'Safest place we've lived in so far'

'Safest place we've lived in so far'
Mr Michael Johnson and his wife Lisa say that they were drawn to Geylang's "culture, colour and chaos".

Some may see Geylang as an unruly spot in Singapore, but this well-travelled pair is unruffled by its reputation.

American expatriates Lisa and Michael Johnson moved into a row of refurbished shophouses in Lorong 24A back in 2011 - just a street from Lorong 24, where sex workers and their minders line the path.

But the couple, who have lived in America, Japan, India and China, say Singapore is where they have felt safest so far. "Even if this is the most dangerous place in Singapore, it's still a safe place to us," said Mrs Johnson.

Guns were a concern in America, she said, and crime more blatant and widespread outside Singapore. Here, the couple, who both work in finance, have seen police raids that sent crowds of women running past their home in high heels.

"The criminal activities here don't touch us. We see police around and we know they're keeping control. We would never live in a place where we feel in danger," said Mrs Johnson.

They were drawn to Geylang's "culture, colour and chaos", she added, and moved there despite concerns expressed by Singaporean friends. "They'd say, do you know about the neighbourhood? What real estate agent dropped you there?" recalled Mrs Johnson, whose 19-year-old son, their only child, is studying overseas.

"They have this stereotype of the neighbourhood. But there's so much more to Geylang. Good food, lovely people. And it makes good dinner conversation."

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