Wandering China

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Chinese students upset over compatriot’s blog [Straits Times]

Chinese from the mainland not getting along with Singaporeans: A Chinese undergraduate scholar  Sun Xu studying in Singapore makes derogatory comments on his blog there are ‘more dogs than humans’ in Singapore, raising the ire of locals.

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Chinese students upset over compatriot’s blog
By Leonard Lim & Tham Yuen-C
Source – Straits Times, published March 28, 2012

CHINESE students at the National University of Singapore have expressed anger at the recent derogatory comments made by one of their compatriots.

They say Mr Sun Xu has tarnished their community’s reputation, and caused tensions between them and their Singapore friends.

The final-year engineering undergraduate wrote in a blog post last month about unpleasant encounters with ‘uncles’, and commented that there are ‘more dogs than humans’ in Singapore.

Third-year business student Grace Shen, 21, said: ‘People are all talking about this in class. My Singapore classmates don’t mean to judge, but they have been asking me why he had to say such things. And because of what he did, many Singaporeans spoke out online about how they don’t like us.’

Like her, many of the 25 Chinese NUS students interviewed yesterday stressed that they did not agree with Mr Sun’s views. They cited instances where Singaporeans had been polite and helped them with directions, schoolwork and errands.

‘I’ve lived in countries like France and Germany before and I find Singapore the most welcoming of foreigners so far,’ said Mr Kingsley Di, a 24-year-old from the science faculty.

On Monday, Mr Sun, 25, was slapped with a $3,000 fine, an official reprimand, and an order to complete three months of community service before he can graduate, by a university disciplinary board.

Some students said they understood why Mr Sun may have made the comments, saying it is not uncommon for people to make racially offensive remarks casually in China.

‘Back home, we are quite racially homogeneous, so people do sometimes label others from a particular region dogs,’ said second-year PhD student Wang Hao, 24, of Jiang Su province.

Still, his actions may lead to repercussions, such as deepening prejudices, first-year engineering student Cai Ya Hong pointed out. ‘Although most Singaporeans are friendly, there are some segments of the population who feel negatively towards foreigners and Chinese nationals, and Sun Xu has just given them more ammunition against us,’ the 22-year-old said.

Mr Zhou Rui, president of the Chinese Scholars and Students Association, expressed regret over Mr Sun’s behaviour. But the engineering PhD student, 26, said he was glad Mr Sun would get to complete his degree and have a chance to contribute to Singapore after that.

Attempts to contact Mr Sun yesterday were unsuccessful. His Facebook page has carried no updates since the apology and a note accepting his punishment posted on Monday afternoon.

But online, the debate raged on over his blog post. Some said he had paid the price, while others felt his punishment was insufficient. Some felt he should be expelled from NUS with immediate effect.

Mr Sun came here in 2003 on a Ministry of Education scholarship, and enrolled at River Valley High School. He then went to Raffles Junior College before enrolling at NUS.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Soh


Filed under: Charm Offensive, Chinese overseas, Culture, Education, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, People, Social, Straits Times, Sun Xu, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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