This group of opium smokers somehow managed to combine an air of gentleness with a look of menace. Observe, once again, the boy.
There were numerous reasons why many smoked opium habitually. For the coolie on a meagre income and lacking medical aid, opium relieved illnesses and their painful symptoms. Others turned to opium out of fatigue, to rest from hard labour, or as a distraction from living in dark, overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Some thought that opium would enhance their mental or physical capacities, while others turned to it simply out of curiosity. (From “Chasing the dragon: the scourge of opium.” by Gracie Lee in Biblioasia )
A Splendid Little Colony: British Singapore 1819 - 1963 | Singapore