Ex-Ngee Ann Poly lecturer charged with making racist remarks, insensitive comments on religion
A former Ngee Ann Polytechnic senior lecturer was on Tuesday (May 17) charged with one count of wounding racial feelings and two of making comments prejudicial to the maintenance of religious harmony.
Tan Boon Lee, 61, is accused of making racist remarks to Mr Dave Parkash, 26, in the vicinity of Angullia Park in Orchard Road on June 5 last year.
Mr Parkash, a Singaporean who is half-Indian and half-Filipino, was with his girlfriend at the time.
According to court documents, Tan said: "Fine, you're not from India. I got nothing against you staying in Singapore. I got nothing against you. The only thing is when you're preying on Chinese girl, I tell you the Chinese don't like it."
He also allegedly told Mr Parkash: "If you are proud of your own race, you marry somebody Indian."
Mr Parkash’s girlfriend, who is half-Thai and half-Singaporean Chinese, recorded the confrontation and the video went viral online.
Tan, who is Singaporean, is also said to have made insensitive remarks about Islam during a lecture in Ngee Ann Poly on July 28, 2017.
He is also accused of providing insensitive answers about religion in response to questions on an online forum between Aug 10, 2020 and Sept 13 the same year.
In response to a question on whether there is a psychological explanation for people being overcome by the Holy Spirit, his comments included: "Overcome by the Holy Spirit and evils (sic) spirit or ghost are exactly the same... And people under the influence of drugs or epilepsy have the exact same experience."
Tan, who has since been sacked by Ngee Ann Poly for serious misconduct, also faces one charge of possessing 64 obscene films.
Altogether, he faces four charges.
Tan, who is represented by Johannes Hadi from Eugene Thuraisingam LLP, is out on $5,000 bail and is set to return to court on June 24.
For wounding racial feelings, he can be jailed for up to three years and fined.
The maximum penalty for committing an act prejudicial to the maintenance of religious harmony carries a three-year jail term and a fine.
If convicted of possessing obscene films, Tan can be fined up to $40,000 and jailed for up to a year.