'My words were bigoted': Ex-Ngee Ann Poly lecturer in racist incident apologises

Linette Lai
The Straits Times
July 9, 2021

Former polytechnic lecturer Tan Boon Lee has issued a formal apology for his racist outburst against an interracial couple, which was caught on video last month.

In a letter issued on Friday (July 9) by his lawyers from Eugene Thuraisingam LLP, the 60-year-old acknowledged that his words were unacceptable and said he was deeply sorry for them.

The incident was "out of character", he said, adding that he had been struggling with a personal matter that had caused him grief and pain.

"Nevertheless, my personal problems are no excuse for my actions," he wrote. "I realise now that although I spoke from a place of deep personal pain, my words were bigoted, discriminatory, and insensitive."

Mr Tan, who used to teach at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, has since been dismissed.

In the letter, he said he had apologised to Mr Dave Parkash and his girlfriend, Ms Jacqueline Ho, as well as their respective families. The video had captured Mr Tan making racist remarks to Mr Parkash and his girlfriend along Orchard Road.

The Straits Times understands that police investigations into the incident are still ongoing.

"I now wish to apologise to those in the wider Singaporean community whom I have hurt and offended with my words," he wrote.

He added that the incident has prompted him to "dig deep" and reflect on his own behaviour and motivations.

"I recognise my shortcomings and wish to learn from this incident," Mr Tan said, adding that he will work on his flaws to ensure that he will not make the same mistakes again.

My name is Dave Parkash. I am a Singaporean. Today i feel embarrassed, humiliated and hurt by how i was treated by another fellow Singaporean. My girlfriend and I was confronted by a man who told us that we should only be dating with people of our own race. He called himself a racist and even blamed us for being racist just because my gf and I are from different races. He humilated us in public by shaming both her and I like as though we did something wrong. I come from a mixed race background and so is my gf. We both are mixed race but we are proud to be Singapoeans. I feel we shouldn't be publicly shamed just because of our skin colour. Love is love. Love has no race love has no religion. You and I should be able to love whoever we wanna love. Lets not become like this man in the video. To this man who may end up watching this, I hope you learn to stop being a racist and let us all live in harmony. Last but not least life's too short, LET US SPREAD LOVE AND NOT HATE AND MAY THIS MESSAGE EDUCATE. #STOPRACISM #Sharethisvideo #SGUnited

Posted by Dave Park Ash on Saturday, June 5, 2021

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