This year’s Pre-University Seminar (PUS) was held on 28 May – 1 June, attended by more than 500 students. The VIP and key speaker for this event was Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean.
TOC first picked up St Andrew's Junior College (SAJC) student Reuben Wang’s blog post about the event titled 'F*** you, DPM Teo.' on 2 June. The TOC post has since garnered 562 ‘likes’, 203 ‘shares’ and 269 comments.
The comments on our TOC page were varied – some praised Reuben for speaking his mind and not sugar coating events, while some chose to focus on the crude manner in which Reuben expressed himself. One thing that most commenters agreed on was, the PUS showed that the latest generation of youth could not be accused of being apathetic and ambivalent about local issues.
An anonymous reply to Reuben’s blog post first appeared on the Facebook page of Fabrications About the PAP and reposted by SG Hard Truths on the same day (2 June).
The writer claims to be “a student who attended the seminar and has a passion for history and political science. He / She prefers to stay anonymous because sometimes the voice of reason is the one most likely to be hunted down by those who are most unreasonable.”
Three days later (5 June), Reuben posted a follow-up entry on his blog standing by his account and opinion of the PUS events but admitted that the use of profanity was in “bad taste”. On 6 June both posts and Reuben’s entire blog were deleted.
On 7 June, after being counselled by his school, Reuben had an apparent change of heart and decided to apologise. Accompanied by his father and a SAJC teacher, Reuben met with DPM Teo at the Ministry of Home Affairs HQ and apologised to him.
An spokesperson from th Ministry of Education said the tone and language Reuben used were “rude and unbecoming” and added, “We hope to turn this into a teachable moment both for the student blogger and students in general.”
DPM Teo explained that he avoided simply giving students answers during the seminar as he wanted them to think deeply about the difficult choices they had to make. “It was a lively and engaging session.” he said, “Some of them offered answers to their own questions after a little encouragement.”