Singapore, July 22, 2010- AN UPROAR has erupted over a woman seen telling her maid to tie her shoelaces in public.
The maid had to squat down and tie her employer's shoelaces as the latter chatted with another person.
The furore arose over a video clip posted on citizen-journalism website Stomp.
Contributor Larvitar witnessed the action at 313@ Somerset shopping centre and felt offended to see the maid being treated like a "slave".
He recalled: "I spotted a maid who was ordered to kneel down and tie both the shoelaces of her employer.
"It was downright offensive to observe the maid being treated like a lowly servant in public.
"The employer looked perfectly capable of tying her own shoelaces and was clearly abusing her authority over the maid."
Larvitar concluded: "I was unaware that maids are still being treated like slaves in modern-day Singapore. That employer should be ashamed of herself."
The clip, up since last Thursday, has been viewed nearly 12,000 times on Stomp and has elicited feverish responses.
One poster, sgboylive, exhorted Larvitar to complain to the Ministry of Manpower, while another netizen, hellokittybabe, said that "maids are humans too".
However, some people have speculated that the employer may not have been able to bend down and tie her laces. A few said that she seemed to have difficulty walking, as observed from a supposed limp.
In response, Larvitar wrote to Stomp yesterday to say that the woman was fully capable of tying her shoelaces herself.
He acknowledged that it might have seemed as if she was limping as she walked towards an escalator near the end of the video.
"But I was observing her movements as she approached the escalator from a distance, and it appeared that she was perfectly capable of tying her shoelaces," he explained.
"What was not captured in time on video was how the employer pointed at her shoes and ordered the maid to tie the shoelaces."
To watch the video clip and judge for yourself, go to Singapore Seen on Stomp at www.stomp.com.sg and click on the item.