense technology.  This partnership has become stronger in the wake of the common security concerns and the terrorist threat present in the both countries.

The second largest foreign investor in India

You can imagine the depth of Indo-Singapore relationship from the fact that Singapore is the second largest foreign investor in India at the moment.  And it is the single largest investor after Mauritius that is way ahead of United States and United Kingdom.

Movies shot in Singapore.

Movies shot in Singapore

Singapore has been a hot favorite destination of moviemakers from both Hollywood and Bollywood.  Numerous Hollywood movies have been shot in Singapore and recently Indian moviemakers and directors are also turning towards Singapore for the shooting of their movies.  The famous Indian movies being shot in Singapore are Aur Pyar Ho Gaya, Biwi # 1, De Danaa Dan, Krrish and Pyar Impossible etc.   

Aur Pyar Ho Gaya

This film was shot in 1997 with Aishwarya Roy and Bobby Deol in the lead.  Though, the film was shot at various international locations, including Germany and Switzerland, a few songs were shot in Singapore also. The song, “Ek Din Kahin Hum Tum Mile” was shot at Fountain of Wealth, Suntec City, Singapore, Merlion, Sentosa, Southern Islands, Singapore, Raffles Place, Singapore, Sentosa Island Fountain, Singapore, and Tiger Balm Gardens, Singapore.

Krrish

Hrithik Roshan’s ski-fi thriller Krrish with Priyanka Chopra in the lead was shot at many places in Singapore.  The scene where the movie superhero, Hrithik chases Naseeruddin Shah is shot at Cavenagh Bridge, Singapore and Fountain of Wealth, Suntec City, Singapore, and Lau Pa Sat Clock Tower, Singapore.  The song, “Koi Tumsa Nahi” was shot at Chain Bridge, Singapore. The scene in the movie where Hrithik (Rohit) meets Naseeruddin Shah is shot at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore. The scene, where Hrithik is performing stunts on the street for the kid, and parts of the song, Koi Tumsa Nahi, were shot at Mica Building, Singapore.

Pyar Impossible

The movie was released in 2010 and was directed by Jugal Hansraj with Priyanka Chopra and Uday Chopra in the lead. In the movie Assumption University Suvarnabhumi Campus, Samutprakarn, Thailand is shown as Ankert University, California.  The title song Pyar Impossible is also shot here.  When Uday reaches Singapore, he is shown at Elgin Bridge, Singapore and when the hero Uday seeks legal advice, the venue shown is Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore. 

Apart from Bollywood lots of local and Hollywood movies are shot here.  The other movies shot at Singapore are as follows:
1. Ali Baba Bujang Lapok (Released in 1960)
2. 18 Grams of Love (Released in 2007)
3. Blood Ties (Released in 2009)
4. Becoming Royston (Released in 2007)
5. Being Human
6. 2000 AD (Released in 2000)
7. 4:30 (Released in 2005)
8. 881
9. Antara Dua Darjat (Released in 1960)
10. Bidasari (Released in 1965)
11. Ah Long Pte Ltd
12.  ALL CHANGE!!! (Released in 1999)
13. 15 (Released in 2003)
14. Ah Ma (Released in 2007)
15. A Month of Hungry Ghosts (Released in 2008)
16.  A New Life (Released in 2005)
17. Army Daze (Released in 1996)
18.  Avatar (Released in 2004)
19. 12 Storeys (Released in 1997)
20. All the Lines Flow Out (Released in 2011)
21. A Wicked Tale (Released in 2005)
22.  Abu Hassan Penchuri (Released in 1955)
23.  Be with Me (Released in 2005)
24.  Allen Ginsberg Gives Great Head (Released in 2007)
25.  Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid (Released in 1975)