Singaporeans are up in arms over a foreign scholar's derogatory comment that "there are more dogs than humans in Singapore".
The Ministry of Education (MOE) scholar in question, Sun Xu from China, was referring to his unpleasant experience with Singaporeans as he brushed against them.
A rough translation of his Chinese blog post read: "It's so annoying to have gangster Singapore uncles stare at you when you bump into them. There are more dogs than humans here in Singapore."
His comment has outraged Singaporeans, who questioned MOE policies. Some have even called for Sun's scholarship to be revoked.
Singaporeans like Nanyang Technological University student Choy Chan Yuan feel that Sun's comment was "unjustified, rude and ignorant".
Said the 24-year-old, "Why is our government paying him [Sun] to study here? How did he pass the selection process?"
He added that the government should "reconsider their policies" when awarding scholarships to foreign students.
Sun is currently studying at the National University of Singapore.
NUS student Chng Kahhwee echoed Choy's sentiments. Said the 24-year-old, "His comment is an insult to the Singapore nation, especially the group which he had specifically mentioned."
The year three economics student added that Sun should not have used "strong words" to express his anger, especially on social media.
"Given that he is a scholar background with educational funding from Singapore, the least he can do is to respect Singaporeans," she added.
However, others like NUS student Jay Tan feel that although Sun's comment was offensive, it did not warrant a revocation of his scholarship.
Said the 24-year-old, "He shouldn't call us dogs. I agree that uncles in Singapore behave like that, it's normal behavior…But his [Sun] comment is too exaggerated."
"Other scholars should use him as example not to make same kind of mistake. MOE shouldn't revoke his scholarship since it's not serious enough," he added.
Sun came to study in Singapore in 2006 on a MOE scholarship for students from China. According to TREmeritus, the final year student in NUS is currently on attachment in Schlumberger, an international oilfield services company.
There have even been calls from members of the public for MOE to revoke Sun's scholarship. In an online survey which asked respondents whether Sun's scholarship should be revoked, 96 per cent of those polled responded in the affirmative.
When asked by Yahoo! Singapore, NUS Provost Professor Tan Eng Chye said, "The University does not condone the disrespectful comment made by our student on 18 February 2012. All NUS students are expected to behave in a manner that is respectful of the community they live in."
He added that Sun has undergone counseling for the incident, and has removed the comment on his blog.
Sun has since posted an apology on the blog. "I am very sorry for the statement that I had made on my blog on 18 February 2012, which I now realize was insensitive and inappropriate. Please accept my sincere apologies," he said.
The provost also said that a board of discipline will be convened as Sun had "acted in a manner that is in breach of the NUS Code of Student Conduct, which reflects the University's expectations regarding standards of responsible behaviour in our students' academic and non-academic areas of university life".