News

THE DRINKERS

At least eight of 10 foreign workers who gather in Little India on weekends would be intoxicated.

This was what auxiliary police officers Nathan Chandra Sekaran and Raymond Murugiasu observed in their three years of working in Little India on weekends.

On top of enforcing laws on littering, spitting, urinating and traffic offences, they also had to ensure that non-residents did not loiter at the bottom of HDB blocks.

Mr Raymond estimates that there are easily 1,000 foreign workers in the field next to Race Course Road on Sundays, and it is "so crowded you can hardly walk through".

But there are only slightly more than 60 auxiliary police officers to enforce the rules.

He said some workers were unhappy when issued summonses because they were in a Catch-22 situation - while there are public toilets near the bus boarding areas, only half of them are open on Saturdays.

"Some of them say they don't earn much and have to pay the fine. Some would curse us: 'What you do to me will come back to you, we will have our day'," he said.

Since the riot, the situation in Little India has markedly improved, with little public drunkenness.

The area around Tekka Lane, where workers board the dormitory-bound buses, is also better lit now.

Despite this, Mr Raymond was concerned about the shorter bus operating times.

"Now that they say no buses after 9pm, (the workers) have to take public buses or the MRT," he said.

"By then, they would have consumed liquor. If this person can vomit on a bus, can't he also vomit in the MRT?"