Ngee Ann Poly lecturer who made racist remarks in video to be fired

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 senior Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) lecturer caught on video making racist remarks against an interracial couple in public is to be fired for a "serious breach" of the school's Staff Code of Conduct, said NP on Thursday (17 June).

In a Facebook post, NP said the staff member, who was not named, has been officially charged with breaching the Code and will be let go. "Our staff members are expected to respect cultural, ethnic and religious differences in our society. They must uphold secularity and impartiality at all times," it added.

This follows internal investigations into the aforementioned incident, as well as an online post by an NP alumna alleging that the same staff member had made Islamophobic remarks in class in 2017.

"NP understands that Police investigations are ongoing. We will fully cooperate with the authorities."

The lecturer, identified in various media reports as Tan Boon Lee, 60, was seen in a viral Facebook video posted by David Parkash on 6 June, arguing with the latter at Orchard Road that interracial dating between Indian men and Chinese women is "racist". He added, "I have nothing against you personally but I think it's racist that the Indians prey on the Chinese girls."

Three days later, NP alumna Nurul Fatimah Iskandar alleged in an Instagram post that Tan had made Islamophobic comments in a 2017 class.

Tan reportedly taught at the polytechnic’s School of Engineering and was suspended by NP last week.

2017 incident

NP said that it had reached out to the alumna to "express regret" and offer her counselling support. "We have since met her to get more details of her experience and would like to apologise for the distress that she suffered."

The school noted that the former student could not recall whether she had emailed her feedback on the incident or raised it during a post-course focus group discussion (FGD) in 2017. FGDs are typically held at the end of every semester to seek students’ feedback on courses and lecturers.

And while records of her feedback could not be found, NP is "committed to preventing a similar incident from occurring again", and will ensure that students are made aware of the appropriate channels for them to provide feedback in a safe manner.

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