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Published: Tuesday December 17, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday December 17, 2013 MYT 7:46:13 AM

Migrant workers avoid Little India

LITTLE India was quiet for the most part of Sunday with foreign workers trickling into the neighbourhood in the late afternoon.

Race Course Road, typically a busy meeting point for many workers, was unusually empty. However, some well-known retailers such as Mustafa Centre at Syed Alwi Road and the Banana Leaf Apollo restaurant along Race Course Road were bustling with activity.

Grocery and electronic stores along Serangoon Road said their takings dropped as much as 70%. They blamed the thinner crowds of foreign workers caused by the suspension of shuttle bus services from their dormitories to Little India.

Instead of going to Little India, some foreign workers decided to hang out in the neighbourhoods near their dormitories in Jurong East, Boon Lay and Jalan Kayu.

Businesses in these places such as cafes, grocery and mobile phone shops said sales were boosted by workers who came looking for alternative areas to spend their day off.

Shops at Jurong East MRT, which has an open field where the men gathered to relax, reported a 20% to 30% spike in sales as a result.

The workers said they either chose to remain in their dorms or venture into nearby neighbourhoods for meals or to buy groceries because their bosses discouraged them from going out this weekend.

Memories of last Sunday’s riot at Little India was clearly on the minds of many of them. Indian national construction worker Santhosh Kota, 22, said he spent Sunday in his dorm at Jurong West to avoid trouble.

“When big groups of men are together, you don’t know what will happen,” he said.

Police officers were seen patrolling areas near foreign worker dormitories throughout the day.

As at 10pm, police said, there were no incidents reported, no breaches of the alcohol ban detected, and no one was caught for consuming alcohol in public. —The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Tags / Keywords: Regional, world

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