oBike Finally Breaks Silence, But It’s a ‘Got Say Machiam No Say’

Image: Antonello Marangi /

By now, you should be familiar with the bikes that are scattered all over Singapore. Suffice to say, it’s as messy as a certain football player who’s out of the World Cup competition now.

And just like soccer player Messy, a bicycle-sharing company is also out of the bike-sharing competition now, and it’s none other than oBike, the company that everyone’s talking about.

Whether it’s just a coffeeshop chat-chit, a serious discussion or simply complaints about the loss of their deposit, everyone’s just waiting to see what oBike has to say.

If they say anything, that is.

After all, the story’s usually the same: company comes, company sells a lot of things, then company announces closure – and life goes on, because life’s like that.

But well, oBike isn’t taking that route. At least, not yet.

(After all they still have bikes scattered all over Singapore to remind us of them and the authorities are coming in to them fast and furious, but anyways)

 oBike has finally responded

Just an hour ago today (1 July 2018), at around 4:00 p.m., oBike released another statement on their Facebook Page – almost after six days of silence.

If you can’t read it (you most likely can’t because people are all using phones to access contents online yet oBike is releasing it like a press release in paper form – did they fax it to mainstream media as well?), here’s what they’ve written:

Statement by oBike Singapore

We understand that the recent decision to cease operations in Singapore has caused problems and raised concerns to many parties and we would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to all affected parties. We have been working hard to solve these problems and would like to present the processes currently in place.

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oBike is working with LTA with an absolute focus on the July 4 deadline to collect all remaining idle oBikes in Singapore and are in the process of retrieving all of them. We will have further discussions with LTA if we are unable to collect the bicycles in the given time frame.

Regarding user data, oBike will be working closely with PDPC to properly engage in the next course of action. oBike fully commits to the privacy of the data and assures users that it will not be sold or used for any other purpose other than for the oBike service.

oBike is also working closely with the relevant parties on a solution to refund the user deposits. The entire refund process will be announced once these details are finalised.

We would like to apologize once again for the inconvenience cause to all parties. oBike is fully committed to solve these issues to ensure proper closure for our stakeholders in Singapore.

Of course, first thing first: it most likely isn’t written by a PR firm. After all, it allegedly did not pay their PR agency and the service is being “put on hold due to payment issues” (what a good PR reply, no?).

And secondly, the same old grammar issue. I ain’t a grammar nazi but come on lah: it’s going to be a statement read by many and picked up by almost all mainstream media. Why use “apologise” and then “apologize”? Stay consistent, my dear friend. And “apologize once again for the inconvenience cause”?

I’m pretty sure I’m not nitpicking, but moving on.

Got say like no say like that

Using my trusty scalpel to decipher the entire message, here’s my conclusion: got say like no say.

However, it seems clear that oBike is reading what’s being published online: after all, while everyone was complaining about refunds, this Straits Times premium article about the possibility of oBike (or a third party) selling personal data collected from users surfaced, leading to more  public outrage from users.

oBike, despite having its office completely close and vacant, addressed this in their statement. However, here’s the thing: when oBike is liquidated (close down), these personal data would no longer be theirs: they’ll be “sold” or given, along with other assets.

To put it simply: oBike might own ten computers. Since they’re liquidated, these items would be seized by a liquidator that will sell the computers (turn them into cash) and pay the creditors. If oBike has no creditors, then the shareholder would take the cash.

Now, just imagine those personal data (which obviously have monetary value) as “computers”.

So yeah.

Now, remember: oBike says they won’t be sold. But hey, do they still own it? #justsaying

The statement isn’t helping

At least that’s what it seems like to me. After all, there’s no new info – just an apology.

However, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due: at least they replied. Time to Like their Facebook Page because it might get more exciting.

Or it’ll be forgotten soon.

Just like any other business, or a certain photographer. Or a certain YouTuber. Or whatever.

Now you know what Singaporeans are talking about today; do check back tomorrow for another piece of news of the day!

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