Did the leaders of YALE-NUS lie?

I wrote to Yale’s president after Alfian Sa’at shared his version of events about the cancellation of his “dissent” module at Yale-NUS in Singapore. Please consider writing to Yale’s president to ask for the re-opening of the inquiry with an unbiased representative, now that there is fresh and convincing evidence that the Yale report is wrong. His email is [email protected] Please feel free to share my letter with friends and media contacts.

Dear Yale President Peter Salovey:

I hope it has come to your attention that the narrative and analysis of the Yale report on the cancellation of the Yale-NUS learning module “Dialogue and Dissent in Singapore” has been refuted by the instructor concerned, playwright Alfian Sa’at.

According to the administrative leadership of Yale-NUS, the learning module was cancelled because of (1) insufficient academic rigor and (2) the legal risks posed to international student participants. In a series of Facebook posts, compiled into one page by Academia.SG, Alfian has provided proof that (1) he was never informed throughout the four-month discussion of the learning module that the proposed module lacked academic rigor. In formulating his proposal he had, after all, taken guidance from a sample module sent to him. In fact, the feedback from the college staff was consistently about the “politically sensitive” aspects of the module, feedback to which Alfian responded by making changes to the module willingly; and (2) he was acutely aware of the potential legal risks posed to students. In fact, he raised the issue first with the staff and then changed the order of activities so that the sign-making workshop would come after, not before, the walking tour of Hong Lim Park. There was no attempt at any “simulation” of a protest at Singapore’s only legal venue for protests. Having worked in Singapore’s arts scene for many years, Alfian is well aware of Singapore’s political and legal boundaries.

Alfian accepts that it is Yale-NUS college’s prerogative to cancel the learning module, but rightly defends his character, motives, and competence against the impugnment of the Yale and media reports. His version of events is too different from that told to your representative for there not to be a further inquiry to be made by an unbiased reporter. For the purpose of full disclosure, Alfian is an honorary advisor of Singapore Unbound, the NYC-based literary non-profit that I founded and still head. I have seen screenshots of the WhatsApp and email messages between Alfian and Yale-NUS, which all support his version of events. Alfian did not share these messages with your representative at his interview because he did not expect that the Yale-NUS leaders would give out a narrative so different from his. If the Yale report is wrong, the very least Yale-NUS could do to repair the reputational harm done to Alfian Sa’at is to issue a public apology. If the Yale-NUS leadership misled your representative, they should be removed from their positions of public trust.

I will be sending copies of this letter to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yale Daily News.

Jee Leong Koh
Founder and organizer, Singapore Unbound




21 Responses to “Did the leaders of YALE-NUS lie?”

  • Taxpayers money abused:

    Grant or supplement has always been the problem. Things become fake and abused like the PolyClinic subsidies.

    Even “father” also no choice, otherwise no land allocated to build “house of G” or “M**que”. Even “father” also shake their heads in despair.

    That’s why it must be made into LAW that Grants must be abolished. The price must be made cheaper inclusive of the grants so that Grants cannot be abused as Political tools.

    Don’t blame the U, blame the soul-less in the U.

    VTO solve the problem.

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  • The Ministry of Elucidation:

    I find the whole thing very strange.

    1) Sa’at has all along been critical of the Spore Govt for many years. He has a booked titled “Spore you are not my country”. So why did they ask him to lecture at Yale-NUS in the first place? Shouldn’t Yale-NUS have pre empted the “political sensitivity” Sa’at might bring? So the actions now seem kind of reactive?

    2) I am also perplexed and amused that Yale and NUS want to partner each other. Both are so culturally different. I mean in the West, students would be encouraged to be critical of their political leaders but deemed disrespecful in Spore.

    3) Liberal means there’s nothing you can’t talk about in the classroom. Unis’ roles are to nuture and develop critical thinking skills. So if people are too scared to analyse and be critical of political situations, then what is the purpose of university education? Why not just have robots? They’ll be whatever you program them to be.

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  • Great Asia:


    If God were to choose between Socialism and Capitalism, which will he choose?

    All the angmoh worshiping shallow monkey!

    Ha ha ha!

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  • Harder Truths:

    Lying is such a dirty word.

    Academia do not lie – they just change the definitions. Yale-NUS have decided to replace a module that is not culturally significant with another that is more ethnically compatible with the multi-ethnic diaspora of a predominantly Asian culture.

    In other words – there will be no form of dissent on this tiny island run by communists – EVER.

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  • oxygen:

    EDUCATION HAS NO BOUNDARIES, otherwise the country will sink into extinction.

    Why are people SO STUPID beyond just empty in intellects?

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  • tan kin lian pea brained:

    70% sheep believe in the pap hype about nus ntu smu. their eyes are so short sighted by pap lies.

    70% sheep forgets the world is a very large place. from kindergarten to university under pap thumb is NEVER any good for anyone.

    70% sheep should have done what pap S$m Ljs and pap S$m CBs are doing. send their precious children overseas, to London Us to uk Oxbridge to usa Ivies. only then can Singapore improve by the young coming home to vote against pap and forming New Government.

    want a Yale education? go to usa. why have an adulterated one in pap Singapore. it is as good as neither here nor there aka waste of time.

    on this note, we really laugh at usa Yale. It is such a prestigious brand. now tainted by associating with pap lying liars. 70% sheep truly stupid to have wasted their children’s time in the local place. could have gone to usa Yale and then truly have a world class education.

    don’t believe? see where pap thieves send their children. just look at lky clown children. other than the sickly one probably local only because his mama already dead, all the others whose mama is alive are overseas. enough said.

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  • Tragic,Demo dies in the dark:

    Democracy dies in the dark, so stated by Washington Post. But if it dies with the compliance of WP to power therebe, financial support therebe or whatever excuses therebe to promote self existence, self glorification n self gratification, it is not just simple tragic, it is a mockery of the soul which it has self inflicted by tempering with the dignity of the individual n the value of a human soul self inclusive.

    Chinese has seen too much thru its dynasties founded on patriotism n died upon treason n betrayal of the divinity bound oaths! This seems to resonate across the earth thru times. It seems civilization is false claim upon life existence while wisdom n true go on a cyclic life n death. This is the greatest lie men has inflicted upon himself. 2019 isn’t different from time immemorial. Simply therefor, there has been no civilization in the human world only glorified human performance in arts n science but not in human himself.

    Charity has its cost n duly given by men who aren’t charitable but tragically with a shrewd agenda to corrupt n satisfy human ego n greed. So Yale n many falsely acclaimed institution regardless self or corruptive satisfier of greed n ego is willing to forgo what it believes it has attained what Buddhism claimed to be its soul which simply attainment of a selfless state with emotiness in totality (无自我:四大皆空) or similarly messaged by Jesus as erroeously propagated as Jesus cometh to save sinner adulterating the authorized version as claimed y all Christians n infuriates the old follower as betrayal by displacing brutal revenge with absorption of their sins. jesus cometh to take away the sin of the world n not to save sinners. Such adulteration put human where it has been since time immemorial. Jesus hopes by taking away the sin, human would have no sin to seek. The trust that sinners r save provides instead an insurance n wisdom to sin is to be saved. Sin prevails in human n 2019 years has past the DNA of envy, greed, depravation still circulating n the world changes in form but not in soul n spirit.

    Even simple logic that men come together to form nation n ten political parties to run n lead it o logic even the barest of logic will put nation before party n self. But facts shows tyranny breeds from stupidity of men to revert the order including today US Republicans n the Hongkong dumb youths! SIN has fooled the world by literary follow WP Democracy dies in darkness so the pap mission Let there be no transparency, thus no responsibility nor accountability as they fade into darkness!

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  • Birds Of Same Feather:

    Isn’t this the expected outcome all along?
    Why pretend, when you are not a democracy but a dictatorship?
    Isn’t it about money with this willing partnership?

    A dictatorship using a carrot to attract a greedy entity to legitimize the autocratic rule and evil, wayanging fake rule of law and fake democracy to western societies?

    The only consolation is that it is a Pisai regime with limited influence and dafts are experiencing limited of what is happening up north.

    The CCP has learned such sophisticated wayang from this Pisai and since then, this greedy evil regime has exploded and now threatening the world peace.

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  • Confucius says:

    “What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others… Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.”

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  • some entity has good intention:

    //I am also perplexed and amused that Yale and NUS want to partner each other. //

    some entity has good intention ? if cannot work from the outside, try to change / work from the inside ?

    just like some good people trying to change the white idiots from inside (joining them ?) not knowing that the KEY white idiots are hardcore stubborn monkey idiots beyond redemption – the white idiots know how to play game well by giving you the right level of hope (each time buying more time to prolong their stay) and “will not do anything” for your hope to really materialize ? that’s why the white idiots must be VO ?

    the white idiots will always come out with even BIGGER VALUE WAYANG (e.g 4 = 5, selected = elected and other statotuotry ACTs) to eclipse your wings of hope and then send their white idiotic volunteers to give you some cheap LITTLE sweets to pacify the sour taste ??

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  • CI the pap cystical incestor:

    Harder Truths:
    Lying is such a dirty word.

    Academia do not lie – they just change the definitions. Yale-NUS have decided to replace a module that is not culturally significant with another that is more ethnically compatible with the multi-ethnic diaspora of a predominantly Asian culture.

    In other words – there will be no form of dissent on this tiny island run by communists – EVER.

    well said.

    alas. lying pap S$m thieving liars have another fault besides lying which is thieving S$m via a pliant parleement.

    anyway. HK and JKT riots root cause is the under employment and joblessness of youth, over priced public housing, and over crowding.

    as more and more 70% sheep and their children become under employed or jobless in own land of birth filled with millions of aliens FTs PRs with fake degrees, and over priced HDB rental units getting smaller and smaller and values going to zero fast, and local born being bullied by aliens FTs PRs manning customs queues, the same shall happen sama sama in 70% sheep land.

    what is worse is 70% sheep all NSF NSR so can handle all kinds of weapons which means the resulting chaos shall be much worse for once great Singapore.

    70% sheep must not let this happen by doing the right thing which is to vote out pap and vote into power a New Government by a better group of citizens.

    There is NO OTHER way. Voting out pap is the only way. New Government by a better group of citizens then and only then can right all the current wrongs wrought by pap S$m thieves.

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  • non-creative 'robot':

    //Liberal means there’s nothing you can’t talk about in the classroom.//

    analogy lar.

    white idiots may say they want talented and creative sinkies ?

    but then the white idiots will list down 998 conditions on what constitute “talented and creative” (conditions only apply to daft sinkies) – effectively asking for a natural non-talented and non-creative ‘robot’ ?

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  • zshame on Yale:

    Shame on Yale. A few millions can succumb Yale to dump its hard earned tradition by its founders n ancesters into the sewer! It is advisable for Yale to tear down all the lofty ideal than to be shamed by its presence for all its future academia n students. Presumably the shame will make students think twice before seeking admission to Yale! It is already a shame when Yale agreed to shake hand with a regime who bulls as it strips of in the dark the very tenets of democracy which Yale often boasts about.
    To quote an old teacher recruited from Britain who quitted when she found out her Singapore citizens colleagues who she feel r as good if not much more academically qualified n dedicated to teaching r shamely poorly treated by the ministry of education. She left with her message of justice esp for a govt to her own people!

    The Trump impeachment process n saga shows the very importance of all bureaucrats to put loyalty to the nation above all else, party, alliance etc else it is just treason n violation of the divinely sworn oath of office. As justice is the last resort defending the dignity of an individual n holding the human value of man in honour, judicial institution n individual if succumbed to the power therebe, the sign of collapse is imminent as the power therebe will be above the laws n the judiciry institution n individual will similarly be exterminated if it shows even an ounce of conscience which may surface as age n deadth draw near in a human cycle.

    Regardless how bizzard it is, even the hardened criminal could not hide his fear that he no long able to .corrupt the power therebe or individual to cover up his crime n the fear will crumple him to seek for divine pardon before kit is too late. Strange n sound ludicrous but that surface all thru times even the presence!

    Human seems so talented but greed n envy strickened stupidity usually gets the better of him regardless how talented he is. True, low IQ deserves compassion but stupidity is criminal!

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  • The hidden hand:

    Just guessing why.

    Someone at Y-N was quite liberal is welcoming.
    But someone reported and a big shot not happy. So someone highly paid do the dirty job of unwelcoming.

    Every place is controlled.
    70% love to live in a highly controlled place.

    The Ministry of Elucidation: I find the whole thing very strange.

    1) Sa’at has all along been critical of the Spore Govt for many years. He has a booked titled “Spore you are not my country”. So why did they ask him to lecture at Yale-NUS in the first place? Shouldn’t Yale-NUS have pre empted the “political sensitivity” Sa’at might bring? So the actions now seem kind of reactive?

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  • TruBlu:

    Thats why it is a LOONG-running WAYANG of never-ending *ACTS* N *SCENES*?

    On the one hand,* THEY (HE N HIS ) want to SHOW to the OUTSIDE WORLD HOW OPEN THE GOVT HERE is.
    But when THEY will go to all extent to STOP other sgs from telling things as they actually are?

    So, MANUFACTURE EXCUSES to *stop* the show before their true characters are being revealed?

    Its all a wayang n will CONtinue to be so long as majority of sgs keep dreaming n oppo sgs remain somewhat fragmented.

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  • HDB flat depreciate to ZERO:

    Yale students in the US should demand to end tie-up with NUS.

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  • lying pap S$m thieving liars:

    HDB flat depreciate to ZERO:
    Yale students in the US should demand to end tie-up with NUS.

    Although we are Singaporeans, we agree.

    Yale is a world brand. Liberalism. The true liberalism.

    Yale brand is tainted by associating with a lying clan of S$m grabbing parleement approved pap thieves.

    Yale is hoodwinked by the whitewashed fake lying pap S$m grabbing facade.

    Yale must quickly issue the separation letter before its once great brand gets tarnished further and become 3rd one.

    We are Singaporeans. We stand by what we are saying above. Because the Singapore today under 3rd and soon 4th generation pap in NOT at all the same as the Singapore under 1st generation pap.

    Beginning with 2nd generation, the S$m thieving mindset started to creep in. Today S$m grabbing has become the de facto pap modus operandi. sad. but true.

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  • George:

    Khaw BW and Tan CJ are leaders who set a bad example for Singaporeans, VOTE THEM OUT !

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  • US shd be hilarious,:

    Americans should now be hilarious now since their much desired LKY is now their President. Believe it or not Trump has exactly the same raging n gesture as American political idol. Strangely too, LHY’s son LHL loves n adores Trump so eotically beyond Normao sanity, seemingly considerably more than his disciplinarian father whom he betrayed for ding donging with his last wish between filiality n political capitalization that he would rather spend a hefty S$28 millions perhaps much more to give Trump n his love-hate Kim a glorious time in Singapore much ado of nothing but Kim happily returned with compliant bureaucrats which by their very nature shift their bootlicking to .finance his new nukes n Trump equally happy much inspired by LKY ethos which exceedingly applauded by aliens including USA but drew much fear upon “sue until your pants drop” with perfect score perhaps as his other children disclosed posthumously via compliant bureaucrats which by bootlicker nature shift their bootlicking loyalty to whoever give out the rewards n the sibling felt its blunt as they tried to fulfil their father death wish.

    Trump is doing what LKY will do but why Americans aren’t happy with what their political idol fake only name otherwise all r matching! Trump was repeated quoted about getting away even he shoot a person but Their idol instead of a gun he used his knuckles n cul de sac. Trump seemed to excel verbal abuse of his political opposition but zamericans polical idol would rather gained philanthropic credit by bankrupting them or in the name of internal security put them away without trial n limitless term which has one breaking the record of, Mandela who was Nobel Laurated unfortunately not reating the award after him.
    Singaporeans congratulated all Americans in the greatest sincerity for having your decades wish grantly. Hallelujia, God blesses!l

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  • they may come back:

    aiyoh. many decent ppl try to plp the white idiotic policies that they make statements (thinking that it is smart) without appreciating that they may come back (an equally smart matching response) to haunt them for a long time to come – e.g 4 = 5, selected = elected, honest mistakes, “inside is not within”, etc.

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  • isn't this expected?:

    When Yales succumbed to trade its lofty ideals of their founders for $ they have lost their courage to get them honorably without brownosings to bananas cheating on their kind n forgiving SINers superscum
    What is more the cracks deepens with a super scum extremo as their President which SIn Super scum apathises yo part with$28 ++ millions with dubious distrbution proportion
    Really super duper scums of SIN n NK. Expect more shits from SIN SBs hiding in brown sause. Super scums, SBs n CBd.

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