I can honestly say that I try to go to each new country with no presumptions in terms of what to expect or not to expect culturally. But before I left on my trip, a number of us were chatting about the unusual laws in Singapore and what, if anything, we needed to worry about.
For example, chewing gum is banned there and so you are not allowed to bring gum into the country or be found chewing it. If caught, it could cost you up to $1,000 for your first offense!
Another law, which is not necessarily a bad one, is No Littering. They are adamant about maintaining an impeccably clean reputation and you could be fined $300 for throwing out a candy wrapper.
I was pleasantly surprised, though, to see they were more lenient in terms of these laws than I had been led to believe. It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s scare tactics before you fly across the globe. But, speaking from experience, I would say that the positives about this clean, exciting and modern city/state far outweighed the loss of chewing gum.
As a Global Account Manager however, I do go to each new country with the same high expectations in regards to the exhibit build process, knowing full well there will be bumps in the road. Singapore was no exception.
I would have to say the biggest “bump” during my visit was the weather. It was HOT and HUMID. I mean really HOT and HUMID! And with the venue not having air conditioning until the last day of setup it made the build process a little uncomfortable. Needless to say, our local partner handled everything like the pros they are and took everything in stride.
I can’t stress how important it is to have a great partner when exhibiting internationally. Relationships are important to the Singaporeans and that builds slowly with them. We have taken the time to build a relationship gradually which has given us both the mutual respect and trust that creates consistent success.
If you get the opportunity I would recommend that you visit the fine city/state of Singapore. Just don’t bring your gum!