Unusual Sunday hush in Little India

Unusual Sunday hush in Little India

SINGAPORE - There has never been a Sunday quite like this in Little India.

Walkways were quiet, parking spaces vacant, and several foreign workers from India were spotted drinking out of soft-drink cans, not beer bottles.

Exactly a week after riots there shocked the country, the number of foreign workers in the neighbourhood appeared to have dropped drastically.

Business owners felt the absence of their biggest group of customers keenly.

Mr M. Suresh, who runs a provisions shop in Race Course Road, said that his business dipped by 80 per cent, and that even Singaporeans had stayed away.

Drink stalls at Tekka Market, a hot spot for those in search of cheaper booze, were closed by 4.30pm.

The lack of activity was apparent throughout Little India, from jewellers and top-up card booths to bars and eateries.

Restaurants in the area, even those not catering to foreign workers, have also taken a hit, with many reporting losses of 30 to 50 per cent.

Cricket matches at the Northumberland Road grass patch, which usually attract 200 people by mid-afternoon, saw only 25 in attendance yesterday, including players.

Mr S. Kumar, an Indian national who goes for matches every weekend, said he thinks the absence was because workers were afraid of being linked to the rioters.

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