Little India riot: Business as usual amid some anxiety the day after

Little India riot: Business as usual amid some anxiety the day after
Police officers walking past a shop yesterday which was damaged in Sunday's riot.

SINGAPORE - A partly melted "No entry" sign, three broken lamps outside an exit of the Little India MRT station and large, black patches on the road where vehicles had gone up in flames were the few signs in Race Course Road the morning after of the Sunday riot that shocked many Singaporeans.

By 9.30am on Monday, most of the glass shards, beer bottles and trampled vegetables had been cleaned up and the skeletal frames of an ambulance and wrecked police cars, removed.

By late morning, almost all the shops in Race Course Road were open and shoppers streamed in. At Tekka Lane, small groups of Indian foreign workers chatted quietly about the previous night's violence.

By noon, the restaurants began to fill up with the lunch-time crowd, surprising their staff.

"We were quite sure business would be bad today, because people would be scared," said Mr Manikandar Ramalingam, 36, a waiter at Banana Leaf Apolo.

"But this is the usual crowd, if not bigger. Maybe people want to see what's happening here."

One of the worst-hit shops in the disorder was Guru's Marketing at the corner of Race Course Road and Buffalo Road.

Crates of vegetables, left unattended after the police advised people in the area to leave, were overturned.

"The loss is at least $1,000," said shop assistant Abdul Hakeem. But by 11am, shoppers were greeted with fresh produce.

The riot, however, worried some would-be tourists.

Manager Vinoth Kumar of Vintage Inn along Race Course Road said about 15 people had e-mailed to ask if it was safe to visit.

"We assured them it is safe here and that our guests enjoy seeing the crowds of workers relaxing - it is part of the charm of being in Little India," he added. There were no cancellations so far, he said.


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