SINGAPORE – Former polytechnic teacher Tan Boon Lee has officially apologized for his racist outburst against an interracial couple, which was captured on video last month.
In a letter issued Friday (July 9) by his attorneys at Eugene Thuraisingam LLP, the 60-year-old acknowledged that his words were unacceptable and said he was deeply sorry for them.
The incident was “out of character,” he said, adding that he was struggling with a personal issue that had caused him grief and pain.
“Yet my personal problems do not excuse my actions,” he wrote. “I now realize that although I spoke from a place of deep personal pain, my words were bigoted, discriminatory and insensitive.”
Mr Tan, who used to teach at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, has since been fired.
In the letter, he said he had apologized to Mr Dave Parkash and his girlfriend, Ms Jacqueline Ho, as well as their respective families. The video showed Mr Tan making racist remarks to Mr Parkash and his girlfriend along Orchard Road.
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“I now want to apologize to those in the wider Singaporean community who I have offended and offended with my words,” he wrote.
He added that the incident has prompted him to “dig deep” and reflect on his own behavior and motivations.
“I recognize my shortcomings and want to learn from this incident,” Mr Tan said, adding that he will work on his shortcomings to ensure he does not make the same mistakes again.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Consent required for reproduction.