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The Sun Xu Saga – breach of trust, scholarship & an absence of good upbringing February 22, 2012

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, China, Singapore.
Tags: , ,

It is clearly late. I have not blogged some thoughts that I want to share. But I feel so compelled to write about the Sun Xu (Chinese: 孙旭) saga. I wasn’t happy when I came to read the news about Sun Xu, who is currently holding a Singapore Government Scholarship to read mechanical engineering at the National University of Singapore. When I logged onto Facebook, I read dozens of threads about him and comments about the saga. Amazingly someone in the civil service defended this scholar, telling us to reflect. I can see what he is trying to say: that the scholar told us off as ‘Dogs’ because we have not behaved well in the eyes of the foreigner.

I have no objection to foreigners and I love to have foreigners here to enrich our culture as much as they add prosperity to our economy. Foreign investment and the rich exchange of cultures in many other intellectual and creative pursuits are what I advocate for. No country can prosper with closed doors. Moreover, we are a tiny city state; and the only way to continual prosperity is by opening our doors intelligently and wisely that we can survive sustainably. It’s granted and it’s straight logic but we need to have a priniciple of respect as a base. As much as we need foreigners, we need our guests to come into our home and show basic manners too. We simply do not like our guests to be rude, especially when we host them with potential benefits such as a full scholarship and a springboard to a lucrative career. Something that pays them at least 5 times over if they remain in their own homeland. If they do not like us, I am perfectly fine with it. But please make them return us all the time and effort to educate them; together with  the money we have given them to study here. Not to forget the condusive environment where there is no riot, no war and minimally low crime rate that few countries in the world can match us.

I also notice a worrying sign. Though not all foreign students are disrespectful, there is an alarming trend where more foreigners come to show some form of disrespect in the form of ‘superiority complex’. The thought appears to come in, thinking that this place is a walk-over and since it is a tiny city state with only 5+ million soft spoken people, it is easier to climb up the social ladder than in their home countries.  Hence, plenty more opportunities to be successful.  And true enough, most of our local born citizens are brought up to be so. Throughout the past 50 years, we haven’t demonstrate in public and neither do we condone riots. We have always been peaceful and soft mannered people,whose first thought is to straighten things out when they are crooked via civilised talk amongst parties. And I am proud of this culture. Where many places in the world fail to do so and a few prefer throwing rotten tomatoes, yelling and fighting as a resort to get even; this is clearly a civic minded society rather than a gangster society.  Obviously, we are not ‘Dogs’ in this respect as Sun Xu has so blatantly put it. The fact this country has given him a lucrative scholarship to take up a precious place at our University, shows we take in foreigners with open arms.

Reading the blog comments and the way he replied the reporters, it is clear he shows no repent until the media stormed in with their comments that he finally made an apology. I don’t think that is enough. NUS (National University Of Singapore) has counselled him but I think they should consider revoking his scholarship. A scholar isn’t anyone whose mouth is filth with vulgarities such as telling his Singaporean benefactors as ‘Dog’s ( gou3 狗) and ‘Wretched Looking Tramp/thief’  ( bie1 san1 “瘪三’ ).

I was on Facebook replying to Irene Ma’s query about what ‘if China asks a question if Singapore will take responsibility since we approve of his scholarship. And since NUS is the school, shouldn’t it educate the entrants on Singapore culture and warm them about causing any civil outrage?‘. My quoted reply was: ‘Then will the parents of this Chinese Scholar take the responsibility for not educating their child properly that in Chinese tradition, you are supposed to respect other people’s culture and be grateful to the teachers who taught you? No one fully knows a person during an interview. Not even in a few years in college. The only time one sees a character is through time. Perhaps NUS has to take the responsibility for being so soft in taking foreigners in so easily’

Singaporeans have no grudges against China. No one has. Why? Simply because our forefathers come from China and that we are of Chinese descent. A close tie is formed because of this. But we are clearly having different cultures from the mainland, which has diversed into a mix of multiracial ethnic flavor on top of being once a British & Japanese colony. They should know how to respect the differences of ours as we respect theirs. Admittingly, we do not like everything they do. In fact, I do not even like the way they talk. But does that mean I have the right to swear? I have come across a couple of students who are similar to Sun Xu and I question why. I thought I was the only one who  had such experiences but now that I read online, I know it is common experience shared by a great many people. The only difference is that I have not had the time  to really look into it.

We do not deny our Chinese roots but neither can we support such gross misconduct. Regardless of race and culture and from which ever country one is from, an educated person of great civility will never express in the manner that Sun Xu has done. We have not ill-treated him by bullying and neither have we deprived him of an education. Unless we have done otherwise, the student could come upfront and call for a formal inquiry. There is perfectly no need to swear or even to write online saying he would use a knife waiting for’Alex’.(Eventually becoming the one who reported the incident) See picture below:

image from the Temasek Times

The heated response doesn’t come out of no where. It has come up from a long pented up frustration that is on the ground for too long.  Hope the lessons stay in. China is a huge country of prospective economic might that can cover the world. But a tiny country should not bend to issues such as this, where it is clearly wrong. And I believe the Chinese governmnet, where previous leaders have advocated admantly, believe in close ties with foreigners alike and that it is only in the light of righteousness that we will see a mighty giant rise with respect and honor. — Karen Fu


1.The New Paper: NUS hauls up China scholar over ‘dog’ comment

2. STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print): PRC scholar from NUS calls S’poreans ‘gangsters’ and ‘dogs’ in online post

3. Yahoo News: S’poreans outraged over PRC scholar’s ‘dog’ comment


1. cash - February 24, 2012

I am Singaporean. My grandfather came from Fujian, because he was smart and driven to succeed. Have you seen the standard of local Singaporean uni students? A large percentage of of the younger generation is spoilt and lazy, and they would rather go clubbing than do schoolwork. Many PRCs are smart and driven, that’s why they are given scholarships in SG. Our best students are given scholarships to USA, but are expected to return to SG after graduation to avoid “brain drain”. Fair is fair. What’s there to complain about? Only losers like Alex Tan who can’t get a local uni degree. GO OVERSEAS LAH ALEX TAN!!!

2. Karen - February 24, 2012

Hi Cash, saw your posts at other blogs. if I recall correctly you have posted at Temasek Times at wordpress. You didn’t leave any email address to your posting and you only supply ‘CASH’ as your pseudo name. If you would care, I would want to know who you are.

Do you know that many PRC students here do not meet the mark at schools too? Most play too. While we admit many to our shores on merit, there are a lot more who dont make the mark. Our students may be lazy (if you think they are), but at the bare minimum, they dont say they would pick a knife and wait for somebody they don’t like. The kind of barbaric action is not allowed here. Our college entrance is stiff and within the education system itself there are flaws. What are they? They are overtly stressful for the wrong reasons. Our tertiary institutions have very tough academic-base qualifications for A levels. Those went abroad are not loosers either. Bad students are those who do not make the mark as a good student both at school as a responsible student. So if you would like to debate, I would prefer you set up a proper face and a name. If local students are lazy, try seeing their results and the way they work at school and out of school. Before I close this reply, may I reiterate that you supply your name and a picture when you reply posts online. Cheers!

3. Mel - February 27, 2012

Hi Karen,
I agree with you totally. Being smart DOES NOT give you the right to be rude and totally disrespectful. The people who win my heart are those who are humble; they don’t have to be highly intelligent. I, myself(a student) do not like the influx of foreigners that are taken in for uni course, especially my course in engineering too. But i have nothing against them. They work hard, they deserve a place. But sad to say that these incidents are getting more and more with time, and demoralizes us as Singaporeans from wanting to befriend them =/

& yeah CASH. No one in Singapore really HATES these FT. I’m sure we will credit them for their USEFUL contributions. However, the thing here is… MOST of them are actually anti-sg or have so much angst again the locals and govt. I mean, they are always welcome to scram if they are not convinced of our local education.. Well, I may sound mean in the next sentence, but at least WE DONT HAVE PEOPLE RAMMING OVER POOR KIDS AND MAKING SURE THEY DIE, just to protect themselves.

4. Karen - February 28, 2012

@mel. Thanks for your support. I suspect CASH’s real identity. I allow different views but others should offer the same to us. Till this moment, the latest news is that sunxu actually gathered support from the PRCs at NUS. It is unbelievable that they actually support someone who is clearly wrong. On th other hand, the Hong Kongers support us in the light of this saga. In lieu of what has happen so far, sun xu should be expelled. The Chinese embassy has given our local authorities full autonomy to handle sunxu’s case. In light of this, we do not offend the Chinese government. In the light of Chinese unity, we have not damaged it either. We must get this message clear that it is this boy who cause the stir. The lessons learnt from this saga are huge. If we, Singaporeans, fail to defend our basic sovereignty and let what is clearly wrong to override everything, no one will take serious respect to us.

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