Singapore — Sembawang Hot Springs, which reopened to much acclaim on Saturday (Jan 4), has already drawn criticism from one writer, who witnessed a couple having their feet washed by a domestic helper, characterizing the spectacle with the phrase “delusions of royalty.”
Dr Petunia Lee, a writer with mommy blog singaporemotherhood.com, wrote on her personal blog about a recent visit to the The Sembawang Hot Springs, which starts with praise for NSParks for the recent renovation and improvements, and ends with the damning statement “Lovely Place But Ugly People.”
What ultimately caused Dr Lee’s ire was seeing a young woman washing the feet of her able-bodied employers.
She wrote, “I was at first gobsmacked to see a young lady washing 2 people’s feet, in turn. Then, I was nauseated. She fetched water. She bent down and splashed water over her employers’ feet and calves. Those people did not look handicapped. They probably have delusions of royalty. Actually, I think true modern royalty would have too much class to ask another human being to wash their feet in public. These domestic workers are citizens of a neighbouring country. Simply because we pay them does not give us the license to disrespect them to this extent.”
Dr Lee added that these kinds of situations make her feel ashamed to be a Singaporean.
She wrote that while the hot springs are a mere 15-minute walk from her home, she’s “not in a hurry to go back” as some of what she witnessed there was “nauseating.”
In her blog post, Dr Lee mentioned a few of the other things that she found disturbing.
She pointed out that in one communal pool, people soaked their feet without washing them in soap first. For Dr Lee, this is a big no, as it could be a breeding ground for germs, writing, “If the temperature of the water was comfortable for feet, then it surely is comfortable for fungal growth. There is no way I will put my feet into that pool for fear of catching a fungal infection. Remember, there is no chlorine nor other disinfectant in that water.”
In an even more appalling example, Dr Lee wrote about having cooked two eggs in the springs, which she ended up wasting. She had to throw the eggs away because an old man threw the pail of water where he had been soaking his feet into her pail of eggs.
She wrote, “It did not occur to him to throw his dirty water into the drain. He HAD to go back to the water source to throw his water.”
Dr Lee even expressed doubts about the hygiene of the wooden pails at the hot springs, due to the porous nature of wood, which could be places where bacteria and fungal spores can hide. And while the pails still look good now while they are new, Dr Lee says that they’ll likely grow mould before long. -/TISG