Why don't people in Singapore wear sunglasses?



The vibrant city of Singapore is known for its year-round tropical climate and abundant sunshine. With the sun shining brightly in the sky, one might wonder why people in Singapore don't commonly don sunglasses. While sunglasses are a popular fashion accessory and provide protection against harmful UV rays in many parts of the world, they are relatively less prevalent in Singapore. In this article, we explore the reasons behind this unique phenomenon and shed light on the factors influencing the local attitudes towards wearing sunglasses.

The Cultural Perspective

Singapore, often referred to as the Lion City, is a melting pot of cultures, and cultural influences can greatly impact the perceptions and behaviors of its residents. When it comes to sunglasses, cultural factors play a significant role in determining their usage. In traditional Asian cultures, eye contact is considered important during conversations. Wearing sunglasses can sometimes hinder this connection, as it obscures eye contact and makes it difficult to read facial expressions. As a result, some Singaporeans may choose to forgo sunglasses to maintain a sense of interpersonal connection and respect during social interactions.

Furthermore, the collectivist nature of Singaporean society also contributes to the minimal use of sunglasses. People in Singapore often prioritize communal harmony and fitting in with the group, rather than standing out as individuals. Wearing sunglasses may be seen as a deviation from the norm, drawing undue attention and potentially creating a sense of exclusion from the collective. Consequently, individuals may opt not to wear sunglasses to conform to societal expectations and maintain social cohesion.

The Weather Factor

Singapore's tropical climate is characterized by high humidity and ample sunshine throughout the year. The warmth and perpetual summer-like conditions may give rise to the assumption that sunglasses would be indispensable in such a climate. However, the unique geographical location of Singapore offers some respite from direct sunlight.

Situated close to the equator, Singapore experiences a lower angle of the sun, resulting in less intense rays compared to countries at higher latitudes. The towering skyscrapers and lush greenery that adorn Singapore's urban landscape also provide natural shade, reducing the need for sunglasses in certain areas. The combination of these factors often leads to a perception that sunglasses are not as crucial in Singapore as in other sun-drenched regions.

Pragmatic Considerations

From a practical standpoint, there are several factors that influence the decision to not wear sunglasses in Singapore. One of the significant challenges is the high humidity prevalent in the country. When the temperatures soar, the humidity can cause lenses to fog up quickly, making it uncomfortable and impractical to wear sunglasses for an extended period. Additionally, the frequent rain showers in Singapore can render sunglasses unnecessary and impractical, as they would need to be taken off and wiped dry repeatedly.

Moreover, the use of prescription glasses can also deter individuals from wearing sunglasses. Many people in Singapore rely on prescription glasses to correct their vision but are hesitant to wear contact lenses or invest in prescription sunglasses. Without prescription sunglasses, individuals may simply choose to forgo wearing sunglasses altogether, as it could compromise their visual clarity.

The Perception of Fair Skin

In many Asian cultures, fair skin has traditionally been associated with beauty and higher social status. This cultural belief often translates into a preference for maintaining lighter skin tones. As a result, some individuals in Singapore may intentionally avoid sun exposure to preserve their skin complexion, rather than relying on sunglasses for sun protection. This emphasis on fair skin may contribute to lower demand and usage of sunglasses within the local population.

Awareness and Fashion Trends

While the reasons mentioned above contribute to the lack of sunglasses usage in Singapore, it is essential to recognize that attitudes and trends are continually evolving. In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness of the importance of eye protection from harmful UV rays. More Singaporeans are starting to understand the potential damage caused by prolonged sun exposure and are adopting a more proactive approach towards eye care.

Additionally, as the fashion industry in Singapore continues to grow and diversify, sunglasses are becoming a trendy accessory for many. Celebrities and influencers often sport sunglasses, leading to their popularity as a fashion statement. With the influence of globalization, younger generations are more inclined to embrace Western fashion trends, including the use of sunglasses.


While the prevalence of sunglasses may be relatively low in Singapore, it is crucial to consider the interplay of cultural, climatic, pragmatic, and aesthetic factors that influence this trend. The emphasis on eye contact, the unique tropical climate, practicality concerns, cultural beauty standards, and evolving fashion trends all contribute to the varying attitudes towards sunglasses in Singapore. As attitudes continue to shift, it is possible that sunglasses will become more commonplace in the Lion City, ultimately offering both protection and style to its residents. So, the next time you visit Singapore, you just might notice a growing number of locals donning stylish shades to shield their eyes from the sun.


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