Fish Tales

My life in Singapore Taipei. And then some.

Keep 'em outside

When it comes to tracking mud in the house, lots of Singaporeans have it all figured out.

Let me explain.

It’s common practice for anyone entering a home to remove their shoes – before stepping through the door. Like on the porch or doorstep. And it’s kind of a big deal for many people.

I found this out the hard way when I arrived in Singapore during my first condo viewing.

The realtor knocked on the door. A tenant answered. Some pleasantries were exchanged in Mandarin and we were invited in. Being polite, the realtor prompted me to enter first… and of course I barged right in with my shoes on.

Oops. They both looked at me like I managed to kick the dog as well. But, that’s what I’m accustomed to in America. Step inside, then  ask the host if shoes should be removed. Not out on the porch.

Disaster at the other end of the hall

Keep shoes outside the home!

I like the Asian way better. Who wants to track loogies, dog poop, and all other sorts of yuckies into the house? Not me. When you stop to think about it, ick.

The only problem? Shoes tend to pile up outside the door and look, unsightly. Some residents in my building experience problems keeping all the shoes under control.

Anyway, we adopted the local custom and have a no-shoes household now, though we sometimes cheat and take them off right after we enter. And, for us, shoes still belong in the closet, not on the porch. Old habits are hard to break.

But, everything feels so much cleaner now.


  1. subie
    11:35 pm on May 27th, 2010

    dislike greatly when ppl wear their shoes in my house.

  2. macy
    3:09 pm on May 29th, 2010

    I agree, its most rude for people not to take their shoes off when they visit.

  3. Cyndi
    6:59 am on June 2nd, 2010

    I try, I really really really try. Old habits die hard. :)