Singapore

Singaporeans wary but unaffected by HK unrest

This article is more than 12 months old

Travel agencies have also not seen any impact on demand for tour packages

Despite the rising tension following months of protests, Singaporean students on work attachments in Hong Kong have not been badly affected by the unrest so far.

Miss Jasmine Tan, 25, a Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) student who started her work attachment with a hotel in Admiralty in May has yet to witness any protests or riots despite staying in Causeway Bay, the site of recent clashes.

"I once went out to buy dinner but there were roadblocks near where I stayed, so I went back home and made cup noodles instead," she said.

"And every once in a while at the MTR, police will make passengers alight one train stop before my workplace for safety reasons, so I'd have to walk 20 minutes to the hotel," added Miss Tan, one of three second-year SIT Hospitality Business students on an eight-month overseas work attachment with hotel groups in Hong Kong.

Despite this, Associate Professor Eliver Lin, their academic supervisor, said she will be monitoring their progress at work and well-being.

A Hong Konger, she advises the students to avoid protests completely and, if caught in one, to just keep walking.

Prof Lin, who arrived in Hong Kong yesterday morning, told The New Paper: "We are constantly communicating through our WhatsApp chat group and e-mails on areas to avoid and if everyone has reached home safely.

"Once, a fire was started by protesters near where Jasmine stayed and I told her, 'Just stay home, please, even though you are really craving ice cream'."

Singapore travellers, too, appear to be unaffected by the unrest. Travel agency Chan Brothers Travel said it has not seen any impact on demand for tour packages to Hong Kong.

Mr Jeremiah Wong, its senior marketing communications manager, said that while there have been some calls of concern from customers inquiring about the situation in Hong Kong, there have been no requests for cancellation and postponement.

"In fact, we have received inquiries and bookings for year-end departures to Hong Kong as evident from our last two travel fairs in July and August," he added.

Miss Clarissa, 27, an Indonesian accountant, will be flying to Hong Kong on Saturday. The Singapore permanent resident plans to avoid large crowds when heading out.

She said: "At least we are staying with our family members in Hong Kong, so it is safer. My cousin have also assured me that it is fine to travel to Hong Kong at the moment.

"If I didn't have family there, I would have cancelled the trip."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has advised Singaporeans who are in Hong Kong or who are travelling there to take precautions, such as staying away from reported locations of upcoming protest rallies and other large public gatherings.

They should also stay vigilant, observe local laws and monitor developments through the local media. Singaporeans are also advised to eRegister with the MFA.

COMMUNITY ISSUES