Bangkok shrine hit by bomb blast is popular spot with S'poreans
A photo of the aftermath of the blast at Erawan Shrine that a friend sent via WhatsApp made me shudder.
It was a half-blown body in front of a table that I am so familiar with.
The very spot where the body lay is where I would stand inside the Shrine once a year, to make payment for a thanksgiving performance by Thai dancers.
Next to the table is a spot where I would kneel, as the troupe of performers sing in Thai, calling out the names of my family members, and dance as I offer prayers to the Four-Faced Buddha.
It is not just a tourist spot for me. There are times when I visit more than once a year.
That is how significant the shrine is to me, and hundreds of Singaporeans.
I dare say, it is probably the one place you would find more Singaporeans at any one time than others.
There have been many occasions when I have bumped into familiar faces - friends, and even local celebrities there.
The shrine is on a busy corner near top hotels, shopping centres and offices. Many ordinary Thais also worship there.
As the news began to filter out, friends started sharing messages of disbelief.
Shocked, worried and upset.
Ms Candy Soh, 34, a real estate agent, said: "The first thought that crossed my mind was - was the shrine damaged? And were there any casualties?"
She offers prayers there twice a year.
"Erawan Shrine shows me the light when I'm down, and gives me hope when I'm asking for directions," she said.
Singaporean Gilaxs Goh, 51, who runs a travel agency here and another in Bangkok, said: "The first call I got was from a Thai police officer contact (of mine) who was worried that I was in Bangkok."
Five Singaporeans, who had booked a trip through his agency, had just arrived in Bangkok.
"I contacted them and advised that they remain in the hotel area for now," said the owner of Value Tour, who is in Singapore.
He added: "Things had started to settle down in the past year and now this. Of course I am very upset."
The shrine, he said, is one of the must-go to places for Singaporeans.
Mr Goh hopes the blast will not deter Singaporeans from travelling to the Thai capital.
"I pray that peace will return soon," he said.