'I cared for her as a teacher would'
Mr Ng, 31, was a teacher from 2005 to 2007. The allegation was made in 2007. -TNP
By Joyce Lim
A NATIONAL Solidarity Party (NSP) candidate has found himself facing an old allegation again.
Mr Spencer Ng Chung Hon, who is in NSP's Marine Parade GRC team, was accused in 2007 of having behaved inappropriately towards a student when he was a teacher.
After he was introduced as a new candidate to contest in the upcoming elections last week, The New Paper received an e-mail and a call from two different readers, informing us about the allegation.
Mr Ng, 31, was a teacher from 2005 to 2007. The allegation was made in 2007.
Asked about the accusation after his walkabout on Thursday, Mr Ng explained to The New Paper that he was close to a female student from another class but her form teacher didn't like it and complained to the principal.
He said nothing inappropriate happened.
The allegation involved text messages they exchanged. They had nicknames for each other. She called him "king" and he addressed her as "princess".
After school, Mr Ng spent time chatting with her in a fast-food restaurant near the school. Some days, he was seen sending her to school in the morning.
His close relationship with the student was known to the staff and students of North Vista Secondary School, where he taught.
Mr Ng said although they exchanged text messages, they were never lewd.
He said: "She came to me with a personal problem. She had broken up with her boyfriend, so I tried to counsel her. I cared for her as a teacher (would) but I wasn't dating her."
He showed this reporter a photograph of himself with his fiancee, adding: "Look, I have a pretty fiancee. We have been dating for nine years, since our university days. We will get our HDB flat in a few months' time and we will be registering our marriage later this year.
"Next year, we will hold our customary wedding. All I can say is that my conscience is clear."
Mr Ng, who taught history, geography, social studies and sex education, said he called his students "prince" and "princess" and they called him "king" or "godfather".
He said he introduced the nicknames to make lessons more interesting.
The female student concerned was not in his class but Mr Ng still called her "princess".
They first met during the school's sports day in 2007.
He said: "With this new generation, we need to explore new methods of engaging them, like using SMSes, online chatting and connecting with them on Facebook.
"Students find me approachable and came to me with their problems even though some of them were from other classes. When that happened, the other teachers got upset and complained about me."
Mr Ng stressed that while he is close to his students, he had also set a boundary between them. And he wore his engagement ring at all times to remind himself and his students that he is engaged.
He said his innovative ways of engaging the students won him the school's most popular teacher award just six months after he joined the school in 2005.
"When one becomes so popular a short time after joining the school, it is inevitable that some teachers will not accept it," he said.
He added that it was the female student's form teacher who complained to the principal about him, not her parents.
He said: "The principal was very nice. He told me to take a break from work and to go on a holiday. But I felt jaded and unappreciated for all my contributions to the school.
"So I wanted to take the opportunity to explore other options and gain experiences outside the teaching world."
He left the school and teaching in 2007.
The New Paper tried to contact the school principal, Mr Lim Lai Chuan, but he did not respond to calls and e-mails.
A Ministry of Education (MOE) spokesman would only say that Mr Ng joined MOE in July 2003 and resigned in 2007.
Mr Ng said: "To me, teaching is more than ensuring that students do well academically. We need to teach them moral values and take care of their well-being.
"I often stay back (after school) to give my students free tuition, listen to their problems, offer them advice and sometimes even loan them money.
"When I drive to school and spot any of my students along the way, I would stop my car to pick them up, boys or girls, and teachers, too."
This article was first published in The New Paper.
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