Content warnings for physical and sexual abuse, suicide, and death
The case of Piang Ngaih Don highlighted the inescapable dangers of being domestic help in a foreign country. While cases of murdered, tortured, and even sexually assaulted domestic help aren’t exclusive to Singapore, the country has enough cases to consider the abuse of foreign workers in domestic settings a problem.
In a 2019 study, one is seven the Singaporeans surveyed said that they witnessed some form of abuse against foreign workers in domestic settings, with one in three saying they heard about an instance of abuse from others. Since a lot of abuse goes undocumented, case numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.
Of all the cases that have been documented, though, seven stand out, including Piang’s employer, Gaiyathiri Murugayan, her husband, and mother.
Gaiyathiri Murugayan, her husband, and mother
Alvinology previously reported that this cop’s wife abused Piang in all aspects of life until the 24-year-old Burmese domestic helper died in 2016. Piang was denied proper food and sleep. She was beaten, assaulted, burned with an iron, and verbally abused in concert with Gaiyathiri’s mother and husband who was a policeman.
In July 2016, Piang succumbed to oxygen deprivation due to Gaiyathiri’s repeated choking after she was chained to a window grill for weeks, only able to sleep on the floor. Gaiyathiri did not let Piang shower with the door closed. Her employer lied to the doctor when asked if Piang was beaten, but recently plead guilty to killing and abusing the latter. Piang was only 24 kgs when she died.
Rosdiana Abdul Rahim
Rosdiana’s brand of violence against two foreign domestic helpers had a disgusting sexual edge to it, since she asked them to do embarrassing acts and touched them inappropriately.
According to a report by TODAY, Rosdiana pinched her domestic helper’s breast, and closed a cupboard door on the latter’s forearm, just below the wrist. This horrid employer kicked her female helpers in the crotch, and repeatedly forced them to strip in front of her husband and other members of her family. She went so far as to pull at their clothes until they were damaged.
Lim Choon Hong and Chong Sui Foon
Lim Choon Hong and his wife Chong Sui Foon, both 47, abused their foreign domestic worker so terribly that the woman dropped from 49 kg in weight to 29 kg.
A report from TODAY said that this couple made their foreign domestic helper work in straight 24-hour shifts. She was not allowed more than two meager meals in a day and was only allowed to shower in a communal condominium bathroom under the watch of one of the employers to make sure she did not take too long. She was only allowed one to two showers a week.
While the couple’s children were eating extravagantly in a hotel, the helper was only allowed bread and instant noodles.
Tan Bee Kim
According to the South China Morning Post, this 54-year-old former hotel employee abused her Philippine maid, who had six children back at home that she was working for.
The report said, “Tan abused Landingin by hitting her on the head with a clay cup; striking her on the arm and head with a metal ladle; hitting the top of her head with her palm in a Tampines car park; slapping her face twice; striking her chest six times and hitting her head 13 times; hitting the side of her head with the heel of a high-heeled shoe at least thrice; pinching the base of her neck several times; and hitting her head with a mobile phone.”
The last incident of abuse involved Tan hitting the helper with a ladle repeatedly for using the wrong one in serving food.
Zariah Mohd Ali
This 54-year-old employer, Zariah Mohd Ali, beat her Indonesian domestic helper with a hammer several times on the head and on the mouth.
A report from The Straits Times said that Zariah hit her maid several times with different implements. Court documents showed this vile employer used a hammer, a rock, and a bamboo pole. Zariah’s husband also hit the helper with a frying pan.
The helper testified in court that Zariah used scissors to stab her, leaving permanent scars. The report said Zariah was angry at the helper for doing her job poorly.
Chan Huey Fern
In 2014, this 39-year-old employer hit her domestic helper’s back with a folding chair twice.
Chan Huey Fern punched her helper Ms Juwarti on the chest before pulling her into the master bedroom, where she pushed her on the forehead, causing the maid’s head to hit the wall. She scolded Ms Juwarti and kicked her on the stomach. While the maid was in a crouching position, she stamped on her body.
Aside from the violence, it was also reported that her helper was only allowed to sleep at 2:00 in the morning and had to get up at 6:00 AM.
Is Gayathri the name of evil women? In another case that was heard on February 26, a horrid employer by the name of Gayathri Iyer was shown to have slapped her maid hard on both sides of her head. She also abused her maid that there were bruises on the woman’s body.
The bruises allegedly came from an incident where this Gayathri hit the maid’s shoulder after the domestic worker used the word “mah” when talking to her.
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