SINGAPORE - The woman who shouted at a deaf and mute cleaner at the Jem foodcourt on Friday (June 3) has apologised for her comments, though she claimed she is not entirely to blame for the incident.
In an interview with Shin Min Daily News, the woman - identified as Mrs Feng, a 37-year-old administrator - said she went to the foodcourt at the Jurong East shopping mall with her husband.
She had almost finished her meal when she found "something dirty" in the remaining food, and planned to take a photo of it to lodge a complaint, she told the evening daily.
At that point, she claimed, the cleaner, identified as "Ah Xing" by Shin Min, came over to clear the plates on her table.
"I told him 'don't take it away' three times but he did not hear me. Instead, he stared at me," said Mrs Feng, adding that she was having a flu that day and was not feeling well.
"I then scolded him and told him to go be a beggar - I couldn't tell if he was disabled as he was not wearing a tag."
A Facebook video of the incident, posted by Ms Euphemia Lee at around 7.30pm on Friday, has been viewed 1.2 million times and garnered close to 28,000 shares.
Most of her 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!"
Mrs Feng insisted her remarks to Ah Xing were uttered in anger, adding that she told his supervisor that it was "nothing personal" and she was simply "unhappy that he took my food away".
She said she was not the only party at fault for the incident, calling on Ah Xing to wear a tag "so customers know that he is deaf and mute".
"I'm not a bad or evil person," she added.
For his part, Ah Xing, through sign language, told Shin Min he was not angry with the woman and there was no need for her to apologise. He added that he was more worried about upsetting customers.
However, his elder brother, identified in the report as Mr Fang, 67, said his sibling's abuser had "no moral character" and "humiliated" Ah Xing.
As the video went viral, irate netizens hit out at the woman, with some alleging that she was a grassroots leader at Nee Soon GRC - a claim which has since been refuted by the Residents' Committee (RC) for Nee Soon Central Zone 1.
Mrs Feng said she attended community events but was neither a volunteer nor a grassroots leader.
Responding to what she called an "online witch hunt", Mrs Feng said she has received threatening messages and may lodge a police report. But she added: "I'm not worried about how people see me. In Singapore, the law prevails."