Singapore — Tan Boon Lee, the Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer who was seen in a viral video berating an Indian man for being in a relationship with a Chinese woman, was accused by his former students of making racially and religiously insensitive remarks in class.
The nine-minute video, taken by the woman herself and posted on the Indian man, Dave Parkash’s Facebook page, showed Tan on June 5 saying: “This has nothing to do with nationalism, it has all to do with race”.
On Wednesday (Jun 9), one of Tan’s former students, Ms Nurul Fatimah Iskandar, 22, said in an Instagram post and Facebook post that Tan had initiated an offensive discussion about Islam during lesson time, where he singled her out for being Muslim.
Ms Nurul wrote that Tan had a “full-on discourse about Islam” on July 28, 2017.
”I was the only Muslim in class. He opened websites on the projector, pointing out things he didn’t agree with about the Quran and Prophet Muhammad s.a.w to the class”, she wrote.
Ms Nurul added that at one point Tan pointed to her and asked if she agreed with what he was saying. Ms Nurul and a friend of hers, Merick, walked out of the class and sat outside on the floor of the corridor.
She added that with most of the students aged 17 in the class, everyone was “still young and impressionable. He is a senior lecturer. I can only imagine how many more times he had been racist and Islamophobic in the institution of education over the years”.
She said that Tan should not be allowed to take classes after his suspension is over.
Tan, 60, is assisting the police with investigations after he was seen making racist remarks in a video to ice cream store owner Dave Parkash, 26, and his girlfriend Jacqueline Ho, 27, a user experience designer, in Orchard Road on Saturday night (June 5).
In the video, Tan said that he had nothing against Dave, but that he was referring to the Indian race.
“I’m saying Indian race. I’ve got nothing against you personally but I think it is racist that the Indians prey on Chinese girls,” he said.
“Prey?” Dave asked. To this, Tan responded, “Ya, it is predatory”.
The polytechnic has suspended him from teaching duties and is conducting an internal investigation after the video surfaced online on Sunday (June 6).
When The Straits Times contacted Tan about Ms Nurul’s post, he declined to comment “at the moment” but said he remembers her as a former student. /TISG