Singapore — An investigation is now ongoing at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) concerning cheers learned during one of its freshman orientation camps due to the lewd and allegedly even racist content of a specific cheer.
A video of the cheer made rounds on social media site Instagram last week, wherein a male student can be heard leading a mixed group in cheers accompanied by seemingly lewd gestures.
A video that was shared on Instagram featured students making obscene gestures, such as pointing towards their crotch and gyrating their hips. Students can be seen pumping and gyrating their hips and pointing to their pelvic areas while repeatedly saying the word “kukubird,” which is supposedly a reference to male sexual organs.
The video can be seen on the Instagram account of memefdefsg.
According to the Straits Times (ST) the cheers were likely written by some of the students.
NTU Associate Professor Victor Yeo responded to the situation, telling ST, “Looking at the video, the cheer is not in line with the standards set at NTU, as it runs contrary to the values of safety, respect and inclusiveness which are emphasised in the university’s Transition and Orientation Programme.
Any student found to be responsible for allowing, condoning, arranging or participating in such cheers will be counselled and also face disciplinary action.”
However, a related issue came to light with a post written on the NTU Confessions page on Facebook from an anonymous freshman who had just been at the freshman camp.
"Hi freshie here and finally the camps are over. I just want to bring up a few points about what I've experienced during…
The writer, who identifies as a minority student, sought to bring to light some issues pertaining to race. Aside from most of the cheers and games being done in Mandarin or Hokkien (and being told to ‘suck-it-up), but for one cheer the Group Leader told the freshmen to do the cheer in an Indian accent.
The poster wrote that they found it worrisome to be the only one in a group of 30 bothered by the cheer, and felt bad that they did not stand up against it.
“No minority was there to raise an issue on this matter — There was no one to proofread the cheer list or say, ‘hey this isnt being nice nor inclusive’ and i guess that portrays why the presence of minorities are important.
We act as a check in our ‘multiracial society’. The bigger picture is that we must learn to be a progressive society, yes, suck it up, but if we could intervene to prevent such situations, why foster a suck it up mindset in the first place.
That being said, it’s okay to make mistakes, but its not okay if we do not learn from our mistakes and repeat it. Also, I think there is need to emphasise on how this fracture is not a minority vs majority issue. First step forward, it is of crucial importance that we see it as a WE/US issue rather than a YOU issue.”
The poster went on to talk about how inappropriate they found some of the activities, quoting a cheer that mentioned private parts, or an activity wherein participants were called upon to say what they termed “obscene things”, and ended the post with questioning “1) the intentions of such activities” and “2) the repercussions of such behaviour during activities.”
Regarding this issue, Associate Professor Yeo told media outfit mothership.sg that the university desires to investigate the matter “more thoroughly” and encouraged the poster to file a report about it. /TISG