China student slams NUS for 'insensitive' question on test

An undergraduate from an elite Chinese university has accused the National University of Singapore (NUS) of being insensitive, after it set a test question that appeared to insult China.

NUS held a recruitment exercise on Sept 27 at China's renowned Fudan University, where its students were invited to apply into NUS' Life Sciences faculty as researchers.

The seminar was hosted by three NUS professors.

Interested applicants had to sit for an impromptu English competency test.

The short 20-minute test required the students to write an essay on the topic: "What have you learned from the Wenzhou train accident?"

The tragedy on July 23 this year involving a collision between two high-speed trains had claimed 40 lives.

In an online blog post, the student from the university complained about the controversial topic and demanded that the school apologise.

To the student, the subject was politically-sensitive and the question carried a mocking undertone.

The fourth-year student at Fudan University wrote a harshly-worded online post to criticise NUS's choice of question for the test.

"I feel violated! ...this topic is discriminatory no matter how you interpret it! The professor should have considered that this is a very controversial topic before putting it forward to top Chinese students at such a formal setting!" said the student.

An NUS spokesperson clarified that it had no intention to belittle or disrespect the country, or those affected by the Wenzhou train tragedy.

NUS also said that the matter has been resolved with the help of colleagues at Fudan University.

The train accident remains a blot on the safety record of China's much-touted high-speed rail and has greatly decreased public confidence in the rail network.

It also raised concerns that the world's second-largest economy was sacrificing safety in its rush to develop.

Source: Shin Min Daily News