In Tarantino’s bloodbath masterpiece “Kill Bill,” the mythical Hattori Hanzo sagely tells the Bride, “Revenge is never a straight line. It’s a forest, and like a forest, it’s easy to lose your way … to get lost … to forget where you came in.”
Truer words about revenge and its effect on the self have yet to be committed to film since, but the average netizen isn’t really into the whole introspection thing, even if they like to think they are. Instead, most netizens are about knee-jerk reactions and swift “justice,” and in the case of one Singaporean shop, revenge has been a dish best served ice cold … on top of a glacier, in a blizzard, with a gleeful extra shove into the waiting, hungry maw of a polar bear at the end for good measure — with all of it proving pretty righteous.
Social media-ers have played the role of judge, jury and anal-raping executioner in the fate of Mobile Air, a mobile retail shop in Sim Lim Square, Singapore. Here’s the run-down of how the shop recently came to earn the ire of the internet:
SMH moment 1 – A Chinese national known only as “Miss Zhou” bought an iPhone 6 for $1,600 from Mobile Air — nevermind right now Miss Zhou’s shocking unawareness of the world of good that Ebay, or a lobotomy, could potentially do her — only to have the store demand another $2,400 for two years’ phone insurance. She rightfully balked and requested a refund, but the store was only willing to refund her $1,000 back for the phone.
Miss Zhou then took her case to the Small Claims Tribunal, who subsequently ordered Mobile Air to pay her back an additional $1,010. When Miss Zhou went back to Mobile Air on Oct. 2 to collect the money, as first reported by The Real Singapore, the store had the $1,010 owed waiting for her … in coins. Oh hell no. The store’s employees then threw the coin-heavy bag on the floor, spilling its contents everywhere. When Miss Zhou went to pick up the coins, the store’s employees tacked on some extra humiliation by peppering her with “nasty remarks.” Oh heeelll noooo.
SMH moment 2 – As if what you just read wasn’t enough, get ready for this one, because this is the coup de grace that really set Mobile Air’s obliteration in motion. A Vietnamese tourist by the name of Pham Van Thoai came into Mobile Air to buy his girlfriend a $950 iPhone 6 (there’s a pattern here — iPhones and Asians just don’t mix) as a birthday present. After forking over his hard-earned moola, the store then asked Pham to pay an additional $1,500 for a warranty — as required by an English-language contract he couldn’t fully comprehend and was coerced into signing — or else he would have to forfeit his phone.
“When they asked me if I wanted one year or two years’ warranty, I assumed that the one-year warranty was complimentary, so I said one year. He didn’t say I have to pay.”
What Pham did next broke the internet’s collective heart. As first reported by Stomp, who received a video of the shameful incident, Pham got down on his knees and begged, his eyes dripping with the most humiliating type of tears — man tears — for a refund.
As Pham told LZ:
“I’m only a factory worker, earning about $200 a month, $950 is a few months’ pay. It’s a large sum for me, I’m really very sad.”
And in perhaps the worst move of all, the store’s staff, who laughed at Pham’s groveling, filmed the incident and shared it with the internet.
The shop offered to partially refund Pham only $600, which was then reduced to a paltry $70 after his girlfriend called the police. Upon review of a complaint Pham subsequently brought against Mobile Air, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) awarded him only $400 of the $950 he had lost.
SMH moment 3: Yet another transgression isn’t really required to justify revenge at this point, but here ya go anyway just to put a cherry on top: Miss Zhou and Pham aren’t alone, as Mobile Air has had 11 complaints filed against them with CASE in the three-month period between June and August alone of this year.
Now that you know why Mobile Air deserves to be nuked off the face of the Earth, let’s get into the gleeful details of the net “justice” that followed.
Upon hearing about the case of Pham yesterday, anonymous troll group SMRT Ltd. was immediately on the trail, setting up a democratic vote on their Facebook page to “commence operations” on #OpsAirKangkang, which basically means “We are going to fuck the shit out of Mobile Air and its owner.”
And fuck the shit out Mobile Air’s owner SMRT Ltd did, as not only did the group reveal the owner to be one unfortunate “Jover Chew” (he’s one misspelling away from being mistaken for a top-selling dog toy at Petsmart), they also divulged his address, phone number and his wife’s name and business. And then they posted his “sexayyy” pictures for all the rice queens to enjoy:
The heat on Jover and Winnie Chew has been overwhelming, and so Winnie had to take to Facebook to defend her own business practices at her store, J2 Mobile:
The sleuthing group felt like Jover might be hungry after all the harassment, so they then ordered him pizza, although you know they didn’t really care about treating his appetite since they ordered him Pizza Hut:
The group has also reveled in how the tables have turned on Chew, as his wife and mother-in-law are now at their mercy: “A couple of days ago, a Vietnamese guy was begging Jover Chew for mercy. Today, Jover Chew’s wife and mother-in-law is begging us for mercy.” Brrr, it’s cold in here.
SMRT is also happy with the fact that they’ve forced Chew to forward his calls away and his store to shut down, at least temporarily:
In the group’s latest post, SMRT claims to have found evidence of Chew engaging in illegal betting and loansharking, while also enlisting another anonymous group to fuck the shit out of Chew. Has Chew’s suffering only begun?
There’s a silver lining to all of the lash and backlash and back-backlash if you’re a peacenik, however: a small tech startup worker by the name of Gabriel Kang started an Indiegogo campaign for the wronged Pham, calling on his fellow Singaporeans to help contribute to buying the Vietnamese man a new iPhone 6. On the crowdfunding page, Kang writes:
“This is NOT ‘ok’, This is NOT right. We are *NOT* a nation of thieves and cheats.”
As of this writing, the campaign has raised nearly $10,000 from over 1,300 funders, and Kang has added an update: “Thank you for all the support and well wishes. We have raised more than the required amount. With the extra money I would like to give Mr Pham and his girlfriend an all expenses paid holiday back to Singapore to enjoy the dream holiday that was stolen from them.”
While Pham has expressed gratitude for the offer, he’s also refused the money, telling The New Paper, “I just want to put everything behind me as quickly as possible.”
I say, let’s put the $10,000 raised toward more productive things, like hiring an angry mob to tar and feather Jover Chew before burying him up to his neck in dirt and throwing rocks at his head. Yeah, that’d be cool (casually chews on a Twizzler). I’ll have updates for you on this saga as it develops.