Principal-turned-prisoner returns to teaching

Principal-turned-prisoner returns to teaching
NEW START: Mr Lee has served his sentence for paying an underage prostitute for sex, and now serves as an education consultant at a language centre.

THE former principal of Pei Chun Public School, who was among 51 men charged for paid sex with an underage girl, has returned to the education sector - but in the private sector this time.

Lee Lip Hong - who now goes by the name Jeric Lee or Lee Yuehan in Chinese - is hoping to make a fresh start at Little Box Creation. He serves as an education consultant at the Chinese language centre, evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.

The 42-year-old was charged in April 2012 for paying an underage Singaporean prostitute for sexual services. Mr Lee was released on good behaviour in June 2012 after serving only six of his nine-week jail sentence.

After he was released, some friends avoided him, but other old friends and even strangers have tried to give him words of encouragement, Mr Lee said.

Even now, some parents who recognise him come forward to ask if he is the former principal of Pei Chun Public School.

"Every time I'm asked this, I feel pained," he said.

Two to three weeks after his release, Mr Lee received over 20 job offers from different industries. He eventually took on a job with foodcourt operator Koufu in business development.

He said: "I was greatly moved back then. I think many people believed I was still capable because I was once a principal."

When asked if he felt this showed the demand for talent in Singapore, Mr Lee said that many employers who approached him had built their businesses from scratch.

"When it comes to looking for talent, I feel that they look for a person who has both the ability and attitude to deal with crises," he said.

Mr Lee added that these employers may have felt that he was "more human" because he admitted his guilt and repented.

After joining Koufu, he realised he was still passionate about the education sector so Mr Lee later joined a private education group, while also preparing to set up Little Box Creation.

Mr Lee said that he can no longer work as an educator with the Ministry of Education because he has a criminal record. Even so, he said that he will "always be an educator".

The former principal's family has been supportive of him all this while, he said. After he repented, his engineer wife told him: "Welcome home." This pained him and filled him with guilt.

The couple have since renewed their marriage vows with a new pair of wedding bands. They live in Hougang with their 10-year-old daughter.

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