Photo Channel News Asia
Illustrative Photo Channel News Asia

Domestic workers in Asia have always had a long history of being abused by their employees, but what happened to this helper in Singapore was just plain disgusting.

Tan Hui Mei, now pregnant with her fourth child, also rained blows on Ms Muslikhah, who goes by one name.

The 35-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty on May 5 to two counts of assault and was sentenced to eight weeks' jail, the Straits Times reported.

She was also ordered to give Ms Muslikhah, now 26, $3,200 in compensation.

Three other charges involving the maid were considered during sentencing.

The victim, a 24-year-old Indonesian woman, began working for Tan in November 2018 for S$600 a month. She was tasked with household chores, cooking and caring for Tan's youngest daughter, a toddler at the time.

How did Tan abuse the maid?

Sometime between November 2018 and March 2019, Tan made the victim eat a piece of dirty cotton wool on the dining table and watched as she placed it in her mouth.

In the same period, she also instructed the maid to eat hair that was on the toilet floor and also watched her do so.

In December 2018, the victim called the police to say that Tan had slapped her a few times as she was unhappy with her work performance, but the victim decided to return to Tan's home to continue working for her.

On the morning of March 30, 2019, the victim bathed and fed Tan's toddler before leaving the child in a room with Tan's mother and second daughter.

When the toddler began crying, the victim did not attend to her as she thought Tan's mother or other daughter would do so, according to Channel News Asia.

Tan, who was sleeping in her own room, confronted the victim and asked why she did not take care of the toddler. When the victim tried to explain, Tan slapped both sides of her face and hit her forehead three times, causing it to swell.

The victim did not retaliate and continued doing her household chores.

The next night, Tan called the victim to her bedroom and said she could not sleep as her legs were aching. She asked the victim to massage her legs, but the victim fell asleep while doing so.

Tan pinched her forearm and told her not to close her eyes. The victim felt pain and continued the massage.

The victim later told her sister what happened, and her sister called the Centre for Domestic Employees for help. Police went to Tan's home, and the victim was taken to hospital with bruises on her forehead and arm.

When Tan was first investigated, she denied committing the offences. The victim was unemployed for seven months from April 2019 until she found work with a new household in December 2019, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kathy Chu.

**READ MORE: Only in Vietnam: 7 bizarre things about Vietnam

Other cases in Singapore

Singapore has had some heinous crimes involving hurting and even killing helpless domestic workers trying to earn a puny amount of money on this island.

Gaiyathiri Murugayan pleaded guilty to 28 charges on Feb 23, 2021 for abusing her domestic helper Ms Piang Ngaih Don.PHOTOS: HELPING HANDS FOR MIGRANT WORKERS,
Gaiyathiri Murugayan pleaded guilty to 28 charges on Feb 23, 2021 in Singapore for abusing her domestic helper Ms Piang Ngaih Don. Photo HELPING HANDS FOR MIGRANT WORKERS,

Over 250,000 foreign domestic workers were recruited in Singapore since 2018, according to 2019 statistics. They have to be at least 23 years old to be employed by the roughly one in five Singapore households to do all sorts of chores like cooking, cleaning, and even care-giving, and at times, dealing with violence. Several Singaporean families have been reported to vent their anger at the workers, even driving them to death. Forcing food down throats, burning skin with a hot iron, and breaking fingers, were among the most evil things Singapore employers have been reported of doing.

Here’s a roundup of some of the worst cases of maid abuse in Singapore’s history.

Piang Ngaih Don

The most recent court case involves 24-year-old Piang Ngaih Don from Myanmar, who died from a brain injury in 2016 after she was inflicted by employers Gaiyathiri Murugayan, her cop husband Kevin Chelvam, and mother Prema Naraynasamy. Kevin was a staff sergeant when the abuse occurred, and was suspended from the police force the year the maid died. The horrifying abuse lasted several months.

Moe Moe Than and Fitriyah

Two domestic helpers, Moe Moe Than, 33, from Myanmar and Fitriyah, 40, from Indonesia, braved 10 months of abuse in 2012 at the hands of Singaporean couple Chia Yun Ling and Tay Wee Kiat. The couple’s case was so prominent that it set a new court framework to cover psychological harm suffered by domestic workers.

Sulis Setyowati

The abuse suffered by 24-year-old Sulis Setyowati from Indonesia was so harsh that she escaped from the Yishun flat by climbing down 15 stories from the balcony.

Only a month after Sulis’ employment began in December 2017, 31-year-old employer Nuur Audadi Yusoff began torturing her by spitting, slapping, and dragging her by the hair when she forgot to apply ointment on her child’s stomach. The abuse paused for months as Sulis requested for a transfer but continued after Nuur found out she had posted pictures of her children online. Nuur also bruised her forehead with a comb and repeatedly hit her with a broom.

She finally ran away at around 2am through the balcony as the front door was locked. She spent the whole morning climbing down the building, and went to the police.

Amandeep Kaur

Amandeep Kaur, 32, from India was put through abuse since her first day of employment in 2016. Farha Tehseen and her husband Mohammad Tasleem treated Amandeep like a punching bag, kicking her waist and lower back twice, and punching her eye and nose as punishment for trivial things like being too slow to prepare milk for their son.

Only in India: Mysterious Condition of Boy with The Most Giant Hands in the World Only in India: Mysterious Condition of Boy with The Most Giant Hands in the World

Tarik's strange hands have disproportionately grown over 12-inches, which has suprised medical experts the world over. Tarik’s mysterious condition does not have any medical name ...

Top 15 Most Popular Festivals and Events in Singapore Top 15 Most Popular Festivals and Events in Singapore

As if Singapore’s residents and visitors weren’t already spoiled enough by the island’s spectacular food, year-round warm weather, and uber-clean and safe streets there are ...

Singaporean Foods: Top 10 Iconic Must-Try Dishes Singaporean Foods: Top 10 Iconic Must-Try Dishes

Singapore is not only known for its world-class airport facilities, heart-pumping theme parks and awe-inspiring city skyline but also for its finger-licking dishes. Travelling in ...