The 82-year-old outspoken public intellectual added: “I and my friends are totally puzzled. Me a racist?”
SINGAPORE — Tay Kheng Soon, a well-known architect and an adjunct professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS), has departed from the university. He shared on Facebook, “I left NUS because they were told that I am a racist.” The 82-year-old outspoken public intellectual added: “I and my friends are totally puzzled. Me a racist?”
Prof Tay thinks that the accusations may have risen from his Facebook post, where he shared a report by an American journalist who claimed that all the tech companies are now headed by Indians. Prof Tay wondered how that made him a racist.
In 2018, the Police questioned Prof Tay regarding a Facebook post he had put up. At that time, Prof Tay had posted a picture of the Genocide Memorial in Armenia, which he visited and wrote that he saw and learnt of the 1.5 million Armenian Christians exterminated by the Ottoman Turks in 1911.
This resulted in a person named Azhari Ali objecting to his characterisation of the event, claiming Tay had “unfairly singled out Islam”, even though that was not the post’s intention.
Prof Tay, behind several iconic structures in Singapore, including the People’s Park Complex and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, is a strong critic of American imperialism on social media. He has also spoken favourably about China’s local and foreign policies.
On the Russian-Ukrainian war, Prof Tay took the position that Russia was provoked to go to war by Ukraine. He griped about the characterisation of Russia’s actions as “unprovoked”.
Prof Tay shared one of his student’s comments who learnt that he had departed from NUS: “those who want to learn from you will still be able to in other forums I guess because you still give talks, but it truly is a loss for NUS students, but that is the university’s problem if they are not going to adopt a more robust strategy for managing students.”
Jack Sim, the founder of the Restroom Association of Singapore, also fondly referred to as Mr Toilet, spoke up for Prof Tay on Facebook. He said: “(Prof Tay) taught in NUS long enough for NUS to know him well. If he was a racist, his students would have complained about him decades ago.”