Date
24 September 2017
Thelma Oyasan Gawidan (left) says her former employers, Lim Choon Hong and his wife, Chong Sui Foon, failed to provide her with adequate food. Photos: Today, Straits Times
Thelma Oyasan Gawidan (left) says her former employers, Lim Choon Hong and his wife, Chong Sui Foon, failed to provide her with adequate food. Photos: Today, Straits Times

Filipino maid: Ex-employers starved me until I weighed 64 lb

A Filipino domestic worker in Singapore said her former employers gave her two meals a day, each consisting of instant noodles and a slice of bread.

Thelma Oyasan Gawidan, 40, weighed just 64 pounds when she was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital in April last year, compared with 108 pounds in Jan 2013.

Lim Choon Hong, 47, and his wife, Chong Sui Foon, 47, stood trial this week on charges of failing to provide Gawidan with adequate food, causing her weight to drop by 44 pounds over the 15-month period, the Straits Times reported.

A district court heard that Gawidan ran away from Lim’s flat on April 18 last year and sought refuge at a shelter run by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).

Home reported her complaints of weight loss, insufficient rest and food and unacceptable sleeping space to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

When ministry investigation officer Christina Quek interviewed her on April 21, Gawidan said she was made to sleep in a storeroom and instructed to sleep at odd hours of the day, such as at 11 a.m.

She said she was allowed to bathe only once or twice a week, at a public toilet in her employer’s condominium complex.

Chong would also watch her shower, as she “did not want her to bathe too long”, Quek said.

Gawidan also claimed that she was not allowed to brush her teeth.

Dr. Lin Huiyu, who attended to Gawidan after she was taken to the hospital’s emergency department by Home on April 29, told the court she had said she was given insufficient food.

She also complained of difficulty sleeping and had not had her period for about a year.

At a review at the hospital in June last year, after she was discharged, she weighed 95 pounds.

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