Deaf and mute foodcourt cleaner berated by woman intends to quit his job this month

Mr Png Lye Heng at the Jem foodcourt on June 6, 2016. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The deaf and mute cleaner who was berated by a woman at the Jem foodcourt is planning to quit his job this month.

The cleaner, Mr Png Lye Heng, 64, indicated to The Straits Times on Monday (June 6) that he wanted to leave because of the incident.

To communicate with reporters who interviewed him, he gestured "yes" or "no" to questions written in Chinese on a piece of paper.

When reporters asked him in writing if he intended to leave his job, he pointed to the response "yes".

The incident at the Jurong shopping mall caught the public eye over the weekend. A video, posted by Facebook user Euphemia Lee showed a woman lashing out at a manager of the company providing cleaning services to the Jurong shopping mall foodcourt.

She can be heard berating the manager, who wanted to be known only as Steven: "If he's (the cleaner) deaf, ask him don't work, go home and sleep.

"Just ask the Government to feed him, go and be a beggar! I don't care, he took my food!"

Mr Png said he has been "slightly hurt" by the scolding but had forgiven the woman, who was identified as by The New Paper as Ms Fong. He also said he had enjoyed working at the food court and did not find it difficult to work there.

Steven, the 51-year-old manager, told The Straits Times that Mr Png had not informed him of his intention to leave later this month, but that he had heard about it from the man's colleagues. He added that Mr Png had been working at the foodcourt for about a year, and that in the past few days, customers had recognised Mr Png and gestured at him.

The manager said Mr Png was patient with foodcourt customers. He added that he had asked him if he wanted to wear a badge indicating his disability but he turned down the suggestion.

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