An online video of a middle-aged waitress performing a "chicken dance" at a Punggol restaurant has chalked up more than a million views and sparked discussion online on whether her boss had made her do it.
But the unwitting Internet star, Madam Loh Feng Ling, told The Straits Times yesterday that she did the jig of her own accord.
"I am just an auntie who loves to dance and gao xiao," said the 52-year-old Singaporean in Mandarin, using a term that means to make people laugh.
The video, uploaded on Facebook last week by user Anthony Boey, shows Madam Loh tripping the light fantastic to an upbeat song with sounds of chickens clucking, as she serves a $38 flambe chicken dish to customers of House Of Seafood.
But some netizens wondered if she had been forced to dance a jig.
Facebook user Paul Yip wrote: "Nowadays, money hard to earn, don't know if can even make $2,000-$3,000 per month still have to do chicken dance (sic)."
The restaurant's owner, Mr Francis Ng, 46, said he decided in May to play the tune whenever the dish was served to entertain customers, but did not require his service staff to dance.
ALL IN GOOD FUN
I am just an auntie who loves to dance and gao xiao.
MADAM LOH FENG LING, using a Mandarin term that means to make people laugh.
Madam Loh, who said she got her dancing chops from working in a karaoke joint in her younger days, said: "I did it out of my own sincere desire. No matter what kind of music plays, I will naturally dance to the tune."
Mr Ng said: "We are very lucky to have her. She is very expressive and always positive at work. When I told her she was famous online, she was actually quite shy about it."
On hearing some of the negative feedback, Madam Loh said she felt self-conscious.
But customer satisfaction is most important, she added.
"Whatever the dance, I will put my heart and soul into it," said Madam Loh, who is married to a construction worker and has three daughters, aged 12, 18 and 21.
Mr Ng said he rewarded Madam Loh with a red packet for her efforts after the video went viral. "Since then, all the other waiters have been dancing too," he said with a laugh.
Some Facebook users, such as Mr Ong Hong Kim, cheered the move.
He wrote: "I think the chicken dance is a great innovation and a win-win-win for the customer, employee and restaurant. Some waiters like to differentiate themselves from the others, and that's OK."