Business in Little India improving slightly, but still slow

Business in Little India over the weekend has improved slightly from the previous week's but it remains slow. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Business in Little India over the weekend has improved slightly from the previous week's but it remains slow. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Business in Little India over the weekend has improved slightly from the previous week's but it remains slow.

Despite the resumption of bus services ferrying migrant workers to the area, restaurant managers said it is still a far cry from weekends before the riot.

"Last weekend was terrible, but we're close to 60 per cent this week. It helps that we're an old restaurant with a mix of local regulars, tourists and foreign workers," said Mr Raj Packirisamy, 36, co-owner of Gandhi Restaurant along Chander Road.

He remains more optimistic than those whose restaurants cater primarily to foreign workers. "Normally I sell two huge pots of briyani, but this week I sold just half a pot," said Mr P. Balamurugam, owner of South Indian canteen Mahas. "Still, it's better than the week before - I only sold a quarter then."

Liquor stores are not hearing the till ring more often, even though the ban on alcohol has been lifted.

"Who comes all the way to Little India to buy soap bars?" said Mr Balan Kabilan, a shop assistant at Moonshine Enterprises.

"Before the riot, the lowest I ever made was $6,000. Today, I only made $400," said Mr Kailasam Sadhasivam, 41, owner of New Arasi Tradi, adding that dismal business over the last two weeks has given him poor appetite.

"All I've had is a can of pineapple juice, and I can't even finish that. I just don't have the mood."