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'Are you working in KTV?' Vietnamese community in Singapore harassed over Covid-19 cluster

'Are you working in KTV?' Vietnamese community in Singapore harassed over Covid-19 cluster
PHOTO: Illustration: Pexels

As the Covid-19 cluster linked to KTV lounges grows, the attention of Singaporeans has turned to a group of Vietnamese hostesses who frequented these places.

On July 16, Facebook user Jolin Dang shared an unpleasant experience with a Grab driver who was ferrying her to the Vietnam embassy in Singapore.

It was a friendly chat until he asked her: "Are you working in KTV?"

Noting that the driver had picked her up from an office estate and her formal work attire, Dang couldn't understand how he had made the connection.

"The question was hurtful to me, which I believe all of the other Vietnamese ladies who are living here will feel the same," she wrote.

Feeling insulted, she gave the driver a one-star rating and reported the matter to Grab.

AsiaOne understands that the ride-hailing company has explained to the passenger that the driver was given a stern warning.


Other accounts of harassment surfaced online on the same day, with Punggol West MP Sun Xueling sharing a resident's letter on the hate speech received by the Vietnamese community here.

The resident said that they are facing verbal abuse when they go out for essential items, and some have been asked to alight from taxis after cabbies learn that they are Vietnamese.

"Just imagine a six-year-old child facing verbal abuse targeted at their Vietnamese mother when making their way to school," they wrote, explaining that such behaviour has caused unnecessary anxiety and trouble for the Vietnamese community.


Although earlier reports said that a Vietnamese woman, who was in Singapore on a short-term visit pass sponsored by her Singaporean boyfriend, was the index case of the KTV cluster, it might not be so.

In a multi-ministry task force press conference on July 16, Singapore's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said that the infections could be seeded by an initial community spread, adding: "The mode of specific transmission is still unknown."

To prevent the spread of community transmission, authorities are cracking down on illegal entertainment outlets and deporting women who were working here as hostesses. The KTV cluster has 173 Covid-19 cases as of writing.

In response to the harassment faced by the Vietnamese community in Singapore, Sun wrote: "May we be discerning and compassionate, so that we do not hurt those who are innocent."

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