Ex-Ngee Ann Poly lecturer charged for racist remarks against inter-ethnic couple

·2-min read
A Chinese man is confronting an inter-racial couple at Orchard Road. (PHOTO: Facebook/Dave Park Ash)
A Chinese man is confronting an inter-racial couple at Orchard Road. (PHOTO: Facebook/Dave Park Ash)

SINGAPORE — A former Ngee Ann Polytechnic senior lecturer was charged on Tuesday (17 May) for making racists remarks against an inter-ethnic couple, as well as insensitive comments about religion .

Tan Boon Lee, 61, is accused of making racists remarks to Dave Prakash - who was accompanied by a Chinese female companion - in the vicinity of Anguillia Park in Orchard Road on 5 June 2021.

A video posted by Prakash on Facebook showed him arguing with Tan, who uttered comments such as " I have nothing against you personally, but I think it’s racist, that the Indian prey on Chinese girl" and "If you’re proud of your own race, marry… Indian".

The video went viral on social media, with Law Minister K Shanmugam weighing in on the incident, saying that what he saw in the video is "quite unacceptable" and "very worrying".

Tan was subsequently sacked from his post as senior lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Made insensitive remarks on religion during lecture

Tan was also said to have made insensitive remarks about Islam during a lecture in Ngee Ann Polytechnic on July 28, 2017, which is punishable under section 298A(b) of the Penal Code.

He had also allegedly posted insensitive answers about religion in response to questions on online forum Quora between 10 August 2020 and 13 September 2020.

For instance, to a question asking if there is a psychological explanation for people being "overcome by the Holy Spirit", he posted, "Overcome by the Holy Spirit or evils (sic) spirit or ghost are exactly the same. One cannot distinguish between these spirit (sic). And people under the influence of drugs or epilepsy have the exact same experience."

Tan also faces a charge of possessing 64 obscene films. In all, he face four charges.

He is out on $5,000 bail and will return to the court on 24 June.

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