Foodpanda prank orders: “Victims of harassment speak up”
Singapore – A concerned citizen spoke about “physical, mental and digital” harassment inflicted on their family as a result of the recent Foodpanda prank.
In response to an Afzai Nizan’s Facebook post Facebook on Saturday (March 6th) an affected person who wants to be called “J” contacted. agile Independent Singapore to shed some light on the Foodpanda deletion case that happened that day.
My husband and I are currently the victims of harassment – physical, psychological and digital.
– Advertising 1-
Before diving into the details, it is only right to share a little bit about our background in order to lose some context about the situation.
My husband and I both work in healthcare and the past year has been challenging. I would see my husband and his colleagues working tirelessly with various agencies outside of work to ensure that key workers and frontliners are well equipped and protected in the fight against COVID-19.
One example of this is ensuring adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), even when it was scarce globally, so that frontliners don’t have to resort to garbage bags to wear as smocks, as some of our colleagues in some other countries (including developed countries) did unfortunately to endure, with some eventually succumbing to the disease itself.
As for me, it was only a few months since I returned to work as a public health doctor after my maternity leave that the world learned of a strange new disease emerging from Wuhan. My toddler was less than a year old when I had my very first encounter with a COVID-19 patient.
I remember returning home from work every day to take a head-to-toe shower before interacting with my child (I still do) even if they don’t understand why they need to be prevented to hug me as soon as it sees me.
We had hired a housekeeper to help us look after our young child and she was definitely a great help, especially in times of pandemic.
We treated her as part of our family – she ate what we ate and accompanied us on all family outings. On special occasions (birthday, Christmas, Chinese New Year) we gave her monetary gifts and agreed to pay her salary in advance if her grandfather was hospitalized.
We even gave her a year-end bonus and a raise, even if it wasn’t part of her employment contract. We tried to be as good as possible towards her, just as we had hoped to be treated as employees ourselves.
As mentioned earlier, the purpose of what has been written above is to provide context. My husband and I don’t seek credit for what we do.
On the other hand, we felt it was a privilege to be able to do this special “national service” for a country that has given us so much.
We are grateful that we still have jobs and money to bring food to the table when so many others have lost theirs. First, for any keyboardist who thinks it is a woman’s job to play the dutiful wife at home and be a full-time housewife instead of hiring a housekeeper, this is not the Stone Age, first.
Second, even if you insist on your conservative thinking, more than half of the health workforce is women – it would mean an instant breakdown of the system if all of these women joined your beliefs and quit their jobs.
Going back to history, you can perhaps imagine our shock and surprise when we learned on a Friday night that our housekeeper allegedly borrowed money from several illegal moneylenders after falling victim to scammers and losing a significant portion of her savings .
She was afraid of the consequences, so she got involved in several loans to repay previous loans so that we, her employers, would never have to find out. We found out, however, when one of the moneylenders called my husband directly and urged him to pay our helper her salary (even if it was not yet her payday) so that she could repay him what was owed him.
That night we brought our helper with us to report to the police. And so began our nightmare.
On Saturday we received several calls and text messages from several local and international numbers urging us to pay our “debts” even if we did not borrow the money – our helper was forced to give our names and phone numbers when she did the first time the loan was applied for.
Despite the rejection and blocking of the phone numbers, we still received a never-ending stream of “No Caller ID” calls and more messages from new phone numbers threatening our security, so we had to completely turn off our cell phones for a while, in a moment of silence .
Later that same day, a Food Panda delivery driver appeared on our doorstep with an order for food addressed to us (our helper had also submitted photos of her work permit with the name and address of the employer on it when she applied for the credit).
This particular order was placed using a Malaysian cell phone number with instructions for “Cash on Delivery”. We had to kindly explain to the poor rider that this was perhaps a joke and that the understanding rider left. We called the police who then advised us to contact Food Panda to block all future orders to our address.
Unfortunately, there was no unique hotline number listed on the Food Panda website and there was only an AI platform to receive feedback. Soon several other Food Panda delivery drivers arrived with the same order details and none of the drivers could contact Food Panda to block further pending orders from us.
We notified the police of this latest twist and they reacted quickly. We later received several text messages from various new phone numbers mocking us for “enjoying the food.”
We cooperated with the police in their investigation and had hoped that if we stood firm and did not give in to the molester’s demands, the harassment would eventually subside.
Our aide may not have been right in her action to borrow money from these illegal moneylenders (who may also be in cahoots with the scammers to whom she was primarily a victim), but indulging in her demands will only show them that we are intimidated (we are not afraid if we are in the truth) and will only condone the illegal activities of these molesters who then exploit other vulnerable victims.
The next day (Sunday), various articles and posts about the incident on Saturday appeared on various social media platforms, complete with our house number and address and even with identification photos.
On Monday we also received new messages from new numbers who provided us with the links to some of these articles as we thought this would further intimidate us in this public humiliation. We finally got to the root of the articles – it was a Facebook post that was particularly inflammatory.
For someone who is supposed to be a bystander, how can you just jump to conclusions by spotting some food deliverers and cops, and then post a comment that includes “O $ P $”?
We understand how easy and tempting it is to hide behind a screen and type and post to your heart’s content, but every act has its consequences. To the person who posted the original post and the various media outlets who joined in to read the story, your actions just keep adding to the harassment with potential security threats to us, our families, and maybe even our colleagues and patients upright.
All of us and the food deliverers are the real victims of this unfortunate incident. The only party to benefit from the whole incident is the original molester. We are grateful to God that He has protected us up to now.
It is never too late for the illegal moneylenders to stop and turn back. Why would you even bother molesting a couple who have never borrowed money from you and would never give in to your demands? You should be grateful I wasn’t at work when all of your harassment calls and texts came in. What if I was busy saving a life while you were busy molesting me? What if the life that could have been saved is your own family or a loved one?
I thank my husband and our families for being my support in these difficult times. Mom is sorry for my little son if she had to spend less time with you in the last few days, as she and Dad are trying to get us out of a particularly delicate situation. This world can be a scary place at times, and things are never always bright. Even roses have thorns.
Even so, we hope that you will not lose faith in humanity and grow into the man God has called you to be – a selfless and courageous son of Singapore who puts God and others before himself while courageously tackling any obstacle that can come his way. Mom and Dad will always love you and will do our best to protect you.
Follow us on social media
Send your shovels to [email protected]