A*Star Scholar Charged with Poisoning Classmates @ Stanford

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A*Star Scholar Charged with Poisoning Classmates @ Stanford

Postby jetsetter » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:19 am

Another psychotic gifted student.

An A*Star scholarship holder who was doing cancer research at one of America's top universities has been accused of trying to poison her laboratory mates using a toxic chemical.

Singaporean Ouyang Xiangyu, 27, now faces a trial in California after being charged with four counts of poisoning the drinking water of classmates at her graduate studies lab in Stanford University last year.

Currently out on US$50,000 (S$68,600) bail but not allowed to leave the country, she is expected to plead not guilty due to insanity.

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) told The Straits Times yesterday that it was "deeply concerned" over the incident. "There will be no action on our part until after the proceedings have concluded," a spokesman said.

Ouyang received A*Star's National Science Scholarship (PhD) in 2013 after her outstanding performance in her undergraduate studies at Imperial College London.

The former Temasek Junior College student, who was originally from China, was expected to complete her PhD studies by 2018 and return to Singapore to complete her five-year bond, the spokesman added.

According to court documents, things started going wrong for her last August, when she allegedly began sabotaging a lab mate's experiment.

From September, two female graduate student researchers working in the same lab also began finding something wrong with the water in their bottles. They experienced burning sensations in their throats, for instance, after drinking.

The students, who were of Asian descent, found that the water smelt of paraformaldehyde. The chemical, which is used to preserve tissue samples, was readily available in the lab.

In November, when questioned by police, Ouyang, who was described as quiet and shy by colleagues, admitted adding the chemical to at least two bottles that did not belong to her.

She claimed she had been suffering from insomnia and dizziness, and had sought help from a psychiatrist. She insisted she never had any intention of harming anyone. Her actions, which she claimed she had little control over, were "a cry for help".

When The Straits Times visited her home in Clementi yesterday, Ouyang's father, who declined to be named, said his wife is currently taking care of their daughter in the United States.

He denied being aware of any medical condition his daughter might have. "If we had known earlier, we would have sent her for treatment."

Tenants living with the family said Ouyang's parents are both researchers.

According to California law, she could face between two and five years in jail if found guilty. Another three years could be added if the poison involved can cause "great bodily harm or death".


http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/singaporean-charged-poisoning-water-classmates-the-us-20#xtor=CS1-10

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Re: A*Star Scholar Charged with Poisoning Classmates @ Stanf

Postby ChiefKiasu » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:32 am

It's the stress of having to continuously perform at the top of your form. The knowledge that you might not be the best and that others are better than you can be devastating to anyone who never had to encounter such a situation.

This case clearly highlight the risks of pushing our kids to seek excellence. I learnt an important lesson on the very first time I was taught how to skate. The instructor spent the whole lesson teaching us how to fall first. It is through the knowledge that we can handle falls safely that give us the confidence to skate effectively.

Perhaps our early childhood education system should also include some of these lessons too, to build resilience in the long term.

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Re: A*Star Scholar Charged with Poisoning Classmates @ Stanf

Postby jedamum » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:41 am

Some kids push themselves hard, need not be parents who done it.

Could it be because under bond, so didn't want others to find out her depressive condition, so it deteriorated til she snapped ? What are the exit clauses in the scholarship bond? So sad.

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Re: A*Star Scholar Charged with Poisoning Classmates @ Stanf

Postby Sun_2010 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:55 am

jedamum wrote:Some kids push themselves hard, need not be parents who done it.

Could it be because under bond, so didn't want others to find out her depressive condition, so it deteriorated til she snapped ? What are the exit clauses in the scholarship bond? So sad.


It is usually children who push themselves too hard who can snap.

I dont know about the bond exit clauses but there needs to be a balance. If too rigid, then desperate scholars may feel trapped while too lenient then it will be exploited.

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Re: A*Star Scholar Charged with Poisoning Classmates @ Stanf

Postby Mawar » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:56 am

Life is about balance and perspective. If you put everything into one basket, sooner or later the basket will give way, and there is nothing left.

She had everything going for her, and now she has nothing. I hope after this episode, she can pick up the pieces and make something good out of her life and for others.

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Re: A*Star Scholar Charged with Poisoning Classmates @ Stanf

Postby jetsetter » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:01 pm

jedamum wrote:Some kids push themselves hard, need not be parents who done it.

Could it be because under bond, so didn't want others to find out her depressive condition, so it deteriorated til she snapped ? What are the exit clauses in the scholarship bond? So sad.


With these criminal charges pressed agst her, I'm sure the stat board's scholarship panel/inquiry committee or whatever will review (revoke) her contractual obligations, as necessary.

c.f. Jonathan Wong, former MOE scholar turned paedo.

Wasn't there another A*star scholar who walked down HV naked with a Swede? She's gone into the arts field, a big jump from life sciences to the arts.

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Re: A*Star Scholar Charged with Poisoning Classmates @ Stanf

Postby phtthp » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:08 pm

hope no student drank the water that she poisoned, else if student die after drinking, she can be charged for murder

Btw, at Child Guidance clinic (Health Promotion Board, beside SGH) : besides students go there for Attention Deficit cases, Autism, some learning issue, a number of Secondary school students also go there Depression. Some depressed over studies, some are anorexic cases, other kinds of depression seep in.

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Re: A*Star Scholar Charged with Poisoning Classmates @ Stanf

Postby Dreamaurora » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:51 pm

Reading about this news really drives home the point that we cannot neglect the social and emotional developments of our children. I think it is often hard for parents to emphatize with their children if they themselves do not go through it.

I read that the scholar complained that she had no friends and often wondered how it would feel to have a boyfriend. My past life was somewhat similar to her. I was strong academically and my parents cultivated this competitive environment for me to ensure I was always stellar. They often compared me to their friends' children saying how more hardworking they are compared to me. And how these other children are destined for great careers and I would not reach the same height if I didn't study hard. I had very little friends as well because I was obssessively competitive and many of my classmates viewed me as arrogant and boastful. I was very unhappy and often depressed because many of my peers despised me, so that prompted me to ask my mum to send me to Singapore to study secondary school.

Being in Singapore alone allowed me to slowly develop my social skills. I was still very much competitive, but without my parents around I could start afresh. The first few years were rough and I still somewhat acted like an arse. But at least I started to learn. I had to admit that my decision to study music was partly because I wanted to break free of the shackles my parents imposed me. Sure, going into a field that was hardly my forte therefore placing me at a severe disadvantage compared to those with earlier starts might seem unwise. But for the first time in my life, I felt humbled and normal. I struggled the same like the rest of my classmates instead of being this superior jerk. And so those experience shaped me into what I am today.

Whenever I read news about seeming gifted people going astray it really saddens me. Alvin Tan, that pedophile MOE teacher, and now this AStar scholar. I think all these cases can be great lessons for us parents to what would happen if we made our kids pursuit academic excellence at all cost. I know that some parents would just think these are isolated cases and their kids would not turn out the same, but I urge all parents to put themselves in their children's shoes for a moment. I hated my childhood and teenage years; I truly wanted to erase memories of them. I excelled academically during those years, but there were far too many painful memories that left deep emotional scars on me. And those are the memories I remembered, not my academic achievements.

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Re: A*Star Scholar Charged with Poisoning Classmates @ Stanf

Postby Nebbermind » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:59 pm

phtthp wrote:hope no student drank the water that she poisoned, else if student die after drinking, she can be charged for murder

Btw, at Child Guidance clinic (Health Promotion Board, beside SGH) : besides students go there for Attention Deficit cases, Autism, some learning issue, a number of Secondary school students also go there Depression. Some depressed over studies, some are anorexic cases, other kinds of depression seep in.


I think she's 27....not 7 leh!

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Re: A*Star Scholar Charged with Poisoning Classmates @ Stanf

Postby jedamum » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:04 pm

jetsetter wrote:
jedamum wrote:Some kids push themselves hard, need not be parents who done it.

Could it be because under bond, so didn't want others to find out her depressive condition, so it deteriorated til she snapped ? What are the exit clauses in the scholarship bond? So sad.


With these criminal charges pressed agst her, I'm sure the stat board's scholarship panel/inquiry committee or whatever will review (revoke) her contractual obligations, as necessary.

c.f. Jonathan Wong, former MOE scholar turned paedo.

Wasn't there another A*star scholar who walked down HV naked with a Swede? She's gone into the arts field, a big jump from life sciences to the arts.

I mean... maybe they want to seek help earlier but worry they will be penalized as they are on bond, the bottling up will cause explosion one day. Breaking of bond comes wit a very hefty cost.

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