Friday, April 3, 2009

Facebook face-off

Source: Asiaone

IT SOUNDED harmless enough - a drink with a group of new friends.

But soon after, the gathering turned sour, and Mr Ong Jian Zhao, 21, found himself left alone at a bar, with a $213 bill to settle on behalf of people he hardly knew.
Mr Ong, a civil servant, got to know Miss Chloe Yoong, 21 - one of the members of the group - through social networking site Facebook last month.
He said: 'I was randomly browsing through profiles and I decided to send her a message.' After several messages over the course of a few days, they exchanged handphone numbers.

He then asked her out several times, but each time, she declined saying she was busy.
But on the evening on 28 Feb, Mr Ong received an SMS from her inviting him for a drink at Raffles Hotel's Long Bar with her, her boyfriend and three other friends.
Said Mr Ong: 'I was reluctant at first, but she told me to join them anyway and not to be a wet blanket.'

He recalled that when he arrived, there were already several drinks on the table - two cocktails, a glass of bourbon and a bottle of red wine.
He then chatted with the group for a while.

But after about 20 minutes, Miss Yoong and one friend left, claiming they were going to the toilet.Shortly after, while Mr Ong was away taking a phone call, two others left.

When he returned to the table, only Miss Yoong's boyfriend remained. But he, too, left immediately, saying he had to take a call. Mr Ong claimed he waited for about 30 minutes for the group to return but nobody showed up. When he SMSed Miss Yoong, she claimed to have left with a friend who was not feeling well.

He then paid the $213 bill for the drinks and left.

He had believed the evening was planned by the group of friends to get him into paying for the drinks. He said he had repeatedly tried to ask Miss Yoong for his money back after the session but she had been uncontactable. He even contacted the National Institute of Education, where Miss Yoong is studying, hoping to get hold of her.

However, he was told to settle the matter on his own. When contacted, both Miss Yoong and her boyfriend, Mr Alex Lim, 25, confirmed the incident. Mr Lim said they had decided to leave Mr Ong to settle the bill because he had implied that he wanted to pay for the drinks.

He said: 'When he came over, he kept bragging about how well he was doing and how well-off he was.

'It is ridiculous that he is asking us for the money back.'

Miss Yoong added that in their exchanges on Facebook, Mr Ong said he had planned to treat her to a drinking or clubbing session. Mr Ong did not dispute this, but said he had only planned to take Miss Yoong out, but not her friends. Said Miss Yoong: 'When he first sent me a message, he said he didn't have a stable relationship with his girlfriend.

'He asked me out to go clubbing or for drinks, and said he wanted to treat me.'
She added that she began to get annoyed by Mr Ong's persistent requests and decided to 'get him off her back' once and for all. 'It happened that my boyfriend was around (on the night of the incident) so we asked him to join us.'Immediately after he paid the bill, Mr Ong reported the incident to the police but was advised to settle the matter privately with her.

However, he claimed he has been unable to contact her since.

He said calls and SMSes to her handphone went unanswered, and she later deleted him from her contact list on Facebook as well.

What he hopes for is an apology and his money back. When asked if they would accede to Mr Ong's request, Mr Lim said: 'Are you kidding?'
He added: 'It would be a different matter if he had been polite and nice.

'But after all that bragging, it was really difficult to be cordial to him.'

So what do you think?

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