M’sian Twitter user sparks outrage with photo of helper not “allowed” to eat with family

Maybe we should think twice before we tweet.

Sulaiman Daud | January 17, 09:21 pm


A Malaysian Twitter user was taught a lesson in jumping to conclusions after posting a photo on social media without context.

On Jan. 17 user Vivek, posted a photo on his account of a family eating a meal at a restaurant.

Three people were eating, while the fourth, who appeared to be a domestic helper, was not.

Screen shot from @v_vivekkk’s Twitter page.

Vivek captioned the photo with the following:

“I absolute HATE people who does this. You bring your helper out to a restaurant and you don’t give her food. She sits there watching you eat. Where is your heart? Just because she is a maid, she can’t eat at the same time.

I hope y’all get food poisoning.”

The tweet went viral, racking up over 12,000 retweets.

Not the full picture

While some Twitter users expressed outrage over the apparent ill-treatment, others pointed out that Vivek did not know the full picture.

Even local blogger Xiaxue replied to the tweet, and gave a few alternate reasons for why the fourth woman was not eating together with the rest.

Another Twitter user Meera Semanther, with the handle @ponnumbalam, then claimed to be a personal friend of one of the women in Vivek’s photo.

She said that her friend Lin, her parents, and their domestic helper Melissa (a pseudonym) were the people in the photo.

Meera said she had known Lin for almost 20 years, and called her a “responsible” employer.

Lin was apparently “distraught” over the tweet, and explained her side of the story to Meera:

Screen shot from @ponnumbalam’s Twitter page.
Screen shot from @ponnumbalam’s Twitter page.

After Meera’s tweet was posted, Vivek deleted his original tweet with the photo.

He also made his Twitter account private.

Top image adapted from Vivek and @ponnumbalam’s Twitter pages.


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About Sulaiman Daud

Sulaiman believes that we can be heroes, if just for one day. His favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi's Twelve and his favourite person is Jürgen Klopp. He also writes about film and pop-culture, which you are very welcome to read here.

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