Caught on video: Woman rants against 'deaf and mute' cleaner at Jem foodcourt

The woman scolding the manager of the cleaner she raised her voice at when he tried to clear her food. PHOTO: EUPHEMIA LEE / FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A woman seen railing at a cleaner and his manager at the Jem foodcourt was criticised by netizens after a video of the incident was posted online on Friday (June 3) evening.

The woman was apparently provoked after the cleaner tried to clear away her food before she finished her lunch, said Ms Euphemia Lee, who witnessed the incident and posted the video on Facebook.

The woman shouted at the cleaner and at the manager who came to apologise on behalf of the cleaner.

Most of the unnamed woman's angry words could not be made out in the video lasting almost three minutes but she raised her voice at times, shouting things like: "Go and be a beggar, I don't care, you took my food!"

Ms Lee posted the video at around 7.30pm on Friday, and it was viewed 734,000 times and shared close to 20,000 times by Saturday afternoon.

Ms Lee, a 30-year-old business owner, was having lunch at the Jurong East shopping mall foodcourt when she came across the incident.

She told The Straits Times she turned around when the woman raised her voice at the cleaner.

"I didn't see what happened at first, but probably the uncle was just trying to do his job. People were waiting and he may have been a little too enthusiastic."

On Facebook she wrote: "She abruptly exploded into cursing and violent upper body actions. She then told him that he should go and die and should not be given a coffin."

Ms Lee said the cleaner walked away when the woman shouted at him, and she appeared to calm down and continued eating. But when her husband returned, she insisted that her husband bring the cleaner to their table so he could apologise to her.

The manager then came to apologise on behalf of the employee. The online video shows her scolding the manager, who is in a white t-shirt.

The cleaner, who is not in the video, was an elderly man who looked to be in his 70s and walked with a limp, Ms Lee said.

The manager told the woman that the cleaner was deaf and mute and so could not apologise, but the woman was relentless, Ms Lee said.

Ms Lee, who was disgusted by the woman's behaviour, said no one intervened as the manager seemed to be handling the situation.

But she decided to put the video online as "the things she said were... too much for us to turn a blind eye and forget about it".

The manager, who did not want to be named, told Shin Min Daily News that after he apologised, the angry woman continued to berate him for about 15 to 20 minutes.

He said that the woman could have been more understanding, but hopes the matter will die down.

He will not take any disciplinary action against the cleaner, who has been working there for a year, he said.

The video has been widely shared, and some netizens have suggested that the irate woman is a grassroots leader at Nee Soon GRC, but the Residents' Committee (RC) for Nee Soon Central Zone 1 has denied this.

The RC wrote on its Facebook page: "We note there is a post on facebook going around that the lady in the picture is a member of our committee. We would like to clarify that she is neither a member nor volunteer of our committee."

Parliamentary Secretary for Education, and Social and Family Development, Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim clarified in a Facebook post on Saturday evening: "What's a fact however, is that the lady in the photograph is not a member of Nee Soon Central Zone 1 RC or a grassroots leader in Nee Soon Central. She's a Nee Soon resident who has taken part in events organised for her community."

Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim is also an MP for Nee Soon GRC.

The Straits Times has reached out to the foodcourt operator Koufu for comments.

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