For those who aren’t following the case, Sun Xu (孙旭) is a NUS student from China on Ministry of Education scholarship. He posted a derogatory remark about Singaporeans on his Ren Ren site in February which caused a public outcry.
NUS Board of Discipline has taken action against Sun Xu. He is fined S$3,000 and has to fulfil three months of community service before he is allowed to graduate. He must take an additional semester and will now graduate in February next year instead of June this year. On top of that, his undergraduate scholarship benefits for the final semester have also been terminated and he has to pay back S$8,200 for his current semester’s scholarship benefits which had been disbursed.
I think the punishment is fair and justified. I know some Singaporeans feel that he was being let off too lightly. But think about it. He posted 1 derogatory remark and got a $3,000 fine, final semester scholarship benefits terminated and 3 months of community service. As much as I also wish to see him have his entire scholarship terminated and forced to repay the entire scholarship money, I think we need to draw a line somewhere and not let emotions cloud our judgement. A punishment must fits the “crime” and I think this is a fair punishment.
For those who still think this punishment is too light, may I ask where do we stop? How about we tie his hands with a rope and make him wear a big signboard over his neck that have descriptions about his crime. Then we parade him along Orchard Road and allow those who are still unhappy to throw rotten fruits and feces at him.
Come on. We are not that kind of society. And Sun Xu should count himself lucky that he is in Singapore. I’m pretty sure some part of the world still does that to people who make derogatory remarks about their people.
Having said all these, I think now is a good time for us to re-look at our foreign scholarship scheme. Why are we giving out so much scholarship to foreigners? Wouldn’t those money be better spend on local students? And how many local students are deprived of a tertiary education because of all these foreigners in our university?
It’s time to put Singaporeans first.