Wednesday, March 04, 2009

3 warning letters to termination...

I have a friend who once got into some financial difficulties because his business failed. He had many things on his mind and sank into depression. His life fell apart as he tried to fix one problem after another. One day he got home at night and tried to turn on the lights....but there was no electricity. Singapore Power cut his electricity off because he wasn't able to pay for his electricity bill. That was the day he sank so low he wanted to jump out of the window to end his life. Tears rolled down his cheeks..... he spent the entire night thinking if life was still worth living. The next morning, all the fishes in his fish tank were dead and food in the refrigerator was turning bad. He called Singapore Power to ask why they had disconnected his power to cause him so much distress. They told him that they had sent him 3 warning letters..... 3 warning letters, that to him was a cruel joke. He was in financial trouble and had more than a hundred letters on his desk - demanding payment, warning letters, threatening letters from lawyers, red letters from creditors, etc many of which he didn't dare to open because they contain threats of legal action or demanded payment which he couldn't make. My friend narrowly escaped bankruptcy but it took him 8 years to put his life back together. Looking back the lowest point of his life the night Singapore Power terminated his electricity - he tells people now that he was once so broke he couldn't afford electricity.

I was reading about the NTU stabbing and suicide case and this part caught my attention:

"NTU engineering student received three warning letters.........Two weeks ago, his scholarship was terminated." - Straits Times 04 March 2009.

They didn't even bother to talk to him or counsel him when they terminated his scholarship. They don't even how troubled the student was when they did this to him. The Straits Times article put it as if the university 'went all out' to help the student by sending the 3 warnings letters. I can't imagine how insensitive and bureaucratic Singapore has become. Can't they call him up to talk to him and see if he needs help. It did not occur to our bureaucrats that terminating his scholarship can be emotionally shocking.

This is Singapore. When you are poor or financially distressed, the govt does not send a social worker to talk to you. The govt makes its presence felt in your time of trouble by cutting off your electricity. ....they have every right to do that because they sent you 3 warning letters.
NTU student was warned 3 times The school had asked him to seek help for his studies but he didn't.
Wed, Mar 04, 2009The Straits Times

NANYANG Technological University student David Hartanto Widjaja was warned not once, but three times, that he had to buck up or lose his scholarship. NTU engineering student received three warning letters, copies of which were sent to his parents in Jakarta, The New Paper reported on Wednesday. But Widjaja's grades did not improve.Two weeks ago, his scholarship was terminated.
In the past year, the 21-year-old NTU engineering student received three warning letters, copies of which were sent to his parents in Jakarta, The New Paper reported on Wednesday. But Widjaja's grades did not improve.Two weeks ago, his scholarship was terminated. On Monday, Widjaja, and Indonesian, stabbed Associate Professor Chan Kap Luk, 45, in the back in his office during a discussion on the student's final year project , then slit his own wrists before fleeing and falling four floors to his death.


Quitter said...

SOP : 3 warning letters. S'pore used to be a very good place to
live; a place to call home. It has
evolved into a place unrecognisable. Lucky no NS for my sons. I'm such a Lucky ex-Singaporean

Anonymous said...

Lucky, i dont help u on this. Warning letter will come once your GPA falls below 2.0. 3 consecutive semesters below 2.0, u r out of the skool. This is the rule of NUS. I think similar rules apply for NTU. U dont perform, u r out. This is written clearly on this contract when he receive his "scholarship", or "bond". Lecturers, seniors, fellow students are always there to help. He took our country so much money, n yet slack on his studies, will the gov let him live on so easily?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2.55

You're right and Lucky, please look at the issue from the point of view of the Uni. As pointed out, the deceased studied on taxpayer's money and rightfully if he doesn't cut it, he's out of the game. If some sort of blame is to be found, I will point the finger at the selection process.The way we are going about attracting foreign talent makes me wonder whether we are scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

Anyway, I just got the third warning letter from my town council. Threw it straight into the refuse chute!

Cordon Tan

LuckySingaporean said...

anon 2:55,

...and so those are the rules ...apply them mechanically .. you want help go and find someone. Of course, NTU did no wrong they applied the rules. My whole article is about how we can be more humane in this we can do things better. There is no question that the student should have done better, that he didn't fulfil the criteria, that the university has the right to terminate his scholarship.

The student was a foreigner who took the Asean scholarship. The reason why we gave him this scholarship must be he showed some promise. When he started to fail, we can either send him those letters or have a heart to heart talk with him....hold our hand out to help him. Here in Singapore we prefer those letters....if he need help, he should go book a slot with his lecturer. People are not machines. Why can't we be more pro-active to reach out to students in trouble.

LuckySingaporean said...

Cordon Tan,

..So the university is right. Please look at the outcome! One suicide and a professor in hospital. Is there no lesson learnt here? ..except to talk about who is legally right to do what.

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice that there are many foreign students in our higher learning institutions ? Why our gahmen gave so many places in these institutions to foreigners instead of local Singaporeans ?? And why use our tax payers' money to sponsor scholarships for foreign students instead of locals ???

Our gahmen loves foreign talent ?? How about replacing our present ministers with foreign talent ?? And then we will have talent in the gahmen at a cheaper price too !

Anonymous said...

Sorry no offense, but how do u know the skool has not talked to him? Not take good care of him? Not ask him why his studies is falling?

He has been given more than a year to "buckle up" liao lah... GPA 2.0 are really for those ppl who dont study at all n skip all lectures.

I feel Lucky is picking up the wrong story to prove a point la..

Anonymous said...

No human touch ...
i remembered the first year i started to work, the company has a probation policy of 6 months for new employee. And i was unlucky to get a reservist call-up on the 4th month on my new employment.
I called mindef to explain my situation and hoping to get them to defer my call-up but to no avail. The reason mindef gave me,
"mindef policy for new employment's probation is 3 months.... "

Ghost said...

The student was in Singapore on a scholarship. To have the scholarship, he must maintain a certain score on his GPA. If he fail to maintain it, the scholarship will be taken away. That's the way it is all over the world. NTU sent three warning letters, but unfortunately the student was unable to cope with the studies. The scholarship was then taken away. NTU didn't do anything wrong here, this is just a case of the student being unable to cope with the stress and the work.

LuckySingaporean said...

anon 3:40,

Actually I don't know what his problem is. I also can't explain why a maths olympiad participant cannot get better grades.

I do know the school did not talk to him based on 2 things - it was reported that he mistook the prof. as the one causing his scholarship termination and he was so upset he killed himself. You will be surprise how many tragedies can be prevented by people getting in touch with those who need help.

Come on guys. I know this guy did not meet the criteria to hang on to his scholarhip, the university has every right to terminate him just as Singapore Power has every right to terminate my friend's electricity. This whole thing is not about who has the right to do what. It is about how we can do things better and avoid future tragedies.

LuckySingaporean said...


The legal right of NTU is not in question here. I handle contractors all the time, some can't get the work done on time, others can't meet the specs, and so on. Contract termination is the most painful thing to do. The first thing you do is talk. ...all I'm asking is why nobody talk to this student.

Anonymous said...

Now is 3 ah? Thought used to be two strikes and you are out!

Wah see? They are more "compassionate" now. LOL

Mart said...

Singapore isn't exactly trying to attract more people to do social work. My fiancee is a counselor, and to me, she's a bit overloaded due to not enough workers. Lucky she has the passion for the job.

The warning letters may be a tad impersonal, but after 3 letters, I would think that there has to be someone in the university that will reach out to him. The Straits Times report you quoted below wasn't very conclusive. Thus, while you cannot assume that no one bothered to talk to him, you also cannot assume that the university did not try to do so.

I don't think we could, or even should, start point fingers. It is a real sad tragedy for this to happen. My only hope is that the university will take some lessons from this and tweak its current policies to prevent any other such incidents.

Anonymous said...

Why so many foreign students on scholarship?
Because there are not enough local students good enough for scholarship!

Why only warning letters and termination?
There are so many other foreign talents in the queue good enough for the scholarship. Where got time and luxury for counselling those who did not make it?

Why waste time repairing a TV set when a new one is cheaper and better?

Anonymous said...

You don't go into a professor's room armed with a knife unless you think that if talks fail and you do not get what you want,you may want to use it.

This country places so much emphasis on grades that it has lost sight of a more important prerequisite to good scholarship. Stable psychological makeup . Able to take hard knocks, falling down and picking oneself up again. I am convinced that we did not look deeply enough into the psyche of the person before we awarded the scholarship.

Taxpayers' money should be spent wisely not that I am proposing that the president unlocks with the second key.

Cordon Immortal Tan.

Anonymous said...

From the reports, the student appears to be addicted to gaming which might be why his grades suffered.

I do not think it is a matter of helplessness, or a life and death situation. He chose to escape the consequences of his own doing by dying.

He is 21 years old, should be responsible enough to manage his time properly, especially when he is a scholar. His case does not merit the same treatment as your friend who has done his best but was hit by something beyond his control.

We can't expect the authorities to be accountable for irresponsible behaviour of those who has caused and can do something about their own predicament.

Anonymous said...

"How about replacing our present ministers with foreign talent ?? And then we will have talent in the gahmen at a cheaper price too !"

You sure we won't end up with more KBWs and old age holiday destinations?

Anonymous said...

i have to disagree here. every scholar knows that he die die oso has to maintain his grades above a certain level. three reminders shd have been more than sufficient to wake up his ideas.

the very fact that he did intend to do harm by bringing along a knife (some of his supporters had ridiculously argued that "what if" it had been prof who brought the knife???), this showed up the kind of person he was. a normal functioning adult would first think of some conventional channels to appeal against the revocation.

the only reason why some pple feel sorry for him is that he was cowardly enough to take his own life. Had it been a fatal attack, i wonder if these pple would sing a different tune.

btw, a "balanced" view of this matter does not necessarily mean that we shd deflect some of the blame on the prof or system. it cld have been that this was a poor chap who was just so addicted to the computer that he totally neglected his studies, despite repeated reminders from his lecturers/friends.

i have nothing against him, just his dastardly act.

LuckySingaporean said...

anon 4:25,

Computer game addiction is a growing problem. We either proactively tackle it or we tell the sufferers to cure themselves.

Whatever it is, when people do badly it could be due to girlfriend problems, gambling problems, drinking etc. There is always a reason behind a person's destruction and ultimately you can always say the individual is responsible for himself. It is optional to help him - but don't we want to avoid tragedies such as the one we have seen? Look at the consequences of not reaching out to help those in trouble. People are not perfect, they get into trouble neglect their responsibilities...

Anonymous said...

Lucky Tan is a classic armchair critic.
Just imagine sending out counsellors/social workers to every hardship case before issuing more warning letters.
Wah lau, chor mo eng leh.
Of course we can have the luxury of such a humane system. The question is does the consummer mind paying more? Nothing comes free, right?

LuckySingaporean said...

anon 4:49,

How many students get their scholarship revoked? I don't think it is so routine. If so many students' scholarship get revoked, then we should re-examine our selection process like what someone else said.

If it just a handful, what is the problem of counselling the student to help him. I thought each student is assigned a mentor lecturer?

Tan Ah Beng said...

Guess he was still not accustomed himself to the Singapore way yet. Here, if the gahmen gives you a dollar, they expect five dollars worth of effort from you, or more.

So no good grades = no more money. The school was lenient enough to send him not one, but three warning letters.

a kind of chicken said...

Let me come out strongly in support of Lucky Tan's point of view.

If u put someone under a lot of pressure, he will have a tendency to self destructive behaviour.

Maybe the guy was under so much pressure because of two warning letters, that he could not think straight, is it so impossible to understand. The guys mind was so screwed he commited murder and suicide, what makes u think he could study even if he wanted to?

I know many here have valid political reasons to dislike foreign talent, but the guy is also a human.

I have been guilty of my share of arogance but please put yourself into another persons shoes before passing judgement. Can you think of no event that will drive u crazy? Different ppl have different triggers.

Note: I am not campaigning for rule changes etc, etc... but rules are for efficiency, that the rules say u have to die, does not mean that it is just that u die.

Please guys, have a heart.

Kaffein said...

You know, when I was living in Singapore, I used to think the student deserved it.

I mean c'mon, THREE letters!

Either he's totally blind, or he's stuffed up in games, or playing hookey in his studies that he can no longer regain the ground he had lost.

Until I migrated and lived in Australia.

Just a recent case where the Aussie girl was reported missing in Croatia. Being a Singaporean, I exclaimed - she's just one 'bloody' girl and the whole country is up in arms to know what happened to her! Wow... what a waste of police resources, investigations and press coverings!

Then it dawned upon me that the AU people see life as precious. Even if it means just one life whom they have no inkling whether she had died or not.

Next we have the Black Saturday disaster where the bushfires not only killed many but also destroyed many homes. Can you believe over $200 million dollars had been raised? And part of the charity money will also go towards those who lost their homes WITHOUT fire insurance?!!

Wow... in the eyes of a pragmatic person, giving money to those without fire insurance is stupid. Who asked those 'jokers' not to buy fire insurance policies anyway? So whose fault is it?

Just look at the recent minibonds. Everything is by book of law. It is supposed to guide and support us, not us supporting the law and structure?! Just look at those readers/bloggers who said those who lost money in the minibonds deserved it. Whether it was deserving or not, the matter is that people lost their hard-earned money. We ought to be humane to help them.

When such a castastrophe strikes, it doesn't matter who is right or wrong. Humanity and love takes over; empathy and reflection preceed over loss of lives and belongings.

And an even greater truth is you can't teach a person to be humane. You can only be an example for others to follow.

And I find it very much lacking of it in Singapore.


LuckySingaporean said...

Kaffein, chicken,

You guys said it very well. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Its not true we do not have enough Singaporeans qualified for Scholarships.

Every year, we have at least 1400 students scoring 4A and above for A levels and more than 3000 with 3A and above, many of our scholarships offered to foreigners are substandard to Singaporeans.

The reason why the PAP gahmen prefer giving scholarships to foreigners, its because they took Singaporeans for granted; therefore many of the Singaporeans who went overseas chose not to return, therefore its better not to offer them overseas scholarships. For those poor Singaporeans they cannot afford to go overseas anyway.

My friend was offered scholarship by foreign government but denied local Scholarship.

For those Singaporeans awarded medical course at the NUS, they are required to sign bonds to the effect that if they failed to meet the grades they would be kickout and made to pay hundreds of thousand to compensate. Those taking Astar scholarship also have to pay back if they cannot meet the grade.

What the Indonesian did at NTU is pay back to the PAP foreign talent policy that had failed. Its the kind of appreciation practised by our neighbours and their people.


Pathetic Singaporean

Anonymous said...

First, u dont need to wait for the warning letter to get a kick on the butt. Letters are just a formality. It is the student's own biz to keep up the good grades. He has already been given such a long time to buck up. HE HAD GIVEN CHANCES, so u cant say NTU is heartless.

2nd, how much "unconditional love" can u give to a foreign student, when this crap costs u SGD 40,000 in total, n yet skip all the lessons u prepare for him? One point u guys r complaining the gov is wasting taxpayers money, on the other hand when the gov slapped this poor performing student 3 letters, u feel pity for u. Make up ur mind la.

If MOE has no heart, he would have been kicked out once he is off the dean's list.


Anonymous said...

You buay-song with your FYP sup (for whatever reasons), then you stab him.

So when you go out to work, do you stab your boss if you buay-song also?

As a 21-yr old, this guy is not a kid anymore. Furthermore, as a (ex)scholar, he should have had the brains to go and seek help PROACTIVELY. Come on, it's not like he wasn't warned at all. NTU had already gave him THREE warning letters and he didn't have the sense to go and talk to his mentor or someone after receving them?

Anonymous said...

Lucky, this is the 1st time that I don't agree with your post.

The university is right in their handling of the scholarship termination issue. The only person at fault here is the selfish coward who killed himself after attacking his sup.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucky,
I am an avid reader of your blog. However, i do agree with most of the comments. These 'foreigner talents' are using our taxpayers' money. If they do not perform, why should we continue to give them support. These money could have been given to more needy citizens. Please do write another entry to clarify you stand.

Anonymous said...

i agree with Lucky, ppl in deep trouble dunno who and where to seek help. i was once like that student, unable to to cope with pressure and finally choose to ignore and end up losing more. if at that time someone can see what i going thru, probably my life will be very different. i understand those who dun agree with Lucky, not that we dunno what is right or wrong with the system, have anyone been thru what that dead guy suffering? this is also not an issue of local or FT too.

LuckySingaporean said...

anon 8:09,

Actually I never said it wasn't the student's fault. There are many types of people in this world. When you terminate something important to a person, you will strain him.

All I'm saying is they could have manage this better by talking to him. Even at work, workers are assigned supervisors, when they start to miss deadlines and fail to deliver. It is better to talk to them than sending a letter.

Some people may buck up after getting warning letters others don't because they are caught with various problems. A tragedy of this sort can be prevented say if they speak to him after his 1st &
2nd warning.

When it comes to blame, you can say others who got terminated did not snap and become violent so it is the fault of this student. Howvever, you can argue this student is 23 years old and had no past history of violence - in fact his friends describe him as friendly and helpful (see wayangparty article). So you can also say this event of being terminated without anyone reaching out to help him triggered this chain of events. But ultimately a person has to responsible his own actions. Responsibility is one thing but putting in place a process to assist students in trouble can help prevent such tragic outcomes. The real working world actually has this...why can't they do it in the universities.

Jim said...

Comeon fellow Singaporeans, we are born into this hard cold efficient system, who are we kidding? When will there be someone offering you advice and help when you need it? You are only told the CONSEQUENCES of missing the mark (via sternly worded letters).

Lucky is just saying that the university or whoever issues the scholarship should send an officer to find out what went wrong with this once promising young man. I guess in Singapore we are only concerned about $$$, how much we will stand to lose if we continue sponsoring this loser.

From the responses here, Singaporeans are too deep in the shit to see it.

Onlooker said...

The warning letters does not absolve them of their responsibility.

They can give out scholarships to foreigners so easily but when the spotlight is on their flawed system they said they had given 3 warning letters (which will absolved them of all responsibility).
The LKK warning speech to us citizen "vote in alternative parties and you will get a dose of bad governance".
Well PAPer were voted in but we are still experiencing Bad governance and something worse:- non transparency and no accountability on our Tontine Reserve and the ever increasing age limit to draw out our money. Why?
It's time to give alternative parties a try.
Hopefully, They can reverse the damage that has been done.

Anonymous said...

I highly suspect many people here are either kids or they are those who do the bare minimum in their jobs and wash their hands off everything else.

Encountered some of those civil and govt service people before. "This matter is not under our purview" is the standard answer. Can't be bothered to do more, can't be bothered to find out if it's really NOT under their purview!

Was trying to ask if a particular action is a crime. If this matter is not under their purview, it means that the police do not know whether to arrest a person when they encounter such a situation! Shocking.

Everyone enjoys doing business with 1 type of person: he who goes the extra mile. Those who claim NTU was right in doing the bare minimum...amazingly will get angry at their business partners or colleagues who only do the bare minimum.

The irony baffles me.

Anonymous said...

Eh Lucky

I have what homesickness is.
I know what stress is.
I have studied with so-called FT scholars.

Other than to show *yet again* that we have a flawed scholarship system and under-spending more more deserving locals *because of some political agenda*, I dun see what conclusion we can make.

Let the poor boy rip.


Anonymous said...

I wonder when would we read about teachers who slash their supervisors or students before plunging to their deaths?

I have friends in the teaching profession who are under tremendous emotional stress; heavy workload, emotional abuse and frustration in the classroom, veiled or open threats by superiors, superiors who side with parents against teachers, unrealistic expectations, threats of being forced to pay up the teaching bond prematurely.

I also have friends who tell me that many patients who visit psychiatrists are in the teaching profession.

We might get more interesting headlines soon.

Anonymous said...

This is a tragedy and we have posters here talking about GPA scores. Unbelieveable ! Someone's son just killed himself and someone's father or husband has been stabbed. It is evident that the poor young man has problem. I really wonder if he was counselled before his scholarship was terminated. BTW, 21 years old is still a relatively young age.

Anonymous said...

I wish some of these comments are directed at one ah pek and his useless son and daughter in law and a bunch of useless minsters for failing Singapore by gambling away our reserves, they dare to accept huge salaries but can do nothing to stem the fall in exports and loss of jobs.

Shouldn't these clowns be given 3 letters too

Thinks about it, assholes

facts actually said...

I contemplated for some time before I decided to share this incident which happened to my close friend a few years back, as it was painful to recount it to remembrance. Unfortunately, also subjected to the struggles in life, she took the plunge and chose to no longer be with us.

She came from a distinguished Junior College and was well-spoken. However, coping with tertiary education proved to be not as easy and for some reason or other, she took a comparatively longer time to complete it. It was a stigma that she carried through her school and even after graduation. She always strived to do better but somehow felt inadequate and never good enough.

For some time, she avoided being contacted till after a couple of years when a few of us gathered again, which was also the last time we saw each other. I was unable to accept her sudden departure and wanted to trace the root to the problem. I gathered from a close friend of ours that she had terrible experience at her former workplace and colleagues that were extremely nasty. Being very appalled and repulsed, I decided to personally go to the company to ‘seek redress’. After a long discussion and clarification with her boss, I realized that there was a deeper problem which my friend was facing and it had never occurred to me. She was at a stage of depression and being delusional.

It was a series and cumulative events that had led to her loss of hope. It was the loss of hope that made her give up totally. The hope that she may not have found in the school, not in her colleagues, not in her friends, not in me. I never gave up hope on her but she chose to. The greatest pain was inflicted on her family and the ones that loved her so.

Such tragedy was allowed to happen not because of 3 letters. Maybe the school could have handled it better, but did we ask ourselves if we could have done better as well? It is always easy to say that others should have done better because it never occurred to us that it should be our responsibility. Were we that classmate or friend who was there to encourage and standby him?

This was for my beloved friend:

If I could be the psychic, that can read your sorrows
If I could be the soothsayer, that can foretell the future that was never meant to be
If I could be the world famous scientist, that can turn back time
If I could be the first physician, that can bring back life
If I could be the colleague, that was sitting next to you
If I could be the counselor, that was ready to hear you
If I could be the janitor, that was doing my rounds
If I could be the mirror, that can reflect your beauty
If I could be the sandals, that make you walk away from your bitterness
If I could be the stars, that can speak to your soul
If I could be the winds, just strong enough, that can lift you before the ground
If I could be the alien, that abducted you that night
If I could be the gravity of the moment, that I can deny myself
How could it be you?
If I could be the friend, that I never was…
If I could be there, for you.

Anonymous said...

We are living in a high pressure society. There are many senior executives who behaved these ways. They write standard letters just to cover themselves. They do not allow a reply as they conveniently leave out their email address. They also instruct the staff not to reveal their contact number and email addresses. When something happened they then pull out the letters they have sent to you as evidence of communication.
These happen not only in institutions of learning but also in NTUC Income. Try contacting their CEO or VPs and you will realise it is impossible. Only they can communicate with you, through letter if they choose to. You are not given the right to call them or email them. And you are paying money every month to feed them for treating you like this. This is life in Singapore now.

Anonymous said...

I believed it better to let the matter rest as there is no way we could know what actually happen unless we hear from the horse's mouth.

What is reported or information provided by classmates or lecturers might be skew?

As for NTU issuing warnings it is matter of protocol nothing short on humanity.

I had an episode of depression before whereby my family members didn't know of it. I even kept from them showing no evident signs of depression. I knew I was suffering from depression and should not feel such way for many month until I decide to seek help personally. Until now, my family members doesn't know about it.

It is possible this student is a recluse person that kept it all bottle up until he lost control. Anyway, it is a sad thing someone so young ended his life just for a scholarship. Let the dead rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

A year ago when I first start reading Lucky's blog, I find he is a source of peace when someone can in fact make life a little more funny when in fact it is hard. Slowly, i find that he is not joking abt it, but seriously think this gov shld be perfect and almighty. I have no idea what makes him snapped. Mayb sg is really so tough to survive in after all..

No Offense

Anonymous said...


Yesterday, 02:37 PM


I am one of David Hartanto's close friend and I am here to give you
some facts, assumptions, possibilities about this case


1. Lok Tat Seng: Dean of Student of NTU gathered all Indonesian students in
International Student Center on evening after incident and
he just said there was witness on the spot who saw David's body lying on the ground,
dead. Dean did not said that witness saw David jumped from balcony.
And that is, according to him, all he has saw.

2. The only official statement from police is: David was found dead at
the crime scene, they did not mention whether he commited suicide.

The link:

They also just mention 'The professor was believed to be stabbed'. The police
did not say that 'the professor was stabbed'. Where this assumption come from? Why
they did not say about it?

3. I and some Indonesian students gather tonight, 3 March 2009, at 8 pm,
at International Student Center and talked to David's parent.
They have seen his body. There was NO WOUND whatsoever on his wrists
and police also has confirmed it.
I assumed that his parent would not lie it means that all media news about
'David slashed his wrist' was FAKE.

4. The wounds found on David's body, according to his parents,
were on his head (It is assumed due to fall injury),
and slash wound on his neck. The wound on his neck is very suspicious, in
my opinion. How he received that wound?? Again, according to his parent,
police guessed that it may be happened when the bottom part of his head smashed
the ground. In that case, his chin will have broken and it did not.

1. David stabbed professor. How did you know? The crime scene is closed room,
only David and that professor. No one see what has happened.
Eye-witness only saw David run out from that room.

2. David commited suicide. How could someone who commited suicide drop himself
into glassed roof, instead of directly drop himself to ground.

3. David slashed his wrist. I do not know where this news came from...

4. David's motivation.

4.1. He pissed off since his prof did not give satisfactory grade

The grade has not been released and he even has not submitted the report.
It is also NTu policy not to inform the student about the grade which they got
before release of the result.

4.2. He has mental problem

No record in Student Counselling Centre about his attendance. For bright student
as him, I did not believe that he did not attend counseling if he has some
problems. Also, he still brought bag with usual daily stuff, on incident day,
such as drink bottle, towel, etc. If David planned to kill someone why would
he prepare to bring such things. It is easier for him to just bring one knife
and stab his prof on spot.

4.3. He pissed off because his scholarship has been revoked

I knew David since I was his roommate for 2 consecutive
years during Mathematical Olympiad training camp. He almost did not
qualify for IMO, only managed to get at 14th rank from 15 people selected.
He still joked and laughed to me at that time. He also did not get anything
from IMO and still fine, not seemed depressed whatsoever, and according to his
parents, he said 'At least, I managed to represent Indonesia at IMO'
He also still play Hammerfall game in Facebook at 2 am on the incident day. My friend
saw his Facebook account online. How come
a murderer played game in the night before incident? If I was him,
I will seriously think how would I prepare myself tomorrow

1. Professor attacked David. I deduced this thing for several key points.
According to many reports, David's cloth was soaked on blood. If the blood is
the result from slashing his wrist, it should not soak his cloth since wrist is
far from body. If the wound is from neck, it is easier.

2. David tried to run from Professor. After he realized that he was attacked,
he resisted and run from that room, with wound on his neck.

3. David falled because of unconsciousness. He became panic and probably lose
his common sense because of terrible bleeding, drop himself down into glassed roof
to escape from his Professor.

I am responsible for what I have written here, and contact me at
if you need any clarification.

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 4:32 PM
I am not sure we won't end up with more KBWs and old age holiday destinations with foreign talent in gahmen but I am sure we will with the present gahmen ! Just wait and see.

To Anon at 4:14 PM
You say there are not enough local students good enough for scholarship! Then what of the Singapore students winning international Maths and Science quiz against other first world countries ? Are they all foreign students ?

Anonymous said...

Besides the vibrant nightlife of singapore. The Arts and Entertainment Singapore has to offer is quite a lot too. Since I moved her 5 years ago, I must say I am pretty happy with the development in this area. Singaporeans aren't that stiff afterall.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:25am.
Given the observation and facts does not tally.
The commenter conclusion is right.The incident have been reported with bias.

Fact actually:-
You did not help your "female" friend after all.
The prose you wrote are okay ,and self adulating hinting at how noble you are , but Why put in the turbo spin hint that the student is depressed?
From what I had read you have been consistently going for status quote.
So how have the PAP change within itself?
Have you made an impact?
It's Indian Chief like you that will bring the whole country down in the end.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lucky and especially with what Kaffein said (5:09 PM).

The system fostered by our gahmen and authorities is devoid of human touch. When I lived in Singapore I used to think like that too until I went to live in US and can see the differences in way the citizens are treated by the authorities.

The issue we have is the way it was handled by NTU. It just proves the sort of 'educational' message they are sending to the students. Do we want a education system that churns out top scholars but have no hearts ?? I can say the answer is yes when we look at the Ministers and so called elites we have in our gahmen service. They have top education but poor performance in reality and do not care much for the common Singaporean.

Anonymous said...

So Wincent ,when are you going to become a Singaporean citizen?

Anonymous said...

NTU's 3 warning letters to termination is high handed.
I do not think it is a grade issue.
More likely there is some threat involved.
But the main thing is why spin that the student is depressed?
So does this mean anyone who:-
resist propaganda.
make sarcastic comment about relevant issue that is solved inadequately by the party.
Make a stand for their political belief.
respond angrily to condescending remark by a MP(who got punch btw)

is automatically mentally unsound?
How convenient.

Ghost said...

What problems the student has does not matter. Whether he is a Singaporean or foreigner does not matter. When the scholarship was terminated also does not matter. What matter is that he attacked, injured, and tried to kill a lecturer. He attacked someone and for what? Because his scholarship was terminated! Sorry Lucky, but I have no sympathy for the student at all.

Anonymous said...

To Ghost at 2:08 PM

If you provoke instead of helping an injured animal, do not blame it for attacking you.

Anonymous said...

Ghost, this young man does not need your sympathy. He is already dead. His family now has to picked up the pieces. why this tragedy occurred and what lessons can be drawn from it to prevent its recurrence are far more important than all the personal prejudices expressed here.

Anonymous said...

"If you provoke instead of helping an injured animal, do not blame it for attacking you".

that is a very apt analogy,
likening the ex-scholar to an animal = cruel instinct to resort to violence.

oso, note that an insider has conceded that ex-scholar was "injured". fact check = pschological damage from gaming.

provoke? sure, that is the standard line for any attackers, from great warlords like hitler (jews over-powerful) to the ah beng in the street (for staring).

pls, when somebody intended to kill, pls don't put him on a pedestal. it's too hypocritical even in sg

Anonymous said...

Regarding one of the comments that they didn't find any wounds on his wrist, if you refer to the photo gallery on the Straits Times on the incident, one of the pictures clearly show that there was severe bleeding from his wrists.

Anonymous said...

there was this 35yo man punching a school boy for stepping on his toes in a bus.

hey, maybe the man was darned stressed out already, and the boy provoked him further by stepping on his toes... so the man is innocent!!!


Kaffein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaffein said...

Well, for those who still don't understand what Lucky had written and about the affairs of the humane heart (not human heart), my advice is take a step out into the world if you can.

Better still take a 3 months break and go for backpacking. Take your pick of US, Europe, or even some Asian countries like Vietnam or Cambodia.

After that, come back here, read this blog article. Then write your comments. You'll be surprised at yourself and the uniqueness of Singapore.


Anonymous said...

I know what it's like being an NTU engineering student. Especially during the FYP period. It isn't the easiest thing in the world, so I can sympathise with the student. It does get lonely and stressful at times. It never crossed my mind to stab any of my profs, though.

I had a friend who dealt with the NTU counseling services. I would say they never left a very good impression on me. I got the impression that they were more interested in pushing serious problems elsewhere rather than solving them.

As for why an olympiad participant can't fulfill GPA requirements... It's quite simple, grades and mathematical intelligence have nothing to do with each other in NTU. I've never met an 'A' student that had any form of mathematical intelligence. Instead they had a combination of good memory, a huge dose of kiasuism, pragmatism (is this going to be on the exam?) and sheer hard work.

Well, it doesn't matter anymore what did or did not happen or what his motivation is. This incident is just sad. Honestly, I myself feel embarrassed at the heartlessness of some of the comments here.

Anonymous said...

"Please note that this is the third and final warning. Should your GPA still not increase by the end of this semester, your scholarship will be terminated. Thank You."

"(as above and with the following added.) It is the university's policy that all students receiving a warning letter shall be referred to the counseling service, so that our professional counselor may help you with any problems you are facing and point you to further help if necessary. As such, our counseling office will be in touch with you to set up an appointment in a few days time. Should you need to speak to someone urgently, you can also walk in to the university medical unit. The mental health deparment is staffed with a professional nurse trained in counseling 24/7 and can refer you to other professionals if need be. Its address is at _________ and can be contacted at tel: ________. Thank You".

The second way, is the way many US's universities work. That's after receiving several law suits from parents of students who have committed suicide.

Bottomline: When there are "competition" (i.e. opposing forces, in this case, in the form of impeding law suits), there is improvement. In Singapore's case, when negligent doctors, lousy university policies etc faces no law suits and there is a monopoly, there will never be improvements. So, for improvements, vote for the oppositions, so that there will be check and balance!!!

Anonymous said...

"In view of your non-payment, your electricity will be cut any time after 1st Mar 09. Sincerely, CCB"

"(As above with the following added). We understand an impeding electricity cut is a stressful event for many people. A separate pamphlet from the Singapore Counseling Service is included with this letter. Please note that the Singapore Counseling Service is a seperate entity not related to our company, and contacting them will not in any way reduce our obligation and liability. Thank You."

What's so difficult?

It's simply a reflection of how much a country value life. It is important to remember: Singapore is not a country, but a company. Once you understand this, everything makes sense. Haha!

Anonymous said...

A university with lousy sports facilities, practically non-existent counseling service, sub-standard career guidance office, a day-time only medical service.

A university with superb sporting facilities including indoor swimming pool, indoor tennis courts and several floors of sporting equipments. Extensive counseling service with full-time nurse with extra certification in counseling staffed 24/7, a well-funded career guidance office which conducts regular CV review sessions, a 24/7 university hospital (something like nus/nuh) etc

Singaporeans, you are receiving sub-standard non-wholistic university education in Singapore and paying much more for it, compared to "In-state" (i.e. local) students in USA and many other western countries BUT you are paying our leaders much more than USA's president and these western countries' leader!

Anonymous said...

We (the govt, the universities, the civil service etc) can come up with whatever law/rules we want. You will be given 3 warnings/chances if you do not fulfill our law/rules. After that, we will take action and our people will support our action because they know: you deserve it for not following the law".

We cannot anyhow cook up whatever law/rules we want. Our law/rules must be in accordance to The Constitution or they will be judged illegal by a Constitution Court and get thrown out. Furthermore, even if we are within the law, we must mete out the law with sensitivity e.g. by including a bargaining/negotiation phase where we allow, for example, defaulters to pay their debt in installment, or e.g. include a telephone number to the social worker's department. Otherwise, our people will be angry because they know: you do not need to follow illegal laws, and you can vote out an insensitive govt, and you can sue the govt for redress.

Bottomline: It is difficult to convince Singaporeans who have not seen the world, that there is a whole different world out there where things are done much more compassionately, and govts are at the mercy of the people, not the other way round. Yes, you people should take Kaffein's suggestion to go backpack for a few months in Europe. Better still, go live for a few years in some western countries and have kids there (because it is only with kids that you have to deal more with their various medical, schools and other departments). Then you will know the diff. And once you know the diff, you won't want to return back to sg - which is why we are losing thousands of our "top people" (to borrow GCT) to USA every year!!!

So, to those commentators who are supporting the first way, I say, sorry, but you are just a frog in a well. Go see the world - this is not how citizens in the rest of the world (i.e. the part of the world where our leaders match their salaries to) enjoy their lives

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 3:23 PM who wrote "... , when somebody intended to kill, pls don't put him on a pedestal. it's too hypocritical even in sg".

Your comments reflect the lack of human kindness, just like the NTU professor. But we don't blame you for thinking like a frog in a well, pls take the advice given by Kaffein - go live outside of Singapore for a while and open your eyes and learn what it is to be a real human being with a heart.

Anonymous said...

to Ghost:
You only believed what media told you. How do you know that he killed Prof because his scholarship being terminated? Is there any prove? Please be more considerate when you put comments or please be smarter to think all the possibilities instead of believing on what you read only. His parents already told public that they are aware about the termination and say they don't have any problems. This is only one sided statement from media or NTU.

Anonymous said...

He took our country so much money, n yet slack on his studies, will the gov let him live on so easily?

And why use our tax payers' money to sponsor scholarships for foreign students instead of locals ???

I lazy to read the comments one by one, but I wanna tell you. it is only the media keep telling that the student grade slip, scholarship terminate, etc so that he stab his prof and suicide. but is there any prove?????

I hope Singapore can prove its integrity and reveal the truth. I believe this is not as simple as what media told us. Maybe it is true that he really stab the prof and he suicide after that, but the motive is not as what the media told us.

First ok if you insist to say it is because his scholarship, but I believe he is smart enough to know that his prof has nothing to do with the scholarship. he is a genius ok? not a stupid ppl as some commentator in this page.

and at last, there might be diff possibilities out there like he not commit suicide?

Anonymous said...

what's our local media ranking in the world?

145? 154?

Anonymous said...

to anon 7.57

sorry to disappoint you there, i have lived overseas for some time. in fact, i'm thinking of getting another posting in a couple of years.

wherever you go, you ain't gonna get more "compassion" than 3 warnings.

he is supposed to be a scholar. SCHOLAR. do i have have to repeat that again? if you fail at your end repeatedly, and you are a foreigner leeching taxpayers' money, pls don't kbkb here.

Anonymous said...

To anon at 4.48pm, maybe your next posting is to countries like myanmar or zimbabwe. Someone's son just died and you are talking of leeching on taxpayers' money. Where is your heart ?

Anonymous said...

to 7.42pm

sigh, sorry to disappoint you indonesian chinese again. that's not possible. my co doesn't hv any branch offices there...

my compassion is not wasted on pple who are hell-bent on violence. the judiciary system is in some ways prejudiced abt the victims already. i wld like to see some enforcement of serious deterrence.

leeching taxpayers' money is a fact. if you can't stomach it, pls get out of singaporeans' uncaring faces.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 7.42pm,
Why do you think I am an Indonesian ? I am not. Someone's son just killed himself and you are talking about leeching taxpayers money. Lucky, Kaffein and Chicken got it right. It is so true that "you can't teach a person to be humane. You can only be an example for others to follow.". Thanks Kaffein.

Lastly, at least you got one thing right in your post - uncaring!

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