A Singaporean couple are facing charges in court that they forced their Filipino maid to only eat bread and instant noodles, causing her to lose 44 pounds over the course of 15 months.
The maid, 40-year-old Thelma Oyasan Gawidan, weighed about 64 pounds when she was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital in April last year, about a 40 percent drop from January 2013, when she first began working for the couple and weighed 108 pounds, reports AsiaOne
On the stand, Gawidan testified that the couple, Lim Choon Hong and his wife Chong Sui Foon, both 47, fed her two packets of instant noodles and three slices of bread daily for her first meal and then a slice of tomato or cucumber, plus six slices of bread for a second meal, according to the Straits Times
Thelma Oyasan Gawidan
“I became very skinny, I couldn’t recognise myself when I saw myself in the mirror,” a crying Gawidan said through a Tagalog interpreter in court.
She was able to regain her weight at a shelter run by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics after fleeing from her employers.
In addition to being inadequately fed, Gawidan claimed she had to sleep in a storeroom at odd hours during the daytime.
Her weekly baths, which were taken at a public restroom in her employers’ condominium building, were monitored by Chong so that she would not bathe too long. She was also forbidden from brushing her teeth.
The couple’s lawyer, Tan Hee Liang, told District Judge Low Wee Ping that Lim was “very distressed by the whole affair” and “eager to have his side of the story (told).”
Lim and Chong are currently out on $3,000 bail each. If convicted, they face a fine of up to $10,000 and 12 months of imprisonment.