#EndTheSilence: Speaking Up About NOC Sylvia’s Alleged Crimes

Introduction

Hi readers, we are a group of current and ex-employees from Night Owl Cinematics (NOC). Amidst all the allegations against Sylvia Chan from @sgcickenrice and the interview from MS News, we have decided to shed light on our workplace encounters over the years with Sylvia Chan.

We would like to put out a disclaimer that we have exhausted all means of trying to get our voices heard in NOC by talking to key members of the management team as appointed by Sylvia – such as Sylvia herself, the accountant, her lawyers (neither do we understand why are they involving themselves with us directly but we tried too), and more but to no avail.

Zoom meeting video:

Evidently from the Zoom meeting, Ryan and his team gave their all to fight for the improvement of employee welfare, including but not limited to unreasonably large amounts of workload and the inhumanely long working hours stretching till 5am or later for years. However, it all seemed to be falling on deaf ears, with Sylvia looking disinterested and using her phone or reacting unconstructively. Unfortunately, this has just been one of many occurrences where our voices have been shut down and there has been no conclusions nor improvements.

The employees (both past and present) have put their blood, sweat, and tears into NOC and it is not our intention to bring it down. If anything, all we do want is for Sylvia to be accountable for her misdeeds and mistreatment. Disappointed with the statements she released, and knowing even then she was unmoved, this is our last resort. We are only a few of Sylvia’s victims, and we feel that if we still choose to keep silent, she will continue getting her way, possibly worse, and there will be even more casualties.

 

We trust that the digital media landscape in Asia can be so much more, and we hope to share our ordeals for anyone willing to listen. With that said, here are the examples and situations that the employees (both past and present) have experienced within NOC with Sylvia Chan.

Alleged Failed Attempt to Remedy HR Issues

Due to the grievances of the company’s employees, the unofficial HR, Xiao Wen, set up an anonymous survey for staff members to voice out feedback towards the management. Staff members were assured that their names would be unrecorded, so as to ensure no prejudice or consequences would occur. Staff members could also choose for themselves who to provide feedback on.

Some of the questions asked:

  1. 1) What does your supervisor need to do to improve his/ her performance?
  2. 2) What actions can your employer take/ stop doing in order to build a better workplace?
  3. 3) How professionally does your supervisor behave?
  4. 4) How likely is it that you would recommend your supervisor to a colleague?

Employees have noted that even after this survey was done, there were no improvements in the welfare of the company, and no follow-up actions were conducted. Sylvia’s alleged feedback on this HR investigation was that she was not happy with the results of this survey as she found it to be biased.

Alleged Cheating On Ryan While He Was In Taiwan

Image in courtesy of someone who was close to Sylvia

Alleged jokes about sexual harassment

When news broke out on Deekosh’s allegations, NOC’s management conducted a formal investigation to ensure their staff was in no way facing any sexual harassment issues. In the video below, Sylvia can be seen briefing the staff on the severity of the situation. She can be quoted saying:

“Make sure you’re not joking, I’m not fucking joking now ah.”

“You don’t fucking joke when you’re doing this survey with the staff ah”

“Remember not to fucking laugh (ah), when you are going through this document”

The full brief with the staff can be heard here:

However, when it was time for her to carry out the investigations with 3-4 other talents in the company, she could be heard laughing and behaving jokingly when asking talents about whether they have experienced cases of sexual harassment during their time in NOC.

Alleged treatment towards Employees

Image in courtesy of employee
 

Based on the quality of the brief, Sylvia assumed this producer had copy + paste from a client brief and questioned her on it, citing reasons on her behalf such as “u forgot?” “U lazy?” “Your English not good?” The producer explained that she had actually written the brief herself based on her meeting discussion. There was never the need to exaggerate that she had repeated herself “168264” times. This was also the producer who got called out for how she looked (“Don’t give me that face”), which really was not something she could do anything about.

Image in courtesy of employee

Employees felt humiliated, underappreciated and depressed at the treatment they experienced with Sylvia. They began to question themselves and their self-worth.

Alleged treatment towards Influencers

Image in courtesy of employee

 

Out of courtesy, a staff had wanted to reach out privately to P*****pls, an influencer, for her costume sizing instead of asking her to release her measurements on a group chat. Despite the explanation, Sylvia insisted for the questions to be in a group chat and replied that “she’s clearly fat.”

Image in courtesy of employee

The same staff was supposed to dress the above mentioned influencer up as a character but the dress was too small. Thus, Sylvia supposedly made the “Jesus fucking rhinoceros” comment. The garbage bag was referring to a dress that looked similar to a garbage bag.

Alleged unprofessional handling of staff matters

There was one instance where the main channel team was working up to 11 videos per week. Out of the blue, Sylvia supposedly told Ryan that “someone within the team” had been complaining to her about his incompetencies. However, she purportedly never wanted to tell Ryan who that “someone” was. Her alleged reply was “It’s ok. I know who can already.”

As part of a scramble to “prove” the whistleblower was not within the 5-man team, the team members issued screenshots from their phones out of their own will to reassure each other.

To gain clarity of the situation, it was noted that Ryan further questioned Sylvia on who that whistleblower was. Her supposed reply was that she would tell him who it was during the meeting.

During the meeting, Ryan then confronted Sylvia on the identity of the whistleblower. According to the team members, there had always been an open culture within the team where if any team member was unhappy, they would speak up and Ryan would always address their concerns. Hence, it did not make sense for any team member to complain to Sylvia. When confronted, Sylvia supposedly could not answer.

Ryan then further confronted Sylvia on her intentions for making such claims towards the team. His reasoning was that it could have caused an internal witch hunt and a rift. Additionally, it could give rise to suspicion amongst the team members and lower their morale which is already affected by their stressful workload.

The zoom meeting mentioned above can be seen here:

Alleged misappropriation of funds

From the article posted by MS News, there were allegations of Sylvia withholding payment or changing contractual terms. However, what was not mentioned is the alleged misappropriation of company funds. According to section 405 of the Penal Code, criminal breach of trust is committed when a person is entrusted with property or is given control over property, dishonestly.

According to ACRA statements, Sylvia is currently not a director at NOC but owns 51% of the company. Here are some screenshots and statements on how Sylvia was seen:

#1 Allegedly lying to her Co-founder, Ryan Tan

Image in courtesy of NOC’s finance staff 

Both Ryan and Sylvia had to return money to the company after the divorce. Sylvia gave instructions to deduct the money Ryan owed from his bank account with GIRO without his consent.

Image in courtesy of NOC’s finance staff 

Sylvia also gave instructions for Ryan to be informed that her debt to the company was cleared, even though that was not true.

How NOC’s billing works:

Each employee’s salary will be released via NOC PTE LTD bank account into the receivers’ respective bank accounts. In the image below, the spreadsheet shows the amount owed to Ryan. He has not been drawing a salary since 2017, because instead of sending his pay to Ryan’s WEALTH account, it was sent to the SOLE PROPRIETOR account. The accountant tried to retrieve his pay for him, to which Sylvia informed her that his pay was meant to be for alleged “joint expenses” and therefore cannot be withdrawn.

Image in courtesy of NOC’s finance staff 
Image in courtesy of NOC’s finance staff 

From Feb 2017 – May 2019, Ryan’s salary was sent to the Sole Proprietor account instead of his own Wealth account. Ryan only started receiving his pay from the Sole Proprietor account in May 2019, and never managed to retrieve the pay that was owed to him the past three-four years.

#2 Allegedly using NOC’s money for personal gains

Sylvia’s home rental was paid for by the company. Sylvia had allegedly agreed earlier on with Ryan that she would return the rental expenses to the company. However, she has yet to do so and the finance staff was scolded after bringing up the issue multiple times and was told not to bring up the matter again. Here is a screenshot detailing the amounts owed by Sylvia to NOC that have not to be paid. “Who Owes Who- Sylvia”.

Amounts owed by Sylvia to NOC
 

Before Sylvia moved into her new Niven shophouse-office, she rented a place to stay while the renovation was ongoing. From the screenshot, it can be seen that Sylvia took $6,600 from NOC’s OCBC account to finance the rental.

Tenancy agreement paid by NOC to the Landlord

In total, Sylvia purportedly owes $79,133.51 to NOC in a span of three months which has yet to be returned to the company funds.

The current shophouse office is also being used as a residence for Sylvia and her brother Sichen. Their rooms can be seen in the NOC house tour of the renovated shophouse. According the screenshot, the rental for the shophouse office is also being paid by NOC’s OCBC account and there has yet to be reimbursement on her side.

#3 Allegedly using NOC to fund her brother’s salary so he can get PR status

It is alleged that Sylvia has been using NOC’s money to pay her brother Sikeen’s salary from May 2021 so he could obtain Permanent Residency (PR). According to ICA, a foreigner may be eligible to apply for PR if he/she is a holder of an Employment Pass or S Pass.

Conversation between Sylvia and an employee discussing having Sikeen on the payroll so he can apply for PR, in courtesy of finance staff

From the screenshot above, Sylvia supposedly requested for NOC finance staff to issue Sikeen a monthly salary as he had obtained an S-Pass under NOC. She also allegedly asked her finance staff to backdate Sikeen’s salary to May in order to facilitate his PR application.

From Sikeen’s payslips (unable to reveal), his monthly salary of $4,500 is still ongoing till today.

Sikeen’s pay slip financed by NOC amounting to $22,500 whilst not doing work for NOC

Video lead Virus confirms that Sikeen is not doing work for NOC.

It is unclear who eventually received the money each month, as staff said Sikeen was not used in the company operations. This is confirmed by Video Lead Virus.

#4A Allegedly using NOC’s resources for personal ventures

Porky-themed face masks

A while back, Sylvia launched a side-venture of “Porky-themed” face masks. It is alleged that she had used company resources such as NOC’s employees to pack the face masks instead of conducting NOC related work. As seen from the screenshot below, Sylvia openly claims the venture as hers instead of part of NOC business.

Image in courtesy of NOC’s finance staff 

Sylvia then pointed out that the payment made to the supplier for “Porky-themed” face masks was from her personal Paypal account, thus citing the venture as hers. However, from the understanding of NOC’s finance staff, NOC’s ad-sense revenue has been credited directly to Sylvia’s personal Paypal account instead.. Therefore, a portion of the funds in Sylvia’s personal Paypal account, from which Sylvia used to pay the supplier, belongs to NOC.

#4B Allegedly using NOC’s resources for personal ventures
NOC Funds to start her own line of chilli

In July 2020, it was alleged that Sylvia contacted Edmond Ng privately with intentions to start her own brand of chilli sauces, yet fronted and endorsed by NOC’s Food King brand.

Below is the series of events with regards to the partnership, and further evidence that she allegedly had plans involving the use of company’s funds for her own personal ventures.

Screenshots are all conversations between her and Edmond.

Ultimately, the plan fell through and Edmond was not at all compensated for his time. Furthermore, whilst planning to launch the Chilli, Sylvia purportedly had to work around getting a courier company to distribute and deliver the sauces. In order to procure it, she allegedly got Singapore’s top courier and logistics company to help be the courier for this venture in exchange for sex from one of NOC’s talents.

Allegedly Bartering Sex for Services

Continuing from the abovementioned Chilli venture, in order for there to be delivery services, Sylvia allegedly made arrangements with the founder of one of Singapore’s top courier and logistics company (let’s call him Courier C) to barter sex with some NOC talents for its help with delivering the Chillis for free. According to section 146 of the Women’s Charter, any person who knowingly lives wholly or in part on the earnings of the prostitution of another person (being a woman or girl) shall be guilty of an offence.

Choosing to remain anonymous, the talent alleges that Sylvia had created a group chat involving Sylvia, herself (Talent A) and another talent (that Courier C was originally interested in) to plan for a night of drinking. It was purportedly planned during a period of time where Talent A was at a vulnerable point in her life and mentioned that Sylvia was continually convincing them to go out and have a night of “fun”.  During the night, Talent A had no idea that there was an underlying agenda to the meeting. Eventually after a few drinks, Talent A was intoxicated and performed sexual intercourse with the founder of the courier company.

Talent A then found out from a mutual friend that Sylvia allegedly arranged for the whole session with the intention of getting either of the talents to have sex with Courier C for a logistics sponsorship. After that night, Sylvia allegedly mentioned to said mutual friend that she managed to successfully procure whatever logistics she required.

Our final thoughts

Although Sylvia has issued an apology statement on her Instagram page, the only consequence that she meted out was for herself to be removed from the talent roster. However, Sylvia is still the CEO of NOC and the incidents mentioned above are only from the people who have spoken up, with many more untold stories behind the scenes.

Through the years, we understand that Sylvia is no longer morally competent to carry NOC to greater heights with the welfare of its people in her mind. If NOC chooses to carry on developing within the Singapore digital media landscape, a more appropriate CEO will be a huge contribution factor.

We hope that existing employees and talents making attempts to leave NOC can be allowed to do so without any agreement/contractual binding consequences or to be silenced, and for charges against Ryan and employees to be dropped (if any).

Thank you for listening to our side of the story.

Filled with hope,

A group of current and ex-employees of NOC