Workers upset rioters affect weekend routine

Workers upset rioters affect weekend routine

You have been working in Singapore for 11 years. You are comfortable in Little India.

It has become home away from home.

So how would you feel if someone had gatecrashed your neighbourhood and robbed it of all the fun?

Indian national Sasik Kumar, 38, was not exactly furious, but he was not happy either.

This is the first time he has ever experienced an alcohol ban, let alone in Little India, where he rents a room on Race Course Road.

"Just because of a few people who caused trouble, the rest of us have to be inconvenienced like this?" the safety supervisor asked in halting English.

He had just finished dinner and beers with some friends in the basement of the Berseh Food Centre on Jalan Besar, which is just outside the banned area.

Four lanes of traffic away, the shops were completely dry.

It was Mr Sasik's and his friends' first time to Berseh Food Centre, and they were seated in front of the only Indian food stall in the building.

They had travelled much further than usual for their weekly tipple and catch-up.

Mr Sasik said: "Most Indian workers come (to Little India) only once a month, to meet their friends from the same village, send money home and top up their phone cards.

"Then we have a drink or two, talk about our families and our problems. It's a way for us to relax."

But for now, their "norm" is in limbo.

Following last weekend's alcohol ban, the authorities will be reviewing what to do next. It is unclear if the ban in Little India might be extended.

Mr Sasik was initially reluctant to have his picture taken.

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