By Hedy Khoo
SHE asked for the bill, but ended up getting a black eye instead.
Filipina Mary Estares, 31, a singer at a pub in Changi Village, claimed she was assaulted by a male staff member at a neighbouring pub last Monday night after she had asked for her bill three times.
Her left eye is now swollen and blue-black, and her face is badly bruised.
Said Madam Estares: "I try not to look in the mirror. I feel very embarrassed to be seen in public looking like this."
Madam Estares, who is a work permit holder, lodged a police report about the incident.
Police confirmed the report was made and said they have advised her on her legal recourse.
According to Madam Estares, she had finished work that night at 11pm. Accompanied by an Italian friend, she went to another pub a few units away.
Close to midnight, she asked for the bill as they wanted to leave.
"I asked the bartender for the bill three times. When it didn't come, I went up to the counter," said Madam Estares.
She claimed she knew the bartender as they had been on group outings several times with her colleagues from the bar she worked at.
Madam Estares alleged: "He suddenly became angry and said 'Who are you to talk to me like that? You think I am your maid?"
"He warned me not to speak to him again, then suddenly slapped me on my left cheek."
Madam Estares said she reacted by slapping him once.
She alleged that the man then repeatedly slapped and punched her in the face.
"I was in pain and my nose started bleeding," she said.
Her Italian friend, Mr Elvis Bajic, 37, told The New Paper that he had witnessed the incident. He was seated about 10maway.
"It happened very quickly. I saw the man slapping and punching her, but he stopped by the time I went up to her," said Mr Bajic, who was here for work, but left for Italy on Friday.
"I told him it was not nice for a man to hit a woman. He said he respected me and didn't say anything more to me."
Madam Estares called the police and was later taken to the hospital by ambulance.
But she alleged that her attacker also threatened her.
"He said that if I dared to make a police report, I would never see my son again," claimed Madam Estares.
She said she had previously shown him a picture of her one-year-old son, who is in the Philippines.
Madam Estares, who has been working here since June, was given 13 days of medical leave.
She said she is afraid of returning to work. "What if he attacks me again?"
She wanted to stop work and return home to the Philippines.
When contacted, her alleged attacker at first said he did not want to comment on the matter.
He denied that he worked as a bartender at the pub and claimed he had not attacked her. Then he said the matter was being settled by the woman's employer.
Madam Estares later told The New Paper that her employer had given her $3,000 as compensation and that she had decided not to pursue the matter further.
When contacted, the manager of the bar where Madam Estares works said the matter had been settled privately.
He said the management would be cancelling her work permit and she would be returning home.
This article was first published in The New Paper.