Three more names have been added to the list of 15 people (see https://tantarnhow.wordpress.com/2017/10/30/the-mystery-are-activists-and-artists-being-locked-out-of-academia/ ) who believe that they might be locked out of academia for their art practice or activism. A fourth case is unclear but useful to discuss functionaries doing what they think the bosses (earthly or the ones up there in the sky) want. All are Singaporeans. All asked not to be named, at least for now.

Two of the three contacted me, and one discovered through another person. Two are acclaimed artists, one a low-profile activist. They are in the list because despite being told by the department heads that they had cleared the academic bar for teaching, they still failed to get the job because of objections by the Ministry of Education or some other government agency. Like the other 15, they have no documentary proof that the problem is their art or their activism. Hence they cannot be sure of the exact non-academic reasons.

Not-Approved

Photo from https://www.flasco. org/

Two of them are distressed by not being able to get a job, which they said they really need. One said, only half-jokingly, “Shall I leave Singapore?” In the previous post, I wrote that a few of the Singaporeans were forced to find work overseas.

What sickens some people make others happy (since the punishment is working.)

The three intend to apply again to other academic institutions in the hope that they are not really   blacklisted.

The fourth case does not make the list (at least not yet until more is known). This is because he is not sure if his application to teach part-time at a polytechnic went up as far as the Ministry of Education (which would put him on the list) or he was jammed at the polytechnic level. He only knows that the department head wanted to hire him, but the Human Resource Department objected. He is also very low-profile, so behind the scenes that, unlike the other three, I did not know him until now.

Was he blocked by someone in HR, and if so, why? It could be there is an in-house policy against his area of activism. Or it could be some manager or higher-up taking his own initiative to assure himself of being in the superior’s or a god’s good books. Or it could be that the person did some Googling –  as one of the four revealed the department head who wanted him speculated had happened – and decided to be “safe”. Being safe would bring no rewards, while taking risks could lead to a reprimand or even losing his job.

Again the evidence is all circumstantial. Talking about circumstantial evidence often reminds me of the amazing case of Sunny Ang Soo Suan and Jenny Cheok Cheng Kid.

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