Actor & ex-Sibay Shiok employee Xavier Ong alleges Terence Cao owes him S$13,000 in pay

Cao is using legal means to handle the matter.

Mandy How | February 17, 2022, 11:03 AM

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A new saga is brewing in the local entertainment sphere.

It involves 54-year-old Terence Cao, actor and co-founder of e-commerce/F&B venture Sibay Shiok, and 27-year-old actor Xavier Ong.

Ong is also known for being the stepson of industry veteran Wang Yuqing.

Photo via Xavier Ong's Instagram page

On the evening of Feb. 13, Ong hosted a 51-minute livestream on City Boy, his own e-commerce's Facebook page.

The actor said he was "going to speak about everything once and for all", and that he was not here to deny or defend anything.

"I just wanted to come on and end a never-ending cycle that has been happening for a really, really long time," he added.

On leaving Sibay Shiok

To set the context, Ong made it clear that he has left Sibay Shiok, and now owns City Boy.

He had quit in January 2022, after working at Sibay Shiok for three to four months.

During his time there, he participated in charity streams and daily live shows.

Photo via 西北Shiok/Facebook

However, even before the team's trip to Thailand from Dec. 2021 - Jan. 2022, there were already "underlying issues", Ong said.

The actor explained that he joined Sibay Shiok as a streamer, and was thankful to co-founder Dawn Yeoh for bringing him on board.

Along the way, he picked up on skills such as handling the backend system and replying to Facebook messages, in addition to streaming.

Ong thought that that was no issue, as he thought it was useful knowledge for him.

However, according to Ong, it started to become an expectation for him to take up these tasks and help out with another personality's stream.

But the actor saw it as a "learning opportunity", and added that he is grateful for his time with Sibay Shiok, as there would be no City Boy without them.

Unfortunately, as expectations were raised, words used on him reportedly became harsher as well.

Ong alleged that when went things went wrong, he would get reprimanded even if it was not his fault.

While he remains grateful for the opportunity, Ong could not tolerate the unkind words anymore.

Even in Bangkok, he reportedly got scolded for things that were happening in Singapore.

The last straw that made him leave was when he was allegedly told, "You are useless, I'm paying you just shut up and work."

Ong then read out his lengthy exit message to Cao, telling his livestream viewers that they had parted amicably.

In his text, the actor explained the challenges he faced that led to his decision to leave the company.

Here, he also alleged that he was name-called "idiot", in addition to "useless".

One part of his message read:

"I see what Terence you are doing, to build an effective team in a fast-paced environment, forcing a steep learning curve for us all involved. It could have been a more enjoyable journey together. Moving forward, please let me know how you would like to sort the finances, after you've worked out my pay, commission, and my hotel expenses from today onwards. I am open and obliging."

In response, Cao said it was "ok," and that he appreciated all of Ong's efforts.

The older actor apparently apologised for his harsh words the previous night, and even told Ong that they can still be friends as it's "just a job".

He added that Ong could just enjoy the rest of the Bangkok trip instead of working, and another employee will calculate Ong's commission as soon as possible.

The exchange took place on Jan. 6.

According to Ong, however, he continued to help out for the next two to three days with whatever they needed.

Not so amicable

But relations between the two soon soured.

Ong alleged in his Feb. 13 livestream that Cao still owes him S$13,000 to S$15,000 of pay, despite him hounding the company for it over the past month.

Ong had reportedly not heard from Cao for an extended period, until the former used the Sibay Shiok Telegram channel as leverage.

The ex-employee, who created and owned the channel, had told Cao that he would be happy to transfer ownership to the team once he has received his pay.

That was when Ong heard from the Sibay Shiok team again.

As Cao had apparently blocked him on multiple platforms, Ong had to communicate with him through a Sibay Shiok admin staff.

However, as the matter continued to drag on, an exhausted Ong eventually told Cao that he will forego the pay, and do what he deems fit with the channel.

That was when Ong used the channel to publicise his upcoming livestream on the matter.

The messages were blasted on the afternoon of Feb. 13.

The first announcement, which had no indication of its sender, was ostensibly crafted by Ong as well.

On the same day, Sibay Shiok informed its followers on Facebook that their Telegram channel had been "hacked".

Getting emotional

Following his account of events, Ong opened up the livestream to a Q&A from the viewers.

At one point, while condemning the state of things, Ong got visibly agitated and emotional, until he came close to tearing.

Screenshot via City Boy/Facebook

Screenshot via City Boy/Facebook

He also clarified that he could not go to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) as he had no employment contract, and he was not sure how to go about such things either.

In answering another viewer, Ong revealed that Yeoh had visited him in his hotel room the night before he left Bangkok, expressing how sorry she was that he had become a "punching bag".

Ong said he did not blame Yeoh, as she was stuck between him and Cao.

Cao and Yeoh respond with livestream too

On the same night that Ong went public, Cao and Yeoh responded with a 49-minute livestream of their own.

The duo said they had a "quick announcement" to make for the sake of their company and customers.

Without mentioning Ong explicitly, Cao said it was the first time such a thing has happened to them.

It was important for them to explain the situation, as it affects not just Sibay Shiok or even him and Yeoh, but also the reputation of all the celebrities who founded the company.

Shane Pow and Vincent Ng were some of the actors named previously.

While "anyone is free to say anything they want", Cao said he felt that he had an obligation to make a statement on behalf of the company, and inform the customers of what's happening.

While the team takes its business and customers "very seriously", there are also some people who like to be a "nuisance", the 54-year-old sniped.

Some 12-minutes into the livestream, Cao finally addressed the matter proper, acknowledging that an ex-employee had accused him of withholding his salary.

There have also been accusations that the goods that Sibay Shiok is selling, most notably the feng shui bracelets, are fake.

Cao said due to these accusations, the team has received many refund requests.

After assuring viewers of the authenticity of the products, he challenged those who made the allegation to prove themselves and their expertise.

As for the part where he allegedly owes Ong money, Cao neither confirmed nor deny it, but said the matter has been handed over to their legal team in Singapore, who are working on it "with immediate effect".

Yeoh said they did not want to "take it this far", but was left with no choice but to take legal action.

"It's actually a huge disappointment," she added.

As Yeoh continued to look distraught, Cao put a comforting arm on her shoulders, and said that's how it is in the business world.

Screenshot via 西北Shiok/Facebook

Screenshot via 西北Shiok/Facebook

Cao then addressed the Telegram channel, saying that all the admins, including himself and Yeoh, have been kicked out.

Yeoh then asked who could be the admin answering queries on the platform, after a friend noticed that someone was doing so.

The duo also censured those who were "poisoning" the channel by saying the goods are fake, and advised their followers to leave the channel.

Ong: 'Disappointed' in Yeoh

When Shin Min Daily News reached out to Ong on the morning of Feb. 14, he candidly told the Chinese daily he was "very disappointed" in Yeoh.

"I'm not shocked that Terence did the livestream, because it was within my expectations. But I was taken aback by Dawn's appearance... she was always protective of me in Thailand, and in Singapore too."

On the potential legal repercussions, Ong added:

"I hosted the livestream to bring the matter to a close, but if that [a lawsuit] happens, I have no control over it too... I have yet to receive anything at the moment, and can only wait and see. Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, the matter is over."

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Top image via City Boy and 西北Shiok Facebook pages