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Academic on Chen Show Mao’s ‘plagiarism’: Failure to attribute source of ideas is in itself plagiarism

Posted by temasektimes on March 8, 2012

Dear all,

Posting on Mr Chen’s wall was never an easy decision on my part, partly because of my fondness of the Workers Party. I admire Mr Low Thia Khiang and Ms Sylvia Lim’s performance in Parliament and what they stood for. That admiration did cause me to vote against the PAP in my own GRC (even though PAP won in the end). Hence, by going onto Mr Chen’s work and saying that he plagiarised was never an easy decision. Nevertheless, I went ahead with it.

I did ask myself if it was worth the trouble having to scrutinise the post as it will (and indeed it did) incur the wrath of Mr Chen’s sizable following. However, I remember what I told my friends who questioned my faith in the opposition – that I will apply the same standard to an opposition MP compared to a PAP MP. If a PAP MP had made the same mistake today, I will also not hesitate in posting the same thing.

Going onto the topic of plagiarism, many people have mentioned that it is not plagiarism because the author has already given permission. To me, that is besides the point. The failure to attribute the source of ideas is in itself plagiarism, whether the author has given permission or not. Recently, I had the privilege on sitting on my university’s board of discipline and I have seen many students being fined and reprimanded because of failure to attribute, regardless of whether the original author has given permission.

However, I understand that it could have been an honest mistake by Mr Chen. Besides, I did acknowledge in my first post that he did mention it was from feedback he aggregated. However, looking at the first few comments left on his status, it seems that quite a few people got the misconception that it was Mr Chen’s own idea. That is wrong. Having read Mr Donald Low’s note prior to reading Mr Chen’s status, alarm bells did ring. Nevertheless, after Mr Donald Low clarified the situation, I did not bother to pursue the matter further.

If you have some questions or comments that you wish to direct to me, you can contact me directly at shermon dot ong at gmail dot com. I will be happy to engage you.



Shermon Ong


Posted in Letters | Tagged: , | 12 Comments »