'I make it a point to avoid the place'
She still feels afraid when she is at Little India.
That was what Madam Grace Wong Geck Woon, 38, said in a phone interview with The New Paper last Friday.
The former timekeeper was one of the people involved in the chain of events that sparked the Little India riot that fateful night on Dec 8.
She had asked Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu to alight from a bus as he had been causing a scene, shortly before Mr Sakthivel was killed.
As she took refuge in the bus, rioters threw concrete slabs and beer bottles in her direction. Two foreign workers managed to climb into the bus through a broken window and one of them assaulted her with a stick.
Recalling the incident that night, Madam Wong said she was still fearful of being in Little India even though about seven months had passed.
Said Madam Wong in Mandarin: "I make it a point to avoid the place whenever possible.But sometimes, (my family and I) will pass by the place where the riot happened and I would still be afraid."
She said she still felt this way even after she was told that Little India had changed since the riot last year.
Last week, several recommendations announced by the Committee of Inquiry (COI) into the riot also paved the way for future improvements to the troubled neighbourhood.
Madam Wong said it made no difference to her.
She said: "I have read about the findings from the COI, but I still have fears of the place. If you experienced what I did, you would be afraid, too."
Because of the trauma, she had quit her job as a timekeeper managing bus queues of foreign workers at Little India. Now, Madam Wong stays at home on most days to look after her children, she said. She also runs a business from home.
- NG JUN SEN