The man who confronted an interracial couple and made racist remarks to them in public has been identified as a senior lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) and was awarded The Long Service Medal in 2019.
In the video posted by Dave Parkash on Sunday (6 June), the man refers himself as a Chinese, and was seen confronting Mr Dave and his girlfriend in public, saying that “it is racist that the Indian prey on Chinese girls”.
He told Mr Dave: “I got nothing against you staying in Singapore. The only thing is you are preying on Chinese girl, I tell you the Chinese won’t like it,” while admitting that he himself is “racist”.
This is despite Mr Dave has clarified that he is half-Indian and half-Filipino, while his girlfriend — who recorded the incident — is half-Chinese and half-Thai.
The man also accused Mr Dave’s girlfriend of “disgracing me”, saying that the interracial couple should date people of their own race instead.
“You don’t see a Chinese guy preying on an Indian girl,” he further said to Mr Dave.
The confrontation lasted for a few minutes before the man eventually walks off.
The video has since gone viral with over 433k views and 12k likes at the time of writing.
In recent news, the man has been identified as Mr Tan Boon Lee from NP’s School of Engineering.
He also appeared to have been awarded The Long Service Medal in 2019 under the annual National Day Awards, as listed on Prime Minister’s Office website.
An NP spokesperson told CNA on Monday (7 June) that the polytechnic is aware of the video and has suspended him from teaching duties.
“We regret that the individual in question is a member of our staff,” said the spokesperson.
They added that the polytechnic takes “a very serious view” of the matter as the remarks are “highly offensive, disrespectful and goes against our staff Code of Conduct and values as a community”.
“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 spokesperson added.
The incident is currently under police investigations. The police confirmed on Sunday that reports had been lodged and that a 60-year-old man was assisting with investigations into the incident.
Meanwhile, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam also shared the video on his Facebook page on Sunday saying that “it seems like more people are finding it acceptable to make ‘in your face’ racist statements openly” and “some try to explain away” when such things happen.
“Quite unacceptable, very worrying,” he remarked.
Mr Shanmugam continued, “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.”
Netizens appalled by the racist remarks made by an educator
Penning their thoughts under the comment section of CNA’s Facebook post on the matter, many netizens were appalled to know that the racist remarks came from an educator, saying that the lecturer is “setting a bad example” to his students.
While some netizens agreed that Mr Tan should be given “a second chance” to keep his job at NP, many netizens think that suspension seems “too lightweight” in this case and urged the polytechnic to sack him instead.
One netizen wrote: “Whatever mental state he was in, there’s no rhyme and reason for him to openly make racist statements, let alone to a complete stranger… He’s a teacher at the polytechnic and I wonder how many other students have been influenced by his racist propaganda… Suspension seems too lightweight.”