Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Bullies in AMCIS and PAI

The foreign student market in Singapore is a multi-billion dollar business. Industry players, including civil servants, would kill one another for a slice of the pie.

'The Principals’ Academy was founded as a joint-venture education service initiative between Academy of Principals and The Economic Development Board. '

PAI was incorporated in November 2003. It conducts Centralised Certification Tests for foreign students. With the help of Singapore Tourism Board, it has launched training programmes for educational leaders from the region.

A picture of Vivian Balakrishnan officiating at the launch of AMCIS service was used in AMCIS's promotional pamphlet. Was permission given by the Minister to use his photo in an advertising material? Did the Minister know he was used to sell its services?

To :
Mr Ezra Ng
Executive Director
Principals’ Academy Inc.

RE : Complaint against AMCIS

On 1st November 2004 at around 3.30 pm, I was standing at the barricade in front of the examination hall waiting for my ward who was having her Secondary 2 Maths paper, when I noticed a Chinese staff from AMCIS approached another of my wards and son who were sitting on the floor behind me, with their backs leaning against a glass panel. The woman asked them where they were from. My ward replied he was from the Philippines.

The woman then asked her colleague other member, a Filipino woman (Minda Lee) married to a Singaporean to speak Tagalog to my ward. I stood at the barricade for 5 mins before making my way to my ward's side. I glared at the Filipino woman but she ignored me and continued with her sales pitch.

After another 5 mins, unable to contain my annoyance, I remarked :"It's very unethical and unprofessional of you to pull other people's students." She denied and argued that she has the right as the Singapore Expo is a public place and she's only doing her job.

Then she taunted me if I knew what they were speaking about as she was speaking their own language. I told her, her company had an exhibition stand, should I require her services, I would walk over to her stand. She replied she could do her job any where she liked as I don't own the place and it's none of my business. I retorted that I'm the guardian and sponsor of the boy. (She was touting.)

Then the President of AMCIS Francis Zhang, came towards me after his son tipped him off about the commotion, and joined in the quarrel. He claimed that he had the endorsement of PAI and the approval from Singapore Tourism Board (STB). His company is 'official' and mine is 'unofficial'. He claimed that I'm making noise because I'm afraid that I will lose my students as I'm 'unofficial'. (I'm registered with the Registry of Companies, I doubt his members have licenses. ) He said 'Vivian Balakrishnan officiated at his company's opening'. He was shouting and ranting. A crowd gathered around us and he purposely raised his voice and kept happing that I'm 'unofficial'.

Francis Zhang then turned towards my ward and asked, "Is she your mother? Your aunt? Your guardian! This type of guardian ah! You should change your guardian."

I told him I'll complain to PAI and he asked me to go ahead, he said he "know many ministers". He said I'm a bully, I asked him in return who's the bully because at that time, it was two of them against me. He then replied he had a gang and then he turned towards his stand and asked his remaining members to come over. I recognised the vice-president.

At this time, my ward came out from the examination hall for her break and I left the intimidating scene for the canteen.

When I was waiting for my wards, I noticed the members from AMCIS approaching foreign parents and particularly foreign students who came on their own.They were walking up and down the corridor, distributing their pamphlets and touting for business. In the hawker centres in Singapore, there are 'No touting' signs, anyone who does that will be fined. Yet here at the Certification Test of PAI, AMCIS claimed they had the endorsement of PAI and STB.

What are the objectives of PAI in conducting this test? To raise funds? During these tests, it sold exhibition stands to vendors who project the image that they are the only endorsed entity and no officers from PAI are present to ensure these vendors don't step out of line.

I send my wards to take the tests. They are the children of our business associate. Yet I was humiliated and insulted by the vendor you endorsed.

Jayne Goh
1st November 2004

c.c PM Lee Hsien Loong
Minister for Community Development, Youth & Sports - Dr Vivian Balakrishnan
Singapore Tourism Board, Chairman - Mr Wee Ee-chao

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