In a post by Instagram @minorityvoice, an anonymous writer shared about her encounter with a racist discipline mistress from when she was in NJC. The writer wrote that she saw a glimmer of hope that something can be done after the news of the Ngee Ann Poly lecturer Tan Boon Lee facing disciplinary actions.
“I come from NJC with a discipline mistress, X, that the institution continues to hold in high regard. I was part of esteemed student bodies then but those were inconsequential in shielding my peers/me from racism. I could not understand why she hated me so then but multiple incidents later, I understood that these were blatant racist incidents.”
Some of the racist actions by the discipline mistress X includes –
(1) When the writer applied for Financial Assistance, X made her stand at the entrance of her office for 30 minutes such that she had to explain to every teacher/HOD that walked past why she was there. On the other hand, non-Indian students who submitted their applications could see her immediately in confidence.
“Another time, she made me meet her and perused my application only to chide me repeatedly for requiring financial assistance.”
(2) Another time, when the writer stood outside the general office waiting for her peers, X came up to the writer to chide the latter for having her socks too low. When the writer pulled up her socks, X claimed that the writer rolled up her skirts, to which the writer had to lift up her blouse to show X that it wasn’t rolled up. On the contrary, when non-Indian students wore ankle-length/lime green socks, she did not make it an issue.
“I had never been disciplined, let alone for my uniform, in all the years I had been at school… throughout my 2 years, she would go out of her way to do this – seek me out and find a non-existent fault”
(3) X also once pointed at the writer’s prayer strings on her wrist “which were by no means eye-catching”, and X “found it appropriate to make a religiously insensitive comment.”
(4) Other few Indian students also had similar sentiments about X, all of whom allegedly were being singled out for causing a ruckus, or for breaking the rules “with non-existent facial hair” or that their hair was too messy.
“It was not; she had curly hair typical of many Indians. The Indians learn to spot her and take the longer way around just to avoid her.”
(5) Years later, when the writer went back to NJC for an event and saw X, X went up to the writer to ask why the writer was there, and if the writer had permission.
According to the writer, X now heads counselling efforts in NJC.
The comment section on the post noted that X may be a Ms Sharon Phua Phek Heng who according to the NJC website is the “HOD/SW (Counselling) & Boarding”. They also shared that she has been “like this” for many years, but NJC chooses to ignore it.
We must take such reports seriously, we cannot let racist educators influence our youths! Not Tan Boon Lee, not X.