Wife of Venture Corp Chairman Slaps Singapore Air Stewardess

February 16, 2008 · Posted in Rant Corner 

Hand Slap

Don’t get me wrong; I am not against rich people, but does status and fame mean you have the rights to lay your hands on another civilian? In my opinion, that’s physical abuse! Mdm Tan Siew Hoon is the wife of Ventura Corp Chairman, Wong Ngit Liong, a wealthy and influential businessman.

This couple was on a flight on board Singapore Airlines (SIA). Ms Then Jiamin, an SIA air stewardess and the victim of the assault, was carrying out her duty serving passengers on the business class. Reports have quoted that Ms Then merely spoke to Mr Wong and Mdm Tan was unhappy about that, shouted at her saying “Why are you talking to my husband?…” and later gave her a slap.

After that incident, Ms Then wanted to seek redress from Mdm Tan, who refused to accede to her request for compensation and statement of apology. Her refusal simply signalled that her action was right. As a result, Ms Then proceeded ahead to engage a lawyer and file a lawsuit against Mdm Tan. During that period of time, Mdm Tan must be thinking that a young flight attendant like her will not have the guts and capability to do that; but I guess she was wrong.

Reports have also suggested that SIA responded with “No Comment” towards this matter, perhaps not wanting to involve the (SIA) company’s reputation. Now, how good a company stands in the corporate world, is also factored as how good the company treats its own employees. I do not understand SIA’s respond, but if they are drawing a line between them and Ms Then, then how is SIA going to attract employees to join the company? Furthermore, the reputation of SIA would be further tarnished by giving out a signal that “…we welcome physical content with any of our staffs, as we provide quality service on board our plane…“. This is, no wonder, SIA pilots had once staged a protest against the corporate company several years ago.

As for Mdm Tan, a slap is considered a physical abuse; and its action is concrete with medical evidence and eye witnesses on board the aircraft. This is irregardless of any emotional attachment, but such action is punishable by law; just as Paris Hilton is not allowed to escape jail terms at the end. The more that you are well-off, the more that you should carry yourself properly in public.

If justice is there, one should think back about the boy (or guy by now), Michael Faye, who thought (or is still thinking) that his act of vandalism is a symbolic of strength, just because he’s an American, then with the backing of his country and President Bill Clinton. The bottom line is, good deeds reap rewards, and bad deeds are presented with punishment. He still did not escape caning.

Last but not least, justice should be addressed and give Ms Then her rights to live as a human being in a civilised world.

Sunday, February 17, 2008 Update

The Sunday Times has covered part of this issue on page 8. Regarding the case, it was reported that the case has been filed in the Subordinate Courts, where the maximum fine that may be awarded is $250,000.

Once again, SIA declined to comment on this matter, despite several interviews have carried out on some stewards and stewardesses.

In my opinion, that amount of money is peanuts to the couple. I’m not simply taking the wealth of the accused into consideration, but rather their influential status into account. Ask a question of why Singapore came up with a policy for offenders to do PWO (Public Work Order) when they littered? To the rich, the fine is simply nothing, and they continued to do so at their own pleasure.

The fine did little to help the cause of the incident, as if required, Madam Tan can reproduce as many $250,000 if she wants to. The benefit from this ruling, if eventually is the case, is only that Ms Then gets a quarter of a million richer. Madam Tan’s attitude towards people would still be the same.

In order to safeguard SIA’s reputation in the global status and its employees from being able to provide top-class quality service to their customers, this court ruling should make this as a precedence.

Even the Sunday Times claimed that SIA air stewardesses should talk to the wives or girlfriends first before communicating with the male counterparts. How on earth is that going to be possible without lower efficiency of the service? Do you mean air stewards and stewardesses have to memorise every passengers on the plane, as who are related to who? The suggestion provided by an interviewee in the Sunday Times is absolutely preposterous! Secondly, this simply means sub-standard; male passengers are not getting any better, or perhaps, less friendlier service from the airline.

However, I do agree with one final comment,

“…The best way to avoid problems is to treat passengers equally and not give anyone special treatment…”

And, that is should be the way.

Background Information

  • Ventura Corp is Singapore’s second largest contract manufacturer in making computer and printer parts for some of the world’s top technological firms.
  • Madam Tan Siew Hoon is married to chairman of Ventura Corp, Mr Wong Ngit Liong.

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