Dr Chee Soon Juan will be speaking at Yale University this Friday, 30 November 2012. This will be the SDP secretary-general’s first trip overseas following the annulment of his bankruptcy last week.$CUT$
He will be speaking at a forum organised by the Yale Council on Southeast Asia Studies
and Yale International Relations Association.
It is understood that the organisers had originally invited Ms Chan Heng Chee, Singapore’s ambassador to the US, and researcher, Mr Simon Tay. However, it seems that the two will not be participating in the event.
The administration at Yale came under criticism when it embarked on a joint venture with the National University of Singapore (NUS) to set up the Yale-NUS degree programme in Singapore.
Faculty and students at Yale are unhappy because they say that the restrictions on political activities by students on the Yale-NUS campus is not a reflection of the values of Yale which emphasizes academic freedom including the freedom of students to organise political activities.
The Singapore Government has stated that Yale-NUS students cannot, among other things, organise student associations affiliated to political parties in Singapore.
Dr Chee will travel to New Haven and address faculty and students on Friday. Students are also planning a book-signing for his latest publication, Democratically Speaking.
The SDP leader will speak on the continued exploitation of Singaporean workers by neo-liberals in the West, working with the ruling party to ensure the suppression of wages for middle- and lower-income workers. This has resulted in the chasm of wealth between the rich and poor in Singapore.
The SDP has questioned the motivation of the Yale leadership to set up the Yale-NUS campus: Is Yale truly interested in providing Singaporeans with a genuine educational experience or is it, like many other overseas educational institutions in Singapore, just out to make money from Singaporeans?
The other speaker at the forum will be Reform Party secretary-general Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam.