“You can’t can’t f*****g catch Pokemon in this f*****g piece of “s**t country.”
That was the Facebook post that lost major tech businessman Sonny Truyen his job as Vice President of Digital Marketing at Singapore’s 99.co.
— THAT'S (@ThatsOnline) July 11, 2016
As pretty much anyone who has any contact with the outside world is aware, Pokemon GO was released less than a week ago and has already become a global sensation. Its ability to combine developer Niantic’s astonishingly futuristic augmented reality technology with a hugely recognizable franchise (Pokemon) in a game that is both addictive and endlessly interactive is making almost everyone who gets their hands on a smart phone with the free app installed to lose their minds. In fact, Pokemon GO‘s huge success, which many experts agree heralds the future of mobile gaming, has already caused Nintendo’s stock to rise nearly 25 percent.
The only problem, as far as many Pokemon fans around the world are concerned, is that Pokemon GO has not yet been released in their countries. Both the Apple and Android app stores carry Pokemon GO only in their Australia, New Zealand, and United States versions. Although there are ways for Pokemon fans even outside those countries to install and play Pokemon GO, they are very technical and involve users toggling their phone settings and downloading a file from the internet before transferring it to and unpacking it on the phone.
— Pokemon Go Memes (@PokemonGoMemess) July 12, 2016
This was apparently too much for Sonny Truyen, who showed in a Sunday Facebook post that he was a little steamed about the fact that Pokemon GO had not yet come to Singapore. Oh yeah, and his comments were also ridiculously racist.
Below is a transcript of the exchange the overzealous Pokemon GO fan, who is an Australian expat, had with proud Singaporean Adelene Kong.
Sonny Truyen: “You cant f*****g catch Pokemon in this f*****g piece of s**t country.”
Adelene Kong: “Why would you call Singapore a ‘f*****g s**t country?’ Are you living in Singapore?”
ST: “Cos it’s full of stupid like you.. I stated why at the start of the sentence.”
AK: “Get out of our country.”
ST: “Why? So the average IQ can fall and you can feel adequate?”
AK: “Where are you from again? You are here because your own country failed you? Please leave we don’t need rude people here.”
ST: “I’m Australian, here because of the lack of local talent.. You’ve done a great job of supporting my EP, locals can’t even read.. Just good at mouthing off.. Want a recommendation for a helper agency?”
AK: “Originally from Australia? All the Australians I’ve met would not bash another country like that. Especially since you have been moving from country to country. No respect. My buddies here have reported you for sowing discord in this country. Be careful. I’m sure your employer would like to know what you think of other Singaporean employees.”
— Daily Mail Australia (@DailyMailAU) July 12, 2016
Adelene was not lying; she did indeed report Truyen’s Pokemon GO-inspired rant, as did other Singaporeans who were outraged by the unpleasant outburst.
99.co CEO Darius Cheung quickly took notice of the outcry, which was not reflecting well on his company, and fired Truyen right away. He accompanied the dismissal order with a two part apology posted on the company’s blog for 99.co’s employee going so ballistic over something like Pokemon GO.
“1) Sonny, an SEO specialist, started consulting with us last monday, he has been a consultant with us for about a week when this incident happened
2) We are a proud Singaporean company and we do not condone such language or behaviour, we have terminated his engagement with us immediately, as soon as the incident came to our attention”
Although Truyen and Adelene’s back-and-forth has since been deleted from Facebook, the impact it made and will continue to have on his career can never be undone.
Possibly a bit of an overreaction on Sonny’s part, but such are the extremes to which people will drive themselves to for the sake of Pokemon GO.
[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]