Jeanne Ten’s Long Struggle for Accountability in Singapore

Jeanne Ten's Long Struggle for Accountability in Singapore

21 years in the past this month, Jeanne Ten began her grasp’s program in structure on the Nationwide College of Singapore (NUS). The division’s plan to take a humanistic strategy to structure versus brick-and-mortar development science impressed him. He wrote a thesis on Raffles Place, the middle of Singapore’s monetary district, and was accepted for a PhD in architectural historical past on the College of Illinois Chicago. Jeanne was shifting in direction of a promising tutorial profession on the energy of a thesis that was accepted by a researcher as a thesis that “will undoubtedly stand because the definitive clarification” of her topic.

As a substitute, it is a lengthy story that touches on the privilege of Singapore’s elite and exhibits the vacancy of Singapore’s popularity for pragmatic, sincere administration in its establishments. Jeanne’s thesis supervisor plagiarized her thesis. When she filed a proper criticism, the college misled Jeanne and gave her the misunderstanding that her supervisor had been acquitted. NUS advised Jeanne that she ought to settle for this discovering or be expelled from college. She refused to be bullied and the college refused to award her a grasp’s diploma, thus forcing her to surrender her doctoral program in Chicago. When NUS kicked her out of faculty, Jeanne had already moved to Chicago to start her doctoral program, as she had already accomplished all her graduate tutorial necessities and anticipated NUS to confer her grasp’s diploma. She grew to become concerned in a ten-year authorized battle to earn her well-deserved grasp’s diploma, make up for her derailed profession, and expose the shortage of accountability and abuse of energy in Singapore.


Photograph Credit score: Grace Baiy

An outline of the small print of Jeanne Ten’s case from the outset makes its injustice all of the extra apparent. Thesis advisor Dr. Wong Yunn Chii used his work with out reference as the premise for his personal analysis challenge. He was given a US$60,000 authorities grant to proceed this. When Jeanne’s makes an attempt to debate the matter with him got here to nothing, she filed a proper criticism with the college administration.

NUS Deputy Dean Lily Kong convened a committee to evaluate Jeanne’s criticism. Committee He launched a confidential written report recommending that Wong “condemn” Jeanne for her conduct. NUS didn’t inform Jeanne of this and didn’t permit Jeanne to see the committee’s confidential report on the time. As a substitute, Kong despatched Jeanne a letter purporting to convey the committee’s findings. This letter is to the committee’s Dr. He stated he discovered there was “inadequate proof” towards Wong, however Dr. He didn’t point out any findings towards Wong. On this letter, Dr. There was no point out of Wong being “censored” both. Jeanne, Kong’s Dr. Contemplating what he stated concerning the “insufficient proof” towards Wong and Dr. Wong was really “condemned” by the NUS for his conduct in direction of Jeanne.

Kong then gave Jeanne an ultimatum to “select one or the opposite”: settle for the findings and conclusions of the college investigation or you can be denied a grasp’s diploma and expelled. Jeanne refused. There have been two causes behind his determination. The primary was the precept that accepting the outcomes of an investigation was related to being awarded a level which he thought of extremely oppressive, unethical, and an abuse of energy. Second, Jeanne didn’t settle for the findings. He didn’t know the way the investigation was carried out, NUS had not allowed the committee to see the undercover investigation report, and he believed the NUS had cleared the professor of all costs, primarily based on the deceptive “inadequate proof” letter from Kong. She believes it will be cowardly and dishonest to simply accept the findings, and he or she admits to creating a false declare.

The college then fulfilled its risk by expelling Jeanne from college, which robbed her of her PhD in Chicago. And that will solely be the tip of the start. Jeanne filed a lawsuit towards the college primarily based on what she believed was a perjury made by Kong, who, regardless of a wealth of documentary proof, denied that NUS’s expulsion was a retaliation for his refusal to simply accept the acquittal and the cover-up. Dr. Wong’s abuse of energy. Jeanne is not the one one to imagine that Kong perjured her. Professor David Lewis, British authorized scholar and whistleblower, He advised the Singapore Supreme Court docket that inside paperwork confirmed factual contradictions with Kong’s affidavit in court docket.

The allegation of perjury is essential to Jeanne’s case, as proving Kong’s perjury may permit Jeanne to make a brand new trial, and NUS will attempt to keep away from it in any respect prices. Simply days in the past, NUS’s legal professionals filed a restraining order with the court docket to forestall Jeanne from making any additional appeals or launching any new authorized appeals towards NUS. On high of all this, Jeanne has an obligation to pay NUS her authorized charges of roughly $145,000, which is pending till Jeanne tries to get her software heard in court docket to find out if Kong was perjury.

There’s a lot extra to this case. The lawsuit compelled NUS to reveal a number of inside emails and paperwork, opening a window into Singapore’s company tradition of self-protection. Inner paperwork, Dr. It seems that Wong by no means accomplished his challenge primarily based on the findings of Jeanne’s thesis, however was mistakenly listed as a “accomplished” challenge on NUS’s official web site. Kong directed the downgrading of his thesis to a “B”, though each NUS-appointed examiners gave him an “A” that didn’t require any adjustments, which required him to make minor adjustments. Most significantly, NUS needed to disclose emails between Kong and his accomplices linking Jeanne’s denial of her diploma to the professor’s alleged refusal to be exonerated. These inside paperwork clearly contradicted Kong’s testimony in court docket.


Photograph Credit score: Grace Baiy

The social contradictions could not be extra putting: Kong now sits as president of the Singapore Administration College, a magistrate, and the Civil Service Fee that appoints civil servants to public workplace. Elite legal professionals signify NUS, whereas Jeanne represents herself as a result of she will’t afford to rent a lawyer. She lives in a housing property along with her father, a retired Chinese language trainer. He was successfully blacklisted from a job in Singapore: chapter would have compelled his employer to fireside him in his non-public line of enterprise below Singapore legislation, and aside from that, the controversy round him makes him the type of individual employers are shy of. away from Singapore.

Jeanne might by no means get her grasp’s diploma. The expulsion of NUS from the PhD program because of its actions towards him destroyed his possibilities of pursuing an instructional profession in his chosen specialty. He won’t ever get again the years spent in court docket and out of court docket. NUS’s stubbornness in tackling this case is all about sending a message to different potential whistleblowers and dissidents in Singapore. But it surely additionally stands as a testomony to a years-long dedication to goal and immense energy of character, which Jeanne understands as a part of the broader wrestle for accountability and democratic reform in Singapore. He might have simply had the final phrase.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou (@thenewslensintl)

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