SBS driver faces disciplinary action for verbal abuse

Local transport operator SBS Transit will take disciplinary action against a bus driver who verbally abused a transgender passenger on Tuesday morning, the company reportedly said in a statement.

Public relations consultant Leona Lo posted on her blog that she was walking from Bedok Temporary Interchange to the MRT station when a bus driver shouted “Ah Kua” and mimicked her gait, while other SBS employees hooted and clapped.

“Ah Kua” is a hokkien derogatory term used for transgenders and trans-sexuals.

The consultant was “stunned and intimidated”, but as she was already late for a business meeting, she just continued walking, Lo said.

She later wrote a letter to SBS to report the incident and posted it on her Facebook page, creating an uproar in the online community.

According to Fridae.com, the transport company’s spokesperson, Tammy Tan, told the Asian LGBT site that they have “conducted an investigation” and “identified the Bus Captain in question”.

“He is deeply apologetic and we will be taking disciplinary action against him. I would like to extend my deep regret to the complainant and to assure her that this is not something we at SBS Transit condone,” said Tan, the company’s senior vice president of group corporate communications.

Their customer service representative has also called to offer their sincere apologies, and Lo said she is “happy with how SBS has handled the matter”.

The activist was quick to point out that the purpose of her complaint was not meant to punish the driver but to “use this as an education platform to share a lesson about basic human respect”.

“My message is meant for individuals struggling with gender identity and sexual orientation issues,” she said. “We must stand up to bullies.”

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