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Living in Singapore, from the USA

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Safety and Security in Singapore

Expats in Singapore can definitely relax when it comes to matters of crime and safety: criminal activity, particularly of the violent kind, is very rare, and you don't have to worry about being in the wrong part of town at the wrong time of day. A noteworthy achievement for a global metropolis!

One of the most famous and widely known factoids about the island state is that crime is very rare. It is true that Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates not only in the Southeast Asian region, but worldwide. There are, of course, also some rumors floating around as to why that is the case. Contrary to what you have heard, you will not face prison time for spitting on the street, but punishments for even rather harmless crimes do tend to be rather severe in Singapore – a country which has not abolished corporal and capital punishment.


As egalitarian a society Singapore might be, the problem of prejudice — be it on religious, ethnic, or racial grounds — can also be found here, albeit in a much more covert (or “mild”, if you will) manner than in many other countries around the globe. It is rare for a highly-qualified expat to be confronted with direct or indirect discrimination during their time in Singapore, but it is nonetheless important to be aware of the fact that Singapore is not free of prejudice. There are a number of laws which prevent the Singaporean society from dealing with this pressing issues; laws that were once instated to maintain a tension-free society now seem to be one of the biggest roadblocks on the way of actually becoming one.

LGBT Rights

The problem of discrimination is a lot more pronounced for the LGBT community in Singapore. Again, the local legislation is one of the main factors why Singapore is not exactly among the countries of choice among expats from the LGBT community. Male homosexuality is all but outlawed, and public attitudes are still mostly negative. Many locals and, of course, expats have experienced discrimination on the basis of sexuality or gender identity and continue to do so. However, there have been slight, but steady improvements in the past few years, and there are many activists and groups who continue to work towards equal rights and abolishing the negative attitudes the LGBT community in Singapore unfortunately has to deal with.

InterNations Expat Magazine