Thursday, July 31, 2008


As I looked up the flight requirements for my trip to Singapore, I was initially surprised by how welcoming the Singaporean government seemed to be toward visitors. All we would need was a valid passport, a return ticket, and proof of sufficient funds according to the first few lines of text. A Social Visit Pass would be provided upon arrival, allowing us to stay for 30 days free of charge, and this could even be extended up to 3 months under certain circumstances.

However, as I scrolled down the webpage to see if there was any “fine print” I may be missing, I stopped short. Right under the rule concerning minors’ inclusion in their parents’ passports was a statement reading “Entry may be refused to ‘hippy’ types.”

So does this mean if I go up to the customs officer barefoot, wearing raggedy bellbottoms, a tie-dyed tube top, and some drooping daisies in my unbrushed hair, he’ll put me on the next flight back to the U.S.? Are they really allowed to discriminate like that?

Then again, in a country where chewing gum was successfully outlawed, I suppose anything is possible. And don’t forget: drug trafficking is a federal offense. They make sure to remind you over the intercom when your plane lands. “Welcome to Singapore. And if you bring drugs into our country, we will kill you.” But if you’re a hippy, we’ll just send you home.

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