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Derek Wong
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Asia

S'poreans in Vietnam say safety not affected by anti-China riots

The New Paper | Derek Wong | Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A protester gestures as he marches during an anti-China protest in Vietnam's southern Ho Chi Minh city.

SINGAPORE - After Vietnam was hit by a series of anti-China riots recently, Singaporeans there said they were not targeted.

Mr Steven Choo, a self-employed IT trainer, was in Ho Chi Minh City to set up a training programme with a Vietnamese business partner and will return only when the project is over.

The 48-year-old said: "If you speak English or Singlish, you'll not be targeted. Singaporeans are safe, there's no need to worry."

He added that the locals differentiate between Chinese Singaporeans, who speak English, and people from China, who usually don't.

But Mr Choo hasn't had to speak Singlish just to identify himself as a Singaporean because he kept a low profile and stayed away from the riot-affected areas.

Manager Siraj Ahamad returned to Singapore from his holiday in Ho Chi Minh City last Friday night.

The 61-year-old said: "It was very peaceful in Ho Chi Minh City with no signs of riots. In fact, the Vietnamese are not hostile towards Singaporeans and we were warmly treated."

Singaporeans sat up and took greater notice of the issue when a Singapore flag was burned by demonstrators in the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park 1 in southern Binh Duong province.

The incident happened last Tuesday and it has sparked concerns that Singaporeans may be targeted.

Last Wednesday, the Singapore Embassy in Hanoi sent strong concerns over the incident to the Vietnamese government via a diplomatic note.

An advisory was also issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

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