Woman jailed for punching maid, nearly caused her to go blind

Woman jailed for punching maid, nearly caused her to go blind

The maid testified against her employer for physical abuse and exploitation.

Maid abuse cases in Singapore have skyrocketed. Take a look at this recent case where a woman expressed her emotions a little too strongly and punched her maid in the face. Her repeated abuse almost made the maid go blind.

Singapore Maid Abuse Cases: Woman Jailed for Abusing Myanmar Maid 

maid abuse cases

“Bong denied abusing the maid. She said the maid was ‘very slow in her work’, and claimed she had treated her as a daughter and that she was ‘part of the family’.” | Source: Screengrab from The Straits Times

According to The Straits Times, Suzanna Bong Sim Swana was jailed for 20 months and was ordered to pay over $38,000 in compensation for repeatedly abusing and exploiting her Myanmarese maid, Ms Than Than Soe.

It all started in a Yishun flat that belonged to Bong’s parents in May 2013 where the maid was not given any days off. 

Initially, Bong would just scold her maid. But after four months, Bong started finding fault with her work and it escalated into physical abuse. 

The 46-year-old would generally inflict physical abuse concentrated on Ms Than Than Soe’s face about two or three times a week, often punching her in the eyes. 

Around January 2014, Ms Than Than Soe started to experience blurred vision — she’d always had perfect eyesight — and she complained to Bong about it. But Bong refused to take her to a doctor.

The abuse worsened when Ms Than Than Soe was moved to Bong’s Sengkang flat in early 2015.

Bong deprived her of dinner about three times a week, and occasionally lunch, too. She was even forced to sleep on her sarong on the floor because Bong did not give her a mattress. 

Apart from physical abuse, Bong exploited her maid as well by refusing to pay her salary and denying her any days off during the two years of employment.

When It All Becomes Too Much to Bear

The last straw for Ms Than Than Soe was on May 17, 2015, where she was hit three times on her left cheek by Bong. Ms Than Than Soe was having a headache so she used some medicated oil. Bong was upset about it as her family dog did not like the smell.

She seized the glass bottle containing the oil in her hand, made a fist with it and hit her maid yet again.

Unable to take it any longer, Ms Than Than Soe called the police the following day to tell them of her ordeal, and officers brought her to a hospital. 

Ms Than Than Soe apparently suffered injuries including retinal detachment that caused her blindness in her left eye, while her right eye was severely injured.  

She has since had operations performed on her eyes and fortunately, regained some of her sight. Afterwards, she was taken to a shelter for victims of violence.

Maid Abuse Cases Reflect Inhumanity

This is truly an unfortunate incident that Ms Than Than Soe had to bear. It speaks volumes about how some of us are treating our maids in Singapore. Perhaps for Bong it is because her maid was “very slow in her work” or did things that annoyed her. Even so, we have to treat them right. Besides, if we have children at home, how would that reflect on us as parents?

If we have maids, this leads us to ponder our actions towards them. Could anything have been done to prevent such situations from arising? How do we ensure that they carry out their work well in our home without us having to become the “bad person”?

Tips for Parents with Maids at Home 

1. Never act on impulse

It is easy to get riled up by the little things that are presented to you after a long day of work. Duties assigned to your maid are not done properly, the dishes are not entirely clean… You see them working at a snail’s pace and assume that they are taking their own sweet time. Or you might even find your kids getting hurt at home while you’re away and hold your maid accountable right away.

Before you do anything, always observe and clarify. It may be difficult to control yourself at first but you will thank yourself for doing so later. Set a good example for your kids.

2. Find a common ground

How much can your maid do within a day? There is a limit to what she can do. Is her workload overwhelming her, causing inefficiency? What does she need in order to perform her duties well?

Lay out the rules and expectations clearly, and make sure that she understands and agrees to them. Most importantly, practice open communication between each other.

Our maids are humans too and a little affirmation and positivity go a long way! 

3. Don’t assume!

Ever heard of the quote ‘Assume’ makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’? Don’t expect your maids to know everything you tell them to do. 

Some of them may even question why they should do this or that — don’t take that as an act of defiance just yet.  

Give them the chance to express any concerns they may have. You can decide later if it is just being “lazy”. Sometimes, being a little more forgiving may work in your favour.

Conflicts may arise, but you can always deal with them amicably. 


Source: The Straits Times


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Written by

Jia Ling

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