Safe and Sound (and Summit)
Traveling to a new country can always be a little unnerving, especially when it comes to getting around. Some destinations are high risk for violence, terrorist activity, and even unexploded landmines (like Laos and Cambodia). On a lighter, but still serious note, cities like Barcelona and Rome are known as pickpocket capitals where your entire trip can be turned upside down in one short minute. Lucky for me, Singapore is ranked 2nd in the Safe Cities Index and I can already start to feel the benefits of it; I’m never afraid someone is trying to seal my wallet and when I spend my nights on Singapore’s famous rooftop bars, I always feel safe walking home.
In fact, the recent Trump-Kim Summit was held just minutes from my company’s office because of Singapore’s safety. This was partly due to the fact that Singaporeans don’t have the same right to assemble, meaning there would be no protests or riots when the two most controversial leaders showed up to talk nuclear weapons. I was actually surprised by how little the historical event disrupted the flow of the city… besides some road closures and specialty “Bromance” drinks (see photo), you could have missed the event altogether. However, the source of this country’s well-being extends well beyond its rules.
One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in Singapore was there were no homeless people in the streets. I’ve been here for two weeks and still have yet to see any homeless in this city bigger than Manhattan thanks to the city’s shelters and Welfare Homes that help people into accommodations. It’s a refreshing change from some U.S. cities where homelessness and related drug use/crime are around every corner.
With this, crime rate is extremely low here – some stores don’t even lock up at night. I didn’t know this until last week when my friends and I opened the [unlocked] sliding doors to a restaurant we wanted to eat at only to find it dark with no one inside (it was closed for the national holiday). There’s also little need to worry about theft or drug crimes here… perpetrators are sure to end up in jail (or even on death row). Honestly, the strict laws that make chewing gum illegal – that’s right, ILLEGAL – make me more concerned that I will become a criminal by accident rather than a victim in Singapore.