No Pokémon, no job

It is unlikely that Sonny Truyen will get to fly home on one of these Pokémon planes. Source: Flickr

An Australian expat has lost his job with a Singapore property-development company after posting a foul-mouthed rant on social media complaining that Pokémon GO was unavailable in the city-state.

Sonny Truyen from Melbourne, a vice president of digital marketing at 99.co, was apparently furious that he could not play the Nintendo game, which was available in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the US.

Pokémon Go encourages players to use their phones’ GPS and back cameras to catch virtual Pokémon in the real world.

“You can’t f*****g catch Pokémon in this piece of f*****g s*** country,” he posed on Facebook, using language normally reserved for Britons discussing the Brexit crisis.

He also posted that the tiny republic was full of “stupid people”.

Pokémon is often associated with course language but it normally comes from the mouths of exasperated parents.

A heated exchange developed with a Singaporean woman, who said Truyen should leave because “we don’t need rude people here”. Truyen wrote that “the average IQ” in Singapore would fall if he left and that “locals can’t even read”. Unfortunately he was wrong and many residents contacted his employer.

Screenshots of the exchange went also viral via Singaporean forum Hardwarezone, leading the firm to dismiss Truyen.

Darius Cheung, 99.co’s CEO, apologised and said Truyen had only been with the company for a week.

“Sonny, an SEO [search-engine optimisation] specialist, has only started consulting for us for a week before the incident happened,” Cheung announced on the firm’s website.

“We are a proud Singaporean company and do not condone such language or behaviour, hence we have since terminated his engagement once the incident came to light. I apologise on behalf of 99.co, we pride ourselves to be a principled company that celebrates values like diversity and equality.

“We take responsibility for the public behaviour of any employee or consultant affiliated with us as a reflection of the company.”

Truyen reportedly told Mashable it was a “very big error in judgement to negatively label an entire country over Pokémon. It was very wrong of me to rage like that,” he added. “It was disappointing the lengths Singaporeans went at to attack me and deny any chance of making amends for my actions.”

The case is not unprecedented. In 2014, a British banker called Anton Casey posted a YouTube video complaining about the “stench” of the city-state’s public transport system, which he said was crowded with “poor people”.

Casey was sacked and forced out of Singapore.

Australian executive Amy Cheong left in 2012 after posting racist comments on Facebook after she was kept awake by a wedding party near her home.