Anti-Spitting Campaign

Many Singaporeans are probably familiar with the many public health and environmental national campaigns like anti-littering and anti-smoking ones which are recurring features on this island state. However there was a island-wide campaign against spitting going back far into the late 1950s, carried out by the then Singapore City Council. This campaign was known as “Anti-Spitting Campaign”, part of the “Mass Health Movement” launched in August 1958 driven by the then-mayor Ong Eng Guan, a popular politician who subsequently sat in the Legislative Assembly as a member of PAP and as an independent after the falling out with the former.

The campaign started from August 1 to 31, and was a relative success. Part of the aim of the event was targeted at the hawkers to spread the message of “don’t spit indiscriminately” to their associates and customers. This leaflet featured the prominent anti-spitting campaign logo and contains messages in Chinese stating that spitting is a bad habit and anti-social behaviour that may propagate pneumonia. There are pointers that mentioned that instead of spitting indiscriminately in public venues, etc, it should be done in the toilet or handkerchief and that these ideas should be propagated around. At the back of the leaflet, there is a writing by Ong Eng Guan stressing the importance of anti-spitting. Spitting subsequently was only enforced in 1987 as punishable offence by the Environmental Public Health Act.

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