News and views from an unique perspective

Archive for February, 2012

Local singer Lydia Tan scolds Singaporeans for ‘biting’ on Sun Xu like a ‘dog’

Posted by temasektimes on February 29, 2012

Local singer Lydia Tan Di Ya (陈迪雅) has lashed out at Singaporeans for their relentless attacks on embattled NUS PRC scholar Sun Xu, asking them to leave him alone.

A final year student in Mechanical Engineering at the National University of Singapore, Sun sparked a near nationwide outcry among Singaporeans with his offensive remarks on there “being more dogs than humans in Singapore.” on his microblog ‘Weibo’ two Saturdays ago, prompting many to call for his scholarship to be revoked.

Lydia had earlier defended Sun Xu on her blog, reprimanding Singaporeans for being ‘petty’ and refusing to let him off.

“Whether one is a Singaporean or mainland Chinese, everybody will make mistake. He (Sun Xu) has already apologized. What else do you (Singaporeans) want? Do you really want to be a dog to keep ‘biting’ and refuse to let go?” she wrote in Chinese.

In an interview with a Chinese tabloid today, Lydia said Sun Xu is still ‘young’ and hence it is not unusual if he says the ‘wrong things’ at times.

“We will all say wrong things at times. I feel since he has already apologized, there is no need to blow up the matter. We want to prove we are not ‘dogs’ and don’t keep ‘biting’ on it (不要像狗一样咬着不放”). We should let the matter rest with a magnanimous heart.”

Lydia Tan was a runner-up in Season 2 of ‘Project Superstar’. Her comments do not go down too well with netizens who lampoon her for it.

Dom Su wrote on Facebook:

“Erm.. she wants to be a dog.. female dog => B * * * *”

Eric Ooi added:

“Cheap publicity stunt. I don’t even know that singer. First I thought she’s Tanya but not. LOL.”

Sun Xu is expected to attend a disciplinary hearing on 13 March 2012 where his fate will be decided. Born to a wealthy and influential family in the affluent city of Suzhou, Jiangsu province, Sun Xu first came to Singapore in 2006 on a MOE scholarship to study in River Valley High School after which he went on to study at Raffles Junior College and NUS where he majored in Mechanical Engineering.

Unlike other students born in Singapore, Sun Xu did not have to pay a SINGLE CENT for his education in Singapore from secondary school all the way to university.

Read all articles about Sun Xu here

>> NEXT: We will be publishing more SHOCKING revelations about MOE PRC scholars tomorrow. Stay tuned to The Temasek Times, the third most popular socio-political blog in Singapore!

Posted in News | Tagged: , , | 56 Comments »

Tay Ping Hui publicly calls for NUS to show ‘true leadership’ and expel PRC scholar Sun Xu

Posted by temasektimes on February 29, 2012

MediaCorp actor and Young PAP member Tay Ping Hui has openly called for the expulsion of embattled NUS PRC scholar Sun Xu from NUS for breaching its code of conduct for students.

A final year student in Mechanical Engineering at the National University of Singapore, Sun sparked a near nationwide outcry among Singaporeans with his offensive remarks on there “being more dogs than humans in Singapore.” on his microblog ‘Weibo’ two Saturdays ago, prompting many to call for his scholarship to be revoked.

Unlike some PAP MP who tried ways and means to exonerate Sun Xu from public opprobrium, Tay Ping Hui was one of the few public figures to step forward to condemn him, calling him an ‘impertinent ingrate’.

In his latest tweet on the matter, Tay Ping Hui called on the Ministry of Education (MOE) and NUS to show ‘true leadership’ by taking stern action against Sun Xu:

[Source: Tay Ping Hui’s twitter]


Unfortunately, it appears that both MOE and NUS are now taking turns to ‘tai-chi’ the ‘hot potato’ to each other in order to escape public scrutiny and wrath.

When two Singaporean students were caught kissing publicly in school, they were expelled immediately from their junior college by MOE. However in this case, MOE prefers to wait for NUS to ‘investigate’ first.

MOE has earlier said its scholarship administrators will “take reference from findings of disciplinary proceedings by the National University of Singapore (NUS), where Mr Sun is studying, before recommending what action to take.”

A week later, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat passed the baton to NUS completely, saying in an interview with Lianhe Zaobao that NUS should investigate the matter and takes disciplinary action against Sun Xu if he was found to have flouted NUS’s code of conduct for its student though it is the administrator of Sun’s scholarship.

Though Schlumberger has stopped Sun Xu from visiting the company, one NUS engineering student told us that the move is merely ‘symbolic’ as he has already completed his Final Year Project.

Sun Xu is expected to attend a disciplinary hearing on 13 March 2012 where his fate will be decided. Born to a wealthy and influential family in the affluent city of Suzhou, Jiangsu province, Sun Xu first came to Singapore in 2006 on a MOE scholarship to study in River Valley High School after which he went on to study at Raffles Junior College and NUS where he majored in Mechanical Engineering.

Unlike other students born in Singapore, Sun Xu did not have to pay a SINGLE CENT for his education in Singapore from secondary school all the way to university.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Law Ms Sim Ann revealed recently in Parliament that the Singapore government spends some $36 million dollars on scholarships to over two thousand foreign students each year, or about S$174,00 per scholar.

Foreign scholars like Sun Xu at NUS and other Singapore universities have their tuition fees and living expenses all covered by their scholarships. They are also guaranteed a well-paying job upon graduation as part of their bond and the men are exempted from National Service unlike male Singapore citizens who are burdened with a hefty tuition loan and rendered uncompetitive in the job market by their mandatory reservist obligations such as IPPT and in-camp training.

Read all articles about Sun Xu here

Posted in News | Tagged: , | 44 Comments »

17 year old girl extorts $97,000 from NTU student and others in shocking internet love scam

Posted by temasektimes on February 29, 2012

A 22 year old NTU student Ng Yong Cheng was extorted a total of S$6,000 over a period of nine months by a 17 year old girl Yap Siew Ting in a shocking internet love scam.

Yap befriended Mr Ng nine months ago in an internet chat room and somehow managed to persuade him to undress fully in front of the webcam to masturbate himself.

The scene was recorded and was used by Yap to extort money from Mr Ng. She threatened to circulate it online if he did not transfer money to her.

Mr Ng made more than 80 transactions to various bank accounts of Yap and her accomplices. In total, they extorted $97,000 from Mr Ng and other victims.

Yap was charged with her boyfriend 22 year old Soh Zhi Ren in court today for an offence of Extortion with Common Intention.

Investigations are still ongoing. If convicted, the suspects could be jailed up to seven years and caned.

Posted in News | Tagged: , | 11 Comments »

MCYS ad slammed for portraying disabled as ‘HOPELESS’

Posted by temasektimes on February 29, 2012

An advertisement by the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports (MCYS) to recruit social workers has been slammed by netizens for labeling the disabled as ‘HOPELESS’:

The ad consists of a photo showing a social worker helping amputees to play ball, with the word “Hopeless” in large font below. It is found on the back of buses as well:


The ad is part of a campaign launched on 20 Feb by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) by Minister Chan Chun Sing to attract more Singaporeans to join social work.

‘sellphone’ posts on Hardwarezone forum:

“they could have easily averted this by using Hope instead of hopeless. What a terrible error.”

‘kylie’ added:

“overdoing things = backfire… imagine thousands of disabled pple who do not have access to or do not rely on social workers’ help staring at this ad a few times a day on public transport…”


Posted in News | 13 Comments »

NUS engineering student: Schlumberger’s move to ‘discontinue’ its connections with Sun Xu is only ‘symbolic’

Posted by temasektimes on February 29, 2012

Schlumberger’s move to ‘discontinue’ its connections with NUS PRC scholar Sun Xu is only ‘symbolic’ as he has probably completed his mandatory Final Year Project, said a NUS engineering student.

The External Relations Office of the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore has contacted us earlier clarifying that Schlumberger has terminated all connections with NUS PRC scholar Sun Xu:

“The Faculty of Engineering wishes to clarify that Mr Sun Xu is not an intern with Schlumberger. Mr Sun’s final-year project involved a few visits to the company for discussions with engineers there.  Schlumberger has since advised Mr Sun and the Faculty of Engineering at the National University of Singapore that these interactions  be discontinued.”

NUS has also clarified that Sun Xu is not on any internship at the moment. It is not known if Schlumberger terminated Sun’s visits after receiving numerous complaints from netizens about him.

According to our source, Sun Xu has been visiting engineers at Schlumberger to seek their advice and assistance in his Final Year Project which contributes to the final grade and most students should have completed their projects by now. One of Sun Xu’s supervisor for his FYP is Varun Nyayadhish from Schlumberger:

All work NUS Mechanical Engineering’s FYP 2011/2012 must be completed on 9 March, just 4 days before Sun Xu’s disciplinary hearing on 13 March 2012. (Source: NUS MEng)

“The FYP is a team effort and Sun Xu is only a team member. The input of Schlumberger’s engineers maybe useful, but definitely not critical to his project’s completion,” he noted.

In all likelihood, Schlumberger was probably forced issued the clarification to NUS after receiving numerous complaints from netizens about Sun Xu and the move will not have any detrimental effect on Sun Xu’s studies or his career in the future.

Read all articles about Sun Xu here

Posted in News | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Another PRC man after Sun Xu insults Singaporeans: You are not worth even a ‘fart’!

Posted by temasektimes on February 29, 2012

Less than one week after NUS PRC scholar Sun Xu sparked nationwide outrage with his now infamous remark on there ‘being more dogs than humans in Singapore’, another PRC man hit the headlines again by using new interesting ‘phrases’ to scold Singaporeans.

After getting into a brawl with a Singaporean at Chinatown over a staring incident, PRC man Aries Lin vented his anger on the Lion City Forum by hurling all kinds of insults at Singaporeans.

In the title of the thread, Aries described Singaporeans as ‘sb’ , which stands for “Sha Bi” (傻逼) – meaning ‘stupid cunt’ in mainland Chinese slang.

Aries also try to remind Singaporeans of their ‘place’ in the world:

“Please be reminded Singaporeans, you are all descendants of Chinese and the Chinese blood flow in you. Don’t think you have been transformed to ‘Singaporeans’ from ‘Chinese you can be arrogant. Actually you are not even worth a fart!”


When asked by fellow PRC netizens to cool down, Aries retorted:

“If all the mainland Chinese return home, you Singaporeans will have to eat porridge at home everyday.”


Though Singapore is much further away from China than Hong Kong or Taiwan, it is easier for mainland Chinese to study or work in Singapore compared to the two predominantly Chinese territories.

At the rate the mainland Chinese are flooding into Singapore, it is only a matter of time before Singapore becomes the 24th province of the People’s Republic of China – ‘Nanyang’ – or the ‘province of the southern oceans’.

Related article:

PRC man punched Singaporean man over staring incident

Posted in News | Tagged: | 146 Comments »

Ex-MOE PRC scholar in United States slams Sun Xu and calls for review of Singapore’s overseas scholarship recruitment programme

Posted by temasektimes on February 29, 2012

An ex MOE PRC scholar Liu Yuchen, who is currently studying in the United States, has voiced out against the behavior of his fellow countryman Sun Xu who sparked nationwide outrage with his now infamous remark on there ‘being more dogs than humans’ in Singapore.

In a posting on the Facebook page calling for Sun Xu’s scholarship to be revoked, Liu wrote that he was quite ‘appalled’ at his remarks:

“As a PRC who has received MOE scholarship before, I am quite appalled at what he said. Till this day I still feel immensely in debt to the culture, education, generosity and experiences I received in Singapore, together with some very fond memories. As far as self-identity goes, a quarter of my life has been in Singapore and I share much of the rage and anguish many Singaporeans have at his remarks.”

Mr Liu also called for a review of Singapore’s overseas scholarship recruitment programme:

“I would agree that his scholarship should be reviewed as clearly he no longer demonstrates the same qualities he once was perceived to have. Perhaps this even prompts a more thorough review of the entire talent recruiting program from abroad to ensure that students offered scholarships are more holistic.”

Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Law Ms Sim Ann revealed recently in Parliament that the Singapore government spends some $36 million dollars on scholarships to over two thousand foreign students each year, or about S$174,00 per scholar.

Mr Liu ended by urging Singaporeans to remain calm and be consumed by rage:

“Sun’s comments left me realizing there is much work to be done to educate my peers from China. But while I have no sympathy for him, I also hope my friends from Singapore would not let yourselves be consumed by rage. As much as it’s tempting to do otherwise, I’m sure we all aspire to rise above and be the better one.”

According to information posted on his Facebook, Mr Liu graduated from the National Junior College in 2009 after which he went on to pursue his tertiary education at Georgetown University on a MOE scholarship in the United States.

Read all articles about Sun Xu here

Posted in News | Tagged: , | 22 Comments »

An open letter to Baey Yam Keng on the Sun Xu saga

Posted by temasektimes on February 29, 2012

Mr Baey,

My name is Zheng Wen, a Singaporean student, now studying overseas. I would like to invite you to share your thoughts, on some of the comments you had made earlier and upon some of my concerns that were brought to the fore. Do pardon me if my post seems rather wordy, I feel it important to articulate not just my concerns, but the reasons they have arisen.

As they say so often in medicine “Understanding the pathology of a disease is crucial in successfully treating it”. In that light I do apologize if some of my comments might be critical or unsupportive of the unsung efforts and sacrifices, that you and your colleagues have been making for the nation.


I am curious to understand what precisely your stand is regarding foreign scholars, and by extension foreigners who choose to live and work in Singapore, and what manner of social compact would be appropriate between them and us. They are after all, having their education and living expenses entirely paid for by the government, whose coffers are filled by the taxes imposed on us, the citizens of Singapore.

Granted this can be a difficult question to answer, but to draw a comparison between Singapore and other countries, notably the in developed world, it is expected for all students, not just scholars to adhere to a standard of behaviour, a “code of conduct”. The rationale behind this requirement is one of simple human decency, going into another person’s home; it would only be polite of you to respect the manner by which that person lives.

In that light I cannot help but think towards Mr. Xu’s derogatory comments regarding there “being more dogs them humans in Singapore” and also back to another case earlier last year where a PRC family was successful in having the Community Mediation Center lock an Indian family into a contract of only cooking curry when they the PRC family was out.

It very much seems to me that this social contract of respecting the ways of our hosts is one that is largely unknown, or perhaps entirely ignored by many of our nation’s guests. And indeed I see this behaviour even overseas, in Australia. It is not a rare sight to see students from china spitting where they please, even right in front of a man walking past them, or throwing their refuse on the side walk, roads and in parks without a care.

These are the people whom we are inviting into our nation, and granted that what we would perceive as being the norms of polite behaviour are entirely alien to them. I cannot see any reason why Singapore would not have a “naturalization” program in order to teach these unwritten rules of acceptable social behaviour within our country. Indeed we should enforce these codes upon them, as much as we would upon ourselves, a simple thing about respect, for the race and religion of our countrymen for example.

Singaporeans have been called to task for being insensitive of those of another race or religion, many even charged in a court of law. Would you not agree that our laws should apply to foreigners as well? Should Mr. Xu be charged and sentenced for his comments whereas Singaporeans who have fallen to similar mistakes faced stiff penalties?


I would like to ask you to clarify you comment on Singaporeans becoming “divisive” over Mr Xu’s behaviour. Exactly how would condemnation in this instance be divisive? Granted you might perhaps be thinking of the divisiveness between Singaporeans and foreign migrants, the PRCs in particular, for if you are, I do share your fear. If I am not mistaken, it is those precise sentiments of resentment and barely contained rage that lead to the racial riots and brutal violence of Singapore’s early history. A problem that was only corrected through the introduction of national service, where by every man, regardless of whatever history or social standing would be put through the same regiment together.

I do not however believe that asking Singaporeans to simply “play nice” would quite work however, given that conditions in Singapore are not entirely pleasant. Rates of employment amongst the citizenship have gone entirely uncommented upon by statistics released by the government, nebulously lumping citizens and PRs into the category of “residents” (Though do correct me if I happen to be wrong). Wage rates, when adjusted against inflation and increasing costs of living have actually been on the decline these past few years, with salaries largely remaining static and inflation increasing at a breakneck pace.

The former of these ills I shall note has a very large part to do with the inclusion of foreign nationals into the labour force, in order to drive down costs, which has also driven down average wage rates, the lack of a minimum wage law further serves to increase the incentives for any employer to hire a foreigner, given they are prepared to work for a much lower wage versus a Singaporean, and often for longer hours. Something that Singaporeans are ill able to afford, given the costs of supporting a family in Singapore with its higher costs of living, versus a PRC who’s family lives in China. Never mind the time we need commit to the looking after of our children and our elders.

Furthermore, national service commitments from the men, which sees them entering the work force 2 years later then their Chinese peers, and further commitments through most of our lives for in-camp-training offers a major handicap.

I believe the resentment a lot of us feel towards the Chinese, springs from a sense of having to fight from a very inferior position. That, and even if we do happen to win a hold on the job market, competition from foreign nationals would require for us to take a salary that we might not be able to survive on.

In all truth it’s this environment that makes many of my colleagues studying medicine believe that “returning to Singapore to practice, is the height of stupidity”. And to be honest, I can understand why, stagnating salaries, increasing costs of living, as well as ugly neighbours who would not share the same unifying experiences that other Singaporeans have in common with you. Not to mention that foreign doctors choosing to relocate to Singapore receive extensive packages and allowances as an incentive, returning Singaporean doctors get nothing.

By comparison, in other countries, but it Australia, Britain or the United States, there are laws that help level the playing field, limiting the hours and jobs that foreign nationals can work and apply for. Laws that specify a minimum wage to prevent wage undercutting, and on a tangential note, laws to prevent speculative pressures on the values of properties, which I have mentioned because of the cost of a home in Singapore, and the role speculative buyers from out of the country have played in bringing it to such a level. (Though to be fair some new measures have been imposed recently to help alleviate housing prices, albeit to a minor almost negligible degree, kudos to you and your colleagues)

Long and short, “playing nice” isn’t something you can reasonably expect of so many people, living under such conditions. Would it be perhaps that you had something else in mind when you called for Singaporeans to be less divisive?


Scholarships, you made the comment earlier that Singapore being a meritocracy has no room for any consideration of the nationality of the person it then becomes awarded to. Although I do realize that you later made a further clarification on your statement, saying that the scholarship would be awarded to a Singaporean, if all else considered were equal?

I would like to understand why you would feel that way. After all, given that the funds that are allocated into scholarships are collected from citizens through taxes, it would be reasonable to argue that the funds should be allocated in such a manner that Singapore would benefit most?

An argument I am sure you agree with, in that light I am curious to know what justification there might be to awarding these scholarships to foreign nationals, versus Singaporeans. Particularly in the face of the retention rate we have of these scholars over 5 and 10 years, past their return of service bonds. I have not been able thus far to find any statistics that might shed light on this, but suspect from other indicators, new citizen emigration figures in particular, that the rate of which we have been retaining foreign scholars has been fairly low.

Would the money be better served by allowing Singaporeans, (And let’s face it, we the sum total of the citizenry, are Singapore) the opportunity to study aboard, gain skills and experiences that we might bring back to the nation? And also used towards improving our overall economic and living conditions so that returning home would actually be a welcome prospect?

Would it not be better to select our scholars, not on just on their academic achievements, but also on the strength of their relations with their neighbours, on the strength of their passions and their love of their craft? After all, people change, that and Singapore’s education system being such a competitive environment already handicaps our own children, particularly with adjusting exam scores to maintain an even distribution of grades. Why not use the money to give our own people a 2nd chance at making something of themselves, and making our home a better place?

Fourth (and Final!)

The role of foreign labour in our work force, you commented also that Singapore needs the best and the brightest in order to survive, an opinion shared and oft repeated by your colleagues in the PAP. Superficially it is an opinion easy to agree with, seeing how much of the scientific supremacy and economic growth seen over the previous century in America was a direct result of allowing the best and brightest to come.

Yet it is more than just the best and brightest we have been allowing into the country, I’ve see young individuals from other countries working in banks, laboratories, and all manner of professional jobs, none of whom strike me as being particularly bright or capable in comparison to their Singaporean counterparts. We’ve seen a plethora of middle management staff flowing into the nation from other nations, displacing Singaporeans. Then we have the service industry, the integrated resorts in particular, which have a very high proportion of foreign employees.

It is often said that Singaporeans are loathe to take up service jobs, but I would like to point out that one of the reasons and in my case, the deciding factor, was not the lack of “glamour” or distinction of such a job, but rather the pay. As mentioned earlier, realities of Singapore’s cost of living mean that many Singaporeans cannot afford to work for such a low rate, especially if we would like to have a family or a life beyond work.

Yet these industries cannot operate without staff, so the question then becomes, why did the government invest so heavily into promoting the hospitality and services industry in Singapore, if from the very beginning, there was an awareness that few, if any Singaporeans would be willing to work in the industry?

Would the money not be better put towards growing other industries that would not only provide the drive to power the countries growth, but also ensure that Singaporeans would have well-paying jobs, and most importantly, survive even if foreign labour were to dry up? As it seems now, Singapore is in a catch-22. Construction, tourism, hospitality are all industries dependant on a cheap source of labour, a demand that can only be met by importing foreign nationals.

What are the government’s plans on this avenue? For I would very much like to know my home is not just a good place for me to invest my money into (which Singapore is now), but also a good place to live and work (a criteria in which Singapore is not so well rated).

Thank you for taking the time to read this Mr Baey, and although I understand that some of my concerns may be outside of the boundaries of your office, I would none the less greatly appreciate it if you would share your thoughts. I look forward to seeing your reply, both to me, and all those, my Singaporean brothers and sisters.

Best Regards,

Zheng Wen


Mr Baey’s reply:

Dear Zheng Wen, thank you for your note.

I agree with many of your points. I will be speaking on the topic of scholarships to foreigners in parliament next week and will post that on FB, please look out for that.

In essence, I am with you that priority should be given to S’poreans. Yahoo’s report gave the wrong impression that I was advocating merit over nationality. I was then referring to those scholarships that MOE is awarding to foreigners and opining that for such scholarships, S’poreans should be eligible too, hence my point that nationality (resulting in a bias against S’porean) should not be the criteria.

I just would like to clarify my point about “divisive” – I saw two groups of netizens commenting on my FB, some unhappy with my remark and others supporting it. At one stage, the exchange was getting quite bad and I was concerned that there will be hard feelings. Hence I made the point.

Yam Keng


(The above was posted as a comment on Mr Baey Yam Keng’s Facebook)

Posted in Letters | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

Local company hiring ‘phantom workers’ by paying CPF to unemployed PRs so as to fill quota to employ more foreign workers

Posted by temasektimes on February 29, 2012

A local company is hiring ‘phantom workers’ to fill its required quota of local workers so that it can employ more foreign workers.

The ruse is purportedly executed by paying the mandatory $50 CPF to unemployed PRs to make it appeared that they are on the company’s payroll when they are not as highlighted by this advertisement on Lion City Forum:

When our reporter called up the company, it was answered by a PRC woman who promised monthly CPF payments so long she remains under the payroll of the company.

According to one HR manager who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, such scams are common practices in Singapore.

“The companies will show MOM a record of the CPF payments made to its staff to prove that its manpower quota has been reached and therefore they are now eligible to employ more foreign workers while in reality, there are few Singapore citizens under their employment.”

While a few employers have been fined for hiring ‘phantom workers’, the problems appears to be endemic and the Manpower Ministry will have to do much more to discover and punish the culprits like the registered company above.

Posted in News | 6 Comments »

Only 4 companies convicted of hiring ‘phantom workers’ in the last two years

Posted by temasektimes on February 29, 2012

Despite its prevalence in Singapore, only 76 people and four companies have been convicted of hiring “phantom workers” in the last two years, according to a recent report by Channel News Asia.

It is a well-known fact that some businesses which rely heavily on foreign workers have been advertising for unemployed Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents, offering to contribute to their CPFs, thereby fraudulently inflating the number of ‘locals’ they “employ”.

In Singapore, both citizens and PRs are classified as ‘locals’ and companies must have a certain number of ‘locals’ on their payroll before they can hire more foreign workers.

With the government tightening the quota for foreign workers, such scams are likely to become more common in the future.


Posted in News | 2 Comments »