I am Malay but some Chinese and Indian friends also consider studying overseas.

We heard racist hate crimes are common in the West, like Indian students killed in Australia, shooting blacks in the USA and attacks on Muslims in Europe. Our literature text by David Hare shows british assault Indians. Even worse is attacking Chinese mistaken for Japanese or Sikhs mistaken for Muslims.

In Singapore, general crime rate is low and we are taught how to protect from crimes. Every country has racism but in singapore it is milder than the west and hate crimes never happen here.

Of course tourists and international students also crime targets for non racist reasons. Advice on this is also welcome since how to protect from crimes in singapore may not work overseas.

  • 1
    What do you do to protect yourself in Singapore?
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 8:45
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    “The West” or even “Europe” are very broad terms. Statistically, you will find many more cases of everything among 500+M people than among the 5M-strong population of Singapore. It does not mean that violent hate crimes happen every day in each European city. There are also many differences between countries and different people are targeted in different places.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 8:56
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    (would write this up as proper answer with references but can't) Hate crimes tend to be linked to specific historical factors - e.g. US anti-black racism dates back to slavery, UK anti-South-Asian racism is linked to imperial history and a far-right political movement that peaked in the 1970s/80s. I'm not aware of any country that has any such history with Singaporeans, and anti-East-Asian hate crimes are even rarer than other types. I've met Singaporean students in UK, they had no problems at all. Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 17:12
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    Hate crime here in the UK is very rare and is dealt with very firmly by the courts: for example, a racial motive is seen as making as assault a more serious offence, and the prison sentence is likely to be longer as a result. I have many friends from around the world (including India, and Singapore) who live here in London, and none of them have experienced racially motivated crime. It really would be quite shocking and unusual.
    – A E
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 17:16
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    @Calchas the question isn't about studying, that's just a side aspect. The actual question is about staying safe, and protecting oneself. I think it's a valid travel q.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 20:41

2 Answers 2


A quick google shows that while rare, hate crimes have occurred in Singapore too. They just don't tend to get reported very often.

However, what you realise the more you travel, however, is that the news goes with what sounds scary. Most people the world over are generally good, and will bear no ill will towards you. If you're referring to the police shooting black Americans, the numbers I can find are 324 in 2014. That's 324 too many, but regardless, out of 320 million people in the US, it's pretty rare (literally one in a million, if those numbers are correct). The same goes for other ones you mention.

Yes, dumb stuff happens. Yes crime occurs and yes there are prejudiced people. When you arrive in a new area, strike up friendships, and they'll warn you what areas of a city to avoid, what to not do, and what to do, to stay safe(r than normal).

Be aware, don't wander down dark alley-ways, avoid crime spots, and trust your instinct and generally you'll be fine. Of course, even if you do everything right there's still a chance of crime in any country, but for the most part, you'll be fine.

source: have travelled to many countries, have had one or two bad experiences, but have shared and compared experiences with people from dozens and dozens of countries, and almost all share the same view.


Fortunately, hate crime is not so common across the West that it would be a serious concern in most places but in places where it is the only practical advice I can think of is to avoid some neighbourhoods/cities/regions. If that's the case, you will quickly learn which ones from fellow country(wo)men and other students.

In general, discrimination, hostility and petty racism are much more of a concern and can also seriously impair your well-being. It might be a good idea to research the place you would want to study beforehand and perhaps choose a destination accordingly.

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