It’s July 2022, which means we’re now living with COVID-19 instead of fighting it.
This is now the new normal.
And to actor Terence Cao, the new normal means he might no longer be able to call himself an actor anymore; instead, it should be livestreamer Terence Cao.
Did I sense a tear somewhere?
Terence Cao Claims He Has to Do Livestreaming As No One Is Hiring Him for Acting Jobs
If people are now calling you uncle or auntie, you definitely know Terence Cao, and like him or hate him as a person, you can’t deny that he’s one of the best pioneer actors in Singapore.
But you might not see him in television soon.
The 54-year-old who looks 34 has pivoted to other businesses since COVID-19 hit.
Last year, he started an online eatery selling dry mee siam (no, seriously, it’s not a typo). Called Sibay Shiok, his business partners are fellow celebrities Vincent Ng, Shane Pow and Dawn Yeoh.
Since then, the online eatery has expanded to sell other products like fresh chicken, ready-to-eat meals and even…eggs.
There’s even a sister brand called Sibay Fit that sells beauty products.
Suffice to say, it appears to be doing well.
And of course, they’re also selling products on Facebook live, with the celebrities hosting the livestreams themselves.
Recently, Terence Cao managed to sell a $12,500 Rolex watch in…16 seconds.
According to an interview with Shin Min, that’s no uncommon; they’ve also sold luxury bags within a minute.
So when the Chinese daily asked if he consider himself a livestreamer first or an actor first, he confessed something: he said that he hadn’t been hired for acting jobs, so he had to do live-streaming for a living.
Well, at least that’s better than complaining #justsaying
Fellow Actor Called Terence Cao Out
Earlier this year, actor Xavier Ong, who used to livestream on Sibay Shiok, went live on Facebook to explain the circumstances that surrounded his departure from the company.
In a Facebook livestream, Xavier said that he had joined the Sibay Shiok around August of last year, with the expectation that he was just going to be a livestreamer for the company.
As he continued to work in Sibay Shiok, however, his workload started to become heavier.
The 27-year-old found himself having to manage the backend administrative work like managing Sibay Shiok’s Telegram account, supporting other celebrities’ livestreams, and keeping track of the company’s daily profit.
While Xavier never signed up for these responsibilities, he claimed that “he was completely fine with that” and even saw these difficulties as learning opportunities for himself.
He kept an optimistic attitude, but things gradually turned for the worse as the months wore on.
“As expectations increased, words got harsher. Whenever things don’t go right, I start getting reprimanded and scolded even though it was not my fault.”
In light of Xavier’s broadening job scope, it’s quite apparent that the administrative gears of Sibay Shiok was becoming increasingly dependent on him.
This is further supported by the fact that Xavier would be blamed for miscommunications even when he wasn’t around, and he was often being held accountable for others.
“I expected the team I was working with to be able handle and manage a clearer communication and keep work effective regardless of my presence,” the actor said, reading off the message he sent to Terence shortly before his departure.
However, the increasing workload wasn’t the main reason why Xavier chose to leave Sibay Shiok on 6 Jan.
Rather, it was the alleged verbal abuse that Terence Cao would frequently hurl at him on and off camera for the mistakes, regardless of whether he was to blame or not.
Xavier would be repeatedly called “idiot” and “useless”; insults that he had never expected would be directed at himself, especially since he was doing more than what he was supposed to be doing.
And the straw that broke the camel’s back was a message that came from Terence: “I’m paying you, just shut up and work.”
The $13,000 Issue
Xavier Ong also revealed in the Facebook livestream that he hadn’t been paid the five-digit figure salary he had been promised for all of his work—which he later disclosed was $13,000—and his attempts to obtain what was owed to him was met with rebuffs.
It’s still unknown whether the money has been paid back—or even if that’s true.
Terence Cao said in response that “this allegation doesn’t only tarnish my reputation, but each and every one of us at Sibay Shiok,” and would let his legal team handle the allegations as he would rather let the experts do the arguing.
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