When Paralympic swimmer Sophie Soon took to social media to vent about an incident at a local eatery involving her guide dog, it was met with mixed reactions.
Since the incident, there have been angry videos (from Soon), a statement from the restaurant, Soon not accepting the apology and statement and a divided reaction from the public. Phew.
In a surprising turn of events, Soon deleted her original videos of the incident, retracted her reply to the restaurant and also released a public apology,
In her video, Sophie said that she is “so sorry” about what happened and that she had read what has been said and accepted responsibility for her part in the incident.
“I recognized that I am the one who has started the whole incident and I wanna put an end to this as well,” she said.
Soon, who has an eye condition which affects her vision, was at Rocky Masters at Hougang 1 to dine with her mother and Soon’s guide dog Orinda. They were told to sit outdoors by the service staff because of the guide dog.
This did not go down well with Soon and her mother and she put up the video of the incident on TikTok, where she regularly shares her guide dog experiences.
Though the video has now been deleted, it ended with Soon asking the staff, “What happens if we post the video again?” – and they were told that a police report would be made by Rocky Masters.
She also followed up with another video expressing her frustration at the lack of education on guide dog laws in Singapore.
The video brought about mixed reactions from commenters, some siding with her activism while others called her insensitive or entitled.
Response from Rocky Masters
The restaurant also weighed in on the incident and put out a statement on their end. In the post, they emphasized that they are a Halal-certified eatery and wanted to be “mindful” towards other diners who might not be comfortable.
The current guide dog law states that guide dogs are approved and allowed in halal-certified premises by the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS).
However, when Muslims accidentally come into contact with dog saliva or their snout, they are required to cleanse once with water that is mixed with earth (soil) and then followed by clean water 6 times. This method is referred to as sertu. Despite that, touching and holding dogs as explained above, is not against Islamic law and is not a sin.
The post also mentioned that the service staff was left “traumatized” after the incident.
Soon had initially left a reply to this post, stating she did not accept the apology.
However, after her apology video, she removed her comment on the post.
No more “hatred”
In her apology video, Soon said that she did not want to be spreading any more hatred among each other and hopes to move on in a “positive manner”.
She also added that in her future activism about the guide dog movement, she wants to post more positive content and mentioned that there have been companies reaching out to her regarding collaborations on how to further educate the public on the matter.
Other stories to check out:
Singapore Paralympic swimmer draws mixed reactions to ‘discrimination’ against dining with guide dogs
Paralympic swimmer and guide dog advocate Sophie Soon has always been pushing for more awareness, understanding and kindness towards guide dogs in the community. Her guide dog Orinda and her…
They mistook her guide dog for a “pet” and asked her, a visually-impaired person, how she was going to watch the concert. Cringe.
Feel sorry for the girl’s disability but there is no reason why she can’t sit outside with her dog. She is local so the heat wouldn’t affect her that badly. Other people don’t need to accept animals near them if they don’t see fit, especially dogs while eating. Backing the restaurant on this one – they were polite and explanatory.