People are strange, there’s no denying it. Every day, people push the boundaries of strange behavior by riding an alligator into a supermarket or trying to fight a hurricane with their bare hands. Yes, I’m talking to you, Florida. And as a result, judicial systems across the globe are tasked with trying to keep up with the ever-evolving strange behaviors that we humans exhibit. Today, there are some seriously funny laws out there that will make you wonder what kind of crazy criminal acts could have led to their creation.
Of course, the funniest laws from around the world were created as a reaction to people doing ridiculous and dangerous things that they definitely shouldn’t be doing. And while these acts of insanity should have probably never occurred in the first place, I think we can all be happy that they’ve led to some undeniably funny legislation. Being aware of these weird laws might just keep you out of foreign prison or they might just give you a chuckle. Regardless, these are the funniest laws from around the world.
Reincarnating in China
On August 3, 2007, the Chinese State Administration for Religious Affairs decreed that adherents to Tibetan Buddhism are not allowed to reincarnate without the express written consent of the government or else the reincarnation is “illegal or invalid.” Of course, this law came as a result of a long and unfortunate conflict between the Chinese and the Tibetans that led to the Tibetan Uprising of 1959 and the fleeing of the Dalai Lama to India; however, it’s still kind of hilarious to think about how the Chinese government would enforce such a law.
Imagine a Chinese government official trying to tell someone who had just reincarnated that their reincarnation was invalid. “Well, bro, I’m here and I’m alive and I just reincarnated, so how exactly is my reincarnation invalid?” I wonder if they’ve ever arrested someone for this. And if Buddhists believe that every human being is a reincarnation, wouldn’t that mean that every human being needs express written consent from the Chinese government to be alive? In reality, this just sounds like a way for the Chinese government to justify some more human rights violations, which is anything but funny. But it is kind of funny to think about Chinese officials trying to weed out who’s been reincarnated or not.
Owning Potatoes in Australia
You’ve probably heard that having over a certain quantity of weed on your person in certain parts of the United States can be considered a federal offense, but did you know that in Western Australia it’s illegal to own more than 50 kilograms (~110 pounds) of potatoes at one time? That’s right, if you have too many spuds, you could be playing hot potato with the law. Additionally, law enforcement in Western Australia has the right to search your car and take down your name and address if they suspect you’re carrying a criminal amount of potatoes.
This law was enacted to limit imports and protect the interests of local potato growers in the Australian state, namely the Potato Marketing Corporation. And while governments supporting the local economy is usually a good thing, I’d say that strip-searching someone’s car for starchy tubers is going a little overboard. Maybe they’re trying to fill a bathtub with mashed potatoes? I’d bet even Western Australian cops would say that was pretty awesome.
Wearing Winnie the Pooh in Poland
The small town of Tuszyn, Poland declared it illegal in 2014 to wear clothing bearing the image of Xi Jinping. Oops, I meant it’s illegal to wear shirts with Winnie the Pooh on them. Apparently, the fact that Christopher Robin’s imaginary companion does not wear pants was too much for the conservative Poles of the town to handle. During a town meeting, legislators referred to Pooh’s “dubious sexuality” and one member of the congregation even referred to the fictional bear as a “hermaphrodite.” Wow.
The fact that anyone could feel so strongly about Winnie the Pooh makes me think that there isn’t a whole lot to do in Tuszyn, Poland. While other government organizations around the world are tackling problems like feeding the hungry and preventing a climate crisis, over in Kuszyn they’re busy getting all steamed because Pooh won’t put his damn pants on. I guess Porky Pig and Squidward had better watch their backs if they’re ever in central Poland.
Chewing Gum in Singapore
This is undoubtedly one of the most well-known strange laws from across the globe, but it’s still pretty hilarious nonetheless. Contrary to popular belief, though, the law against gum enacted in 1992 does not ban the actual chewing of gum, but it does ban the sale, manufacturing, and importing of gum. The exceptions to this law are nicotine gum or dental gum that is used for therapeutic purposes. So, if you get caught chewing gum in the streets of Singapore, you might want to whip out a cigarette to avoid further questioning.
Apparently, this law was made in response to some petty vandals who were putting their chewed gum where it wasn’t supposed to be. The gum was causing maintenance problems in high-rise public housing buildings where it was being stuck in mailboxes, in keyholes, and on elevator buttons. The final straw was when vandals started putting used gum on the buttons of the Mass Rapid Transit system, preventing the trains’ doors from functioning properly and causing mass delays across the entire system. Who knew chewing gum could be an instrument of mass chaos?
Refusing Strangers the Right to Tinkle in Scotland
I don’t even like letting my close friends use my bathroom, let alone a stranger. However, in Scotland, you don’t have a choice. If a stranger knocks on your door in Scotland and asks to use your toilet, you’re legally required to let them in to use it. This law was carried over from old Scottish common law that said you have to treat all visitors to your home with hospitality, but it’s still legally enforceable today.
While it’s equal parts hilarious and unfortunate that someone can just walk into your house and leave a nice Number Two, I could see this legal requirement creating some dangerous situations. My parents taught me not to talk to strangers, but I think it should go without saying that you shouldn’t let strangers into your home just because they’re standing outside your door doing the Pee Pee Dance.
Dying in France
Now, some laws are difficult to enforce, but this one seems pretty much impossible. In 2008, the town of Sarpourenx, France declared it illegal to die within the city limits if you didn’t already own a plot in the town’s cemetery. Apparently, the cemetery was getting overcrowded and they didn’t want people’s families demanding that their relatives be buried in it after they’d passed. I’m not quite sure how you’re supposed to nab people for this particular infraction. Maybe have a seance?
The hilarious part of this law is that the Sarpourenx government is trying to penalize people for something they don’t want to do anyway. No one is saying, “Well, I really wanted to die in Sarpourenx today but I just remembered that there’s a law against that, so I think I’ll go to the next town over instead.” Imagine that you’re on the verge of death and, in your last moments, you’re crawling towards the edge of the Sarpourenx city limits to try to preserve your reputation as a law-abiding citizen. No one deserves to die like that.