SINGAPORE — A man who was seen in a video making racist remarks to an inter-ethnic couple is teaching at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, which has suspended him from his duties, according to a report by TODAY on Monday (7 June).
The polytechnic said it is aware of the video of “an individual making racist remarks against an interracial couple”, according to the report. “We regret that the individual in question is a member of our staff.”
TODAY reported that the man is Tan Boon Lee, who teaches at the polytechnic’s School of Engineering.
Tan said via email to TODAY that the case is under police investigation and he did not want to comment. He added that it is a “good time” to highlight "the subject of interracial marriage in Singapore, Asia or worldwide".
The polytechnic said the individual's remarks are "highly offensive, disrespectful and go against our staff code of conduct and values as a community” and that it is conducting an internal investigation.
The nine-and-a-half minute video posted on Facebook by user David Parkash shows him arguing with a Chinese man outside Far East Shopping Centre. Parkash appears to be offended by the man's claim that interracial dating between Indian men and Chinese women is "racist".
"I have nothing against you personally but I think it's racist that the Indians prey on the Chinese girls," says the man, who is wearing a red shirt with "Singapore" on the front of it.
"You don't see a Chinese guy preying on the Indian girl," he also claims.
At one point he turns to the person filming the incident, presumably Parkash's girlfriend, and says, "Your parents is (sic) disgraced."
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Sunday weighed in on the incident, stating that what he saw in the video is "quite unacceptable" and "very worrying".
“It seems like more people are finding it acceptable, to make 'in your face' racist statements – openly. And some try to explain away, each time something like this happens," said Shanmugam, who shared Parkash's video.
"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.”
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