You are here
Aug 1958 To swallow or spit? That was the question in Singapore when men (and some macho women) thought nothing of expectorating anywhere on the street whenever they felt a tickle in their throats.
But rather than face a future of dodging spitballs, the Singapore City Council - under then-mayor Ong Eng Guan - launched a Mass Health Movement in August 1958, with a good portion of its S$105,000 budget devoted to an anti-spitting campaign.
The first task was to put up a giant poster (35 sq ft) - right in front of the City Council (City Hall) building itself - to get the message across without any words. Banners and posters were also plastered all over - on hoardings, bridges, telegraph poles, and even trees. Serious offenders didn't have to worry too much though. It only became a punishable offence after the Environmental Public Health Act was passed in 1987.