Little India riot, two months on: 'I just want to feel safe'

Ms Nisa Mohamed Maideen, 23, hopes the police presence will continue in her neighbourhood in Buffalo Road. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Ms Nisa Mohamed Maideen, 23, hopes the police presence will continue in her neighbourhood in Buffalo Road. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

When foreign workers kept away from Little India in the weeks after the Dec 8 riot, Ms Nisa Mohamed Maideen enjoyed the peace and quiet in her neighbourhood.

"It felt like I had Race Course Road all to myself," said the 23-year-old accountant who has lived with her family in Buffalo Road since 1996.

For years, Sundays meant navigating through hordes of workers who descended on the area to spend their day off.

Most avoided the place after it was made an alcohol-free zone in the initial weeks after the riot. But they have recently returned - though not in the same numbers as before.

"They don't do anything to me and they definitely don't drink in the open any more, but I still can't help feeling insecure," she said, referring to workers who gather near her block.

Ms Nisa, who witnessed the violence during the riot, said she is not xenophobic but hopes the clampdown on the sale and consumption of alcohol, as well as the increased police presence, will continue.

"I don't mind the workers. I just want to feel safe like any other resident in Singapore and be able to take a walk in my own neighbourhood," she said.