PICTURES, VIDEOS

Quiet Sunday in Little India as foreign workers choose to stay away

Foreign workers congregate at Jurong Central Park, next to Jurong Point , to meet up with friends and to relax. The park is however, quieter this evening, as some workers choose not to venture out of their dormitories. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR L
Foreign workers congregate at Jurong Central Park, next to Jurong Point , to meet up with friends and to relax. The park is however, quieter this evening, as some workers choose not to venture out of their dormitories. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Businesses affected by the alcohol ban in Little India, on Sunday, Dec 15, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Businesses affected by the alcohol ban in Little India, on Sunday, Dec 15, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Foreign workers shopping for snacks and drinks along Jalan Kayu, on Sunday, Dec 15, 2013.-- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM
Foreign workers shopping for snacks and drinks along Jalan Kayu, on Sunday, Dec 15, 2013.-- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM
Workers hanging out at their regular meeting point under the railway tracks at Jurong East MRT.  -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Workers hanging out at their regular meeting point under the railway tracks at Jurong East MRT.  -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Patronage and sales of alcohol at Mummy's minimart at Teban Gardens have dropped a week after the riot. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Patronage and sales of alcohol at Mummy's minimart at Teban Gardens have dropped a week after the riot. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Workers hanging out at Jurong East MRT. Little India was quiet for the most part of Sunday with foreign workers only trickling into the neighbourhood in the late afternoon. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Workers hanging out at Jurong East MRT. Little India was quiet for the most part of Sunday with foreign workers only trickling into the neighbourhood in the late afternoon. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

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

Race Course Road, typically a busy meeting point for many of the 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 still managed to draw customers and were bustling with activity.

Grocery and electronic stores along Serangoon Road said their takings dropped as much as 70 per cent. 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 handphone 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 per cent spike in sales as a result.

The workers said they either chose 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 any 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.