Education ministry looks like it has something to hide

Ng Yi-Sheng, an acclaimed poet and playwright, was axed by the Ministry of Education from his appointment as arts mentor. No reason was given. Yi-Sheng is gay. Meanwhile Singapore boasts that we have good governance. How do we know if stonewalling questions is the order of the day? Full essay.

13 Responses to “Education ministry looks like it has something to hide”

  1. 1 Poetry in Motion 4 October 2009 at 18:49

    Obviously reasons should always be given to the person concerned in such cases. But maybe we should be wary of jumping to conclusions.

    It looks like Ng Yi-Sheng has been mentioning the mentorship recently in his blog; to some it could unfortunately look like immature bragging.

    If those posts predate the decision to drop him, it raises a couple of possibilities: maybe such public commenting is incompatible with the nature of the mentoring relationship (possible requirements for confidentiality and maturity come to mind); secondly, by publicising it in this way, he gave the opportunity for the Slithereen to write in and complain.

    However, I see no reason why the mentorship should not continue on a voluntary basis if both parties are willing. The payment is so low as to be a token in any event.

    And if writers do not like the way the scheme is run, why not set up their own, voluntary scheme, cutting out the unnecessary civil servants?

  2. 2 LGBT Down! 5 October 2009 at 02:40

    Faggots and LGBTs are a slow poison to our society, and it is absolutely right that the Singapore government put a stop to it before these freaks becomes a cancerous growth that threatens the one-man one-woman family nucleus.

    I’m glad the Singapore government acted swiftly to contain the sneaky agenda of militant LGBTs in Singapore. These freaky creatures are not only highly deformed in terms of their sexual preferences, but they are also highly evil and wicked in trying every ways and means to covertly infiltrate and spread your poison to our younger generations.

    I know the Singapoire government will also act hard soon on one of the most despicable LGBT organization disguised as an art group in Singapore…they are watching, and we will see more revealing truth about how evil and obnoxious you LGBTs are in poisoning the minds and souls of our younger generation.

    • 3 liew kai khiun 6 October 2009 at 18:06

      I believe that “LGBT DOWN” is trying to be naughty rather than serious here.

      Everyone is a minority and an individual, and unfortunately, a freak, at some point of the other. If LGBT DOWN is taking his/her rhetoric seriously, or if there are people in sg who think this way, they should perhaps be sent to places like the Sudan and Saudi Arabia to have a taste of their own medicine.

  3. 4 kai khiun 5 October 2009 at 10:03

    The Ministry of Education would rather take in redundant bankers and mid level administrators who have little interest in teaching other than to pull them through till they get their next job rather than really really committed and inspiring Singaporeans.

    This is what the entire country is about, upwards world class renumeration and downward standards.

    Such incidents are getting depressingly routine.

  4. 5 KAM 5 October 2009 at 15:26

    I don’t know how many more such articles I will have to read, since I like coming to your YB site.

    I am not anti-gay hor, first of all.
    I do see your struggles and the apparent links to your jobs, your activities and your lives in Singapore.
    I do appreciate the global movement or forward steps for gays and the assumption that gay people are another pool of talented people, so much so that PAP also allows gays to be openly employed in the civil service (something to that effect, right?).

    Now, if it is so difficult and unbearable, why not do this? Go away from Singapore and deny this small country of your potential talents?
    If more gays (therefore more men) start to migrate away to countries more tolerant and welcoming to them, maybe it is a win-win situtaion for both gays and the PAP or govt-people who are anti-gays?
    Would this be a good solution for at least mid term, until the time comes when gays are more accepted in this small narrowminded Singapore society?
    Again, I am only a sympathiser and I have one gay friend too. I am sincerely tired of reading gay-discrimination conspiracy theories which often cannot be verified.

    Back to you…

  5. 6 dyno 6 October 2009 at 06:43

    The government does a lot of things right including, it seems, navigating well through the recent economic crisis. It therefore seems strange that pragmatism and rationality (not to mention fair-mindedness) go out the window when it comes to one thing — homosexuality. Ultimately, we’re losing a lot our most creative home-grown Singaporean talent to other countries as gays find it too stifling to work here due to the kind of discrimination and high-handed treatment which Ng Yi-Sheng seems to have suffered. Can Singapore really afford this?

  6. 7 MG 6 October 2009 at 19:51


    Do you remember the song we used to sing together?

    This is my country, this is my flag!
    This is my future, this is my life!
    This is my family, these are my friends!
    We are Singapore, Singaporeans!

    And we are not leaving.

  7. 8 Anonymous 6 October 2009 at 22:10

    YB wrote, “A Freedom of Information Act that gives citizens the right to know what information is being held about themselves provides the little guy with recourse against the powerful.

    Precisely, the powerful in Singapore does NOT want to share its power in any sense. Take a look at how the people in the alternative political parties are treated. Thus, I’m not holding my breath for the Freedom of Information Act. It will not happen in the near future. Maybe after one old man drops dead.

  8. 9 yawningbread 7 October 2009 at 13:15

    Poetry in Motion –

    You may have a point. There may be other possible reasons I am not aware of. But I hope you agree with the principle that the Ministry owes Yi-Sheng a truthful explanation.

    If “immature bragging” is the reason, this then begs the question – why not say it as the reason? What is there to hide? Better yet, why not just tell hm to stop writing about it on his blog rather than terminate him abruptly?

    • 10 Poetry in motion 7 October 2009 at 23:37

      I do agree with your first para; my first sentence says “Obviously reasons should always be given to the person concerned in such cases.” It’s a basic principle of natural justice.

      His blog implied he expected to hear from them in a few days, but I don’t know if he has.

      What should really happen under natural justice principles is that before being terminated, he should not only have any concerns put to him, but should be given the right of reply, and/or the opportunity to deal with any concerns, before any decision was made. But as this is stated to be a trial period, that complicates things (was he told of a trial period?).

      I hope he at least got paid for the time he put in. And I hope he decides to continue mentoring if he found it rewarding.

  9. 11 justbefair 28 October 2009 at 16:54


    Make a list of those whose services have been terminated because of their sexual orientation and put it up on your blog. Add on to it as the numbers come in. Both the terminated and terminator must be named.

  10. 12 Arix 15 November 2009 at 03:36

    This article was perfectly fine, until it started insinuating an anti-gay conspiracy. Yes, I agree that Singapore should have a Freedom of Information Act that should probably apply to termination of employment, but to immediately conclude that Ng Yi-Sheng was sacked because he was gay is jumping to unwarranted conclusions. Your article started off by saying that he was involved in political and gay activism; how does this translate into saying that he is gay? The logical process does not follow up.

    Being a CAP alumni myself, I know a number of people mentioned in this article semi-personally: Angeline Yap, Alfian Sa’at, Haresh Sharma. Leaving aside Yap, as far as I know, Sa’at and Sharma are still part of the mentoring scheme; my brother was mentored by Alfian 3 years previously. I myself attended a workshop at CAP run by Sharma.

    If the MOE was as blatantly homophobic as you claim it is, why are these two still part of CAP?

    Seriously, the insinuations of the LGBT Lobby are becoming increasingly shrill and lacking in reason. Yes, the LGBTs have won the day in the West by twisting politicians’ arms (and in USA, probably with electoral bribes and so on), but the results have merely been more resentment from those whom the LGBT activists are now tarring as “homophobics”, a term which has become nothing more than a convenient insult for anyone who wants to express an opinion contrary to that which the LGBT Lobby forced the APA and allied institutions to accept in the 1970s.

    Perhaps it is time for the LGBTs to follow in the steps of the feminists and come to the proper negotiation and discussion table.

    History will make the final judgement, in the end.

  11. 13 dudette 20 November 2009 at 23:25

    @Arix: If the MOE was as blatantly homophobic as you claim it is, why are these two still part of CAP?”

    You might want to know that many teachers have been advised to leave for being openly and proudly gay, Otto Fong for example. Haresh and Alfian are sort of not-so loud gay.

    Straight people. Sheesh. Do you mean you are okay with marrying your wife (if you’re a man), and with throwing a wedding party, telling your friends and blogging about it, and then losing your job? We’re here and we’re not leaving, we’re going to educate you all on every injustice until we’re equal. We pay full taxes and we’re going to be treated equal here.

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