Baey says sorry for hurting S'poreans' feelings

MR BAEY Yam Keng, a Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, apologised in Parliament yesterday with regard to his comments about a Chinese national's blog post.

He told the House that he had been accused of siding with National University of Singapore undergraduate Sun Xu, 25, and "not standing up for fellow Singaporeans".

He added that he had received "some very direct responses from many Singaporeans" about his remarks on the issue.

"It was never my intention to undermine Singaporeans. But, to those whose feelings my words have hurt, I am sorry."

Mr Baey said he has reflected on the incident and has since learnt to be "mindful and more sensitive about what people read into certain words".

On Feb 18, Mr Sun, a Ministry of Education scholar, wrote about his unpleasant run-ins with Singaporean "uncles", saying on his blog that "there are more dogs than people in Singapore".

Mr Baey weighed in on the issue during an interview with The New Paper published last Wednesday. He said people should not jump to the conclusion that all foreign students are like Mr Sun and that Singaporeans also "need to reflect" and ask whether "we (have behaved) the way they described".

His comments sparked an outroar among netizens. He said yesterday that, since land is scarce here, "emotions may run high" as people fight for space on trains and in schools.

"I do not think that we can just treat all the negative sentiments towards foreigners as noise."

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