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Iron quote from the Iron Lady – Former UK PM Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher (1979-1990) February 22, 2012

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, faith, human quality.
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“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think, we become.”
– Margaret Thatcher (biopic on her life, Iron Lady, now being shown).

Love the powerful lines. What else could you do online? What else could you do in person to become who you are and what you are made of. — Karen Fu

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

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, China, Singapore.
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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