Erawan shrine vendors lament loss of business

It will be a few months before the business of selling garlands, candles and incense picks up, said Thitaree Sua-nonmuang, one of the dozen garland sellers outside the Erawan Shrine, which was hit by a deadly explosion on Monday evening.

"I am sad. Why was the attacker so cruel? Even in front of a holy shrine, there's no safety," the 54-year-old told The Nation yesterday - two days after the attack, which left at least 20 dead and more than a hundred injured.

Thitaree and her colleagues were spared death and injuries simply because the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration closed the stalls for a weekly cleaning of the street.

Yesterday, the garland vendors arrived back at work, but there were very few tourists or worshippers.

"I don't know how to make a living. How can I make ends meet if nobody comes to worship?" she wondered. The site houses Thailand's most famous statue of Brahma - the Hindu god who is regarded as the "creator".

Though Thitaree and her colleagues are worried about their business, they also understand if people decide to stay away for the sake of their safety.

"I understand their feelings," she said, referring to the quiet atmosphere yesterday compared to the usual bustling traffic of worshippers.

"Even I don't want to walk around here," she said, adding that she had to come as it was her job. "I think it will take months before things return to normal. Confidence [in safety] is lost."