No U-turn syndrome

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Singapore drivers are not allowed to perform a U-turn unless allowed by this traffic sign

No U-Turn Syndrome (NUTS) is a term first coined by Singaporean entrepreneur Sim Wong Hoo to prominently describe the social behaviour of Singaporeans having a mindset of compliance to higher authorities before proceeding with any action. He makes a comparison of traffic rules in Singapore to those found overseas, to describe the phenomenon. In Singapore, drivers are not allowed to make a U-turn unless a sign specifically allows them to do so,[1] while in some other countries drivers may make U-turns freely so long as a "No U-turn" sign is not present. Following that, this analogy is used to explain the red tape he has encountered with hard-nosed bureaucrats, which in turn stifles the very creativity that the Singaporean government has been trying to promote in the recent years.[2]

NUTS is also considered one of the major criticisms of the rigid Singapore education system, where students are taught from a young age to obey instructions in an unquestioning manner, in a society where grades and paper certification are emphasised at the expense of some life skills.[3][4]

In 2003, the term was referred to by Singaporean MPs during discussions about encouraging entrepreneurship. Five MPs said that "the biggest hurdle for Singaporeans in creating a pro-enterprise environment is the NUTS mentality."[5]


  1. ^ Road Traffic Rules (Cap. 276, R 20, 1999 Rev. Ed.), rule 13
  2. ^ Sim, Wong Hoo (1999). Chaotic Thoughts from the Old Millennium. Singapore: Creative O Pte Ltd. ISBN 978-981-04-2383-4.
  3. ^ Seah, Chiang Nee (9 July 2006). "Falling back on autopilot". The Star (Malaysia). Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2008.
  4. ^ Heng, Cho Choon (19 April 2007). "Parents should allow their kids to follow their hearts and not their brains". The Straits Times Forum (Online Archive).
  5. ^ Menon, Anil (13 March 2003). "Suddenly MPs going nuts over 'chaotic' wisdom of Mr Creative". The Straits Times. Retrieved 16 May 2016 – via NewspaperSG. During the Budget debate in Parliament on Monday and Tuesday, at least five MPs referred to a chapter called 'No U-Turn Syndrome', or NUTS for short, from his Chaotic Thoughts From The Old Millennium. While lauding measures in the Budget to encourage entrepreneurship, Dr Amy Khor and Dr John Chen, MPs for Hong Kah GRC, Mr Leong Horn Kee, an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, and Mr Chew Heng Ching and Mr Raymond Lim, MPs for East Coast GRC, said the biggest hurdle for Singaporeans in creating a pro-enterprise environment is the NUTS mentality.