Home News Chee Soon Juan says his misgivings about Yale-NUS in 2012 have come...

Chee Soon Juan says his misgivings about Yale-NUS in 2012 have come true

His fear back then stemmed from concerns that setting up Yale-NUS would primarily be a money-making venture, but would disregard the effect on Singaporean society.

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Singapore — Opposition leader Dr Chee Soon Juan took to Facebook to comment on the recent news that Yale-NUS will close in 2025.

He said that remarks he made in 2012 at Yale University wherein he expressed misgivings about the college have come to pass.

“The closure of the university – and after hundreds of millions of our taxpayer’s funds wasted – has made what I said come true,” wrote the secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party in a Facebook post on Monday (Aug 30), adding excerpts of his remarks from nine years ago.

On Aug 26, Yale University made the announcement concerning liberal arts college’s planned closure, twelve years after it had opened. 

Peter Salovey, the president of Yale, had written in a statement that Tan Eng Chye, the present of the National University of Singapore, had informed Yale last month that it intended to merge Yale-NUS with its existing University Scholars Program “to form a new and larger liberal arts college that will not bear Yale’s name.”

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Dr Chee said in 2012 that he had reservations before the college was established, but had kept silent. 

Instead, he and his colleagues at the SDP “cautiously welcomed the set up.”

His fear back then stemmed from concerns that setting up Yale-NUS would primarily be a money-making venture, but would disregard the effect on Singaporean society.

“I fear – and I sincerely hope that I will be proven wrong on this – that the Yale leadership does not, like American multinational corporations that have come before it, cynically look to make that quick and easy dollar from Singaporeans while completely disregard what such actions would do to our society,” said Dr Chee in 2012.

Although, he added that his past experience with foreign academic institutions has left him “very skeptical of their claims to want to provide Singaporeans with the best that academia can muster.”

He expressed even then that he wanted to be proven wrong on whether Yale was “there to educate or simply to line your own pockets.”

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For Dr Chee, the point was, and still is, this: “Humankind must not live in a world where the poor and the elderly live off the crumbs that fall off the rich man’s table; where Westerners, with the help of autocratic governments, exploit the locals in the countries that they invest in.

Instead, we must work out a way to live in peace and on the premise that human equals human.” /TISG

Read also: Yale-NUS merger inconsistencies spotted; students ask for transparency

Yale-NUS merger inconsistencies spotted; students ask for transparency

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