Ngee Ann Polytechnic has suspended a teaching staff who was filmed hurling racist insults at an interracial couple last week.
Identified as engineering lecturer Tan Boon Lee, he was filmed in the nearly 10-minute-long video telling off a man named Dave Parkash, who was of mixed Indian and Filipino heritage, for going out with his Chinese-Thai girlfriend while walking along Orchard Road on Saturday. The video was shared online by Parkash on Sunday, and drew tens of thousands of shares.
Both Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the police have launched investigations.
“We are aware of the video circulating on social media of an individual making racist remarks against an interracial couple. We regret that the individual in question is a member of our staff,” the school told Coconuts today. “We are investigating this matter internally, including considering the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken. Meanwhile, the staff in question has been suspended from his teaching duties.”
The video, filmed by Parkash’s girlfriend, opened when the confrontation was already taking place between the lecturer and Parkash.
In it, Tan was heard saying: “If you think there is no such thing as racism, then you are wrong, you’re racist as well … I got nothing against you personally but I think it’s racist that the Indian prey on Chinese [girls]”
Parkash said online Sunday that he was “humiliated” and “hurt” by the incident. He has not responded to Coconuts’ queries requesting for comment.
“My girlfriend and I [were] confronted by a man who told us that we should only be dating with people of our own race,” his statement said. “He called himself a racist and even blamed us for being racist just because my [girlfriend] and I are from different races. He humiliated us in public by shaming both her and I like as though we did something wrong.”
“To this man who may end up watching this, I hope you learn to stop being a racist and let us all live in harmony,” Parkash added.
The video has since been shared over 17,000 times and even garnered attention from politicians who weighed in.
“I used to believe that Singapore was moving in the right direction on racial tolerance and harmony. Based on recent events, I am not so sure anymore,” Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam wrote Sunday.
“Racial intolerance goes against our founding values as a nation, and has no place in our society. Our diversity has always been our strength, and we must never let it become our Achilles’ Heel,” Education Minister Chan Chun Sing wrote yesterday.
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