An Indonesian woman in Singapore posted a video and some photos on Facebook of an arrest made in Paya Lebar, at City Plaza. In it are a police and some National Environment Agency (NEA) officers, standing in the outside area under some trees, surrounded by cooking and eating implements.
However, netizens were surprisingly sympathetic to the unknown food vendor, saying that the country’s laws should not be too strict against them.
The arrest apparently happened on December 16. While many domestic helpers from Indonesia commonly stay in the area on their days off, selling food is another thing, especially when one does not have the proper license or documentation for running a business.
The netizen who posted the photos and video, JihanDevilish Joy Humaira, wrote, “Singapore kerass Gaesss…Mbak jualann bakso Ke cyduk pak De…lokasi Paya Lebar City plaza Minggu 16-12-2018.”
This translates to “Singapore is discipline Guysss… A sister who sold meatballs was arrested by the police Uncle… location in Paya Lebar City Plaza Sunday 12-16-2018.”
The ‘sister’ who sold the bakso (Indonesian meatballs) cannot be seen in the photos and video, evidence that she had been selling meals was obvious, from the cooking pots and pans for the freshly cooked food to disposable bowls and utensils, and even pink plastic sheeting for her customers to sit.
Many of the bowls of bakso were still quite full, as though the vendor’s wares were hastily abandoned when the authorities came. People can still be seen milling around the area, presumably other Indonesian helpers, and the officials from the police force and NEA seemed to be taking away the cooking and food items from the area.
Ms. Jihan narrates the video she uploaded, saying in Indonesian,
“Where is the lady selling (the bakso)? Oh no, the person is nowhere to be found. I don’t know where’s the bakso seller.
Oh no, what a pity… Singapore is a very strict country, the bakso seller will be fined… You can’t sell bakso like this. Be careful, you guys.
Be careful to everyone who’s selling food (like this).”
Fines of up to S $500 are given to illegal hawkers, depending on the number of times they have been caught in the activity. However, after the third offense, illegal hawkers already face prosecution.
Other netizens seem to echo Ms. Jihan’s “be careful” warning, as the post has gotten more than 4,000 shares since it was posted.
When reported on mothership.sg, netizens showed their sympathy toward the vendor and her patrons.
Others even expressed how much they love bakso, and that they were craving for it, now that they know where to find it.
The most popular comment was from someone who said, “At least they don’t die from food poisoning in established restaurants” referencing the recent spate of food poisonings in Singapore