After Venerable Ming Yi’s qualifications had been publicised over last week, people have started checking up on Venerable Ming Yi’s qualifications and realised that his qualifications are not recognised in Singapore.

A check with the local offices also turned up a blank. Venerable Ming Yi apparently obtained his doctorate from a Mannin University in Ireland = however, when people started checking up on it, they realised that they could not find anything about it.

This caused people to question the credibility of his degree, to which, he replied that he was introduced the distance learning course when he was doing his masters and it never occurred to him to check the credibility of the university.

The thing about publicity is that it’s a 2-edged sword. It can help you and it can make you fall. I hope he’d be in the clear soon and whether the probe turns out anything is another story.

THE Buddhist monk mired in controversy over irregularities in the books of the Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre is now facing another set of questions – over his doctorate.

Venerable Ming Yi’s resume says he holds a PhD in philosophy from a ‘Mannin University’ in Ireland, but checks by The Straits Times with the British Council, the Irish Embassy here and the Irish education authorities showed that neither the university nor its qualifications were recognised there.

Through a spokesman, Venerable Ming Yi said at the weekend that he did his doctorate through distance learning, but never checked if the university awarding the degree was recognised.

Readers have been writing in to ask about his PhD after The Sunday Times ran a profile on the Ren Ci chief on Nov 11.

Netizens have also started questioning the credibility of his degree.

Like other readers, education consultant Larry Lim said he had never heard of Mannin University.

He said he had tried checking, but could not even find a website for it.

‘It is highly questionable when a university does not even have a website. Does the university even exist?’ he asked.

When The Straits Times asked the Irish Embassy here whether the university in question was real, the embassy said that the Irish Department of Education and Science did not recognise Mannin University or its qualifications.

Ireland’s Higher Education Authority, the statutory body for higher education and research there, said there were seven official universities in Ireland, and Mannin was not one of them.

Press officers for both the department and the University College Dublin, one of the seven recognised Irish universities, said they had never heard of Mannin University.

Recognised institutions aside, the Irish Department of Education and Science said that ‘it cannot give advice on other organisations purporting to offer higher education programmes or comment on the quality of courses offered by such institutions’.

While Venerable Ming Yi’s PhD qualifications are highlighted on several websites such as Wikipedia and Buddhist resource site Singapore Dharma Net, online searches for the university itself drew a blank.

But The Straits Times found on the Web two individuals who claimed to have graduated from Mannin University. One is the head of a group promoting human rights in the Maldives, and the other a man who runs a chain of gyms in Thailand.

Neither could be reached for comment.

Venerable Ming Yi broke an earlier silence on the subject on Saturday after repeated queries by The Straits Times.

Through a Ren Ci spokesman, he said that someone introduced him to the PhD programme at Mannin University while he was doing his master’s in health-care management at the University of Wales, an accredited institution.

The spokesman said Venerable Ming Yi, a former student of Raffles Institution, did a distance learning course with Mannin University, but had never visited its campus.

He would not give any more details on how the monk obtained the PhD.

‘Venerable Ming Yi did the PhD as he wanted to learn more, but he did not check if the university or its degrees are recognised,’ he said.

Article obtained from on 19th November 2007

Reader's Comments

  1. ignorantsoup | November 19th, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Unless this has other consequences (like fraud towards the management, or him being the head honcho becuz of his PHD), I guess I won’t be bothered where he got his PhD from. After all, its his personal business.

  2. Alvin Wong | November 20th, 2007 at 1:10 am

    As a Buddhist, I do respect Venerable Shi Ming Yi. If there are problem in Ren Ci’s account, let the investigation to carry on. However, in Singapore, we do promote religious harmony. I think the above article on his doctorate credibility is not necessary, as Venerable Shi is a Head of Singapore Buddhist Federation. This article may cause offensive to Buddhist community. Unnecessary defamation of a leader monk, may indirectly attacking the Buddhist community. It seems that the article is trying to discredit him and indirectly discredit Buddhism.

    Whether the degree is recognised or not is not important, as he don’t need it to look for a job. Please be more sensitive to Buddhist community here.

  3. Simply Jean | November 20th, 2007 at 1:27 am

    @ignorantsoup: actually i do agree that it doesn’t matter where he gets his PhD from – afterall it’s the learning that matters and I really think he just wanted to learn, not to get the paper

    @Alvin Wong: i’m surprised that straitstimes published this because it left me thinking (i) about the point of the article and (ii) if they are insinuating anything because i am not sure if it’s potentially defamatory. but frankly, i don’t know why anyone would want to discredit Buddhism – there’s nothing to discredit about it. it’s there.

  4. blind faith | November 20th, 2007 at 1:28 am

    Some people are just simply Blindfaith, what ever the leader says or do is right. You can see who are these people when they comment and try to protect.

    A church father using the fund to buy property has end up to jail.

    A monk who use the fund to run business surely will end up to jail too.

    Who care if a monk whether have a phD, but this Shi Ming Yi is a celebrity monk! He has great impact to many people so he must know that every goods he does and every bad he has done mean alot to every one.

    religious people are blind!

  5. blind faith | November 20th, 2007 at 1:43 am

    i think we get the things wrong here. nothing wrong with Buddhism or discredit it. The issue here is why this monk is not practice of what he is doing.

    why using public fund to run business!

    Early this year, that shock the whole christian world is,the head of Amercian Protestant church Paster ted haggard speaks loud and clear against homosexual and he himself have a long term sexual relationship with a gay prostitute when that gay prostitute testify him.

    Not the religion issue, whether he is a monk or he is a pastor.

    The bottom line is hypocrite!

  6. Daily SG: 20 Nov 2007 « The Singapore Daily | November 20th, 2007 at 11:44 am

    […] Ren Ci – All and Sundry Singapore: Ren Ci Ming Yi’s Mannin University PhD – Simply Jean: Ren Ci probe: Venerable Ming Yi’s doctorate […]

  7. Mr Right | November 27th, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Damn it!
    what a con artist!

  8. Alvin | January 10th, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Why he want to show off his PhD?
    Want to discredit himself?
    Venerable Ming Yi’s are blind!

  9. Andy | January 10th, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    A Monk Like No Other

    In the first place, a religious leader should NEVER “lend” “(lent)” his name to any establlishment(s) be they business or non-profit organisations (charitable or non-charitable) or even be involved with them. These works should be left to his followers or believers.

    Secondly, he should be guiding believers away from indulging AND NOT to participate in his believers’ indulgence(s) even if he is offered.

    Thirdly, simplicity should be their way of life.

    Forthly, the thoughts of a religious leader should be way above the thoughts of his followers and believers, and he should not be providing the same reasons and/or excuses which the ordinary man will provide under the same circumstances…(e.g. what can I do if he (the believer) insisted in giving me (the religious leader) a dinner treat at a popular restaurant? or if he (the follower) insist on giving me a first class air ticket to travel, how can I (the religious leader) resist him? ) [And the list goes on……].

    can someone help me know how an interested person may enrol for the PhD in philosophy from mannin university?

  10. Andy | January 10th, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    wah. that venereal ming yi really 看破红尘 already hor. $200,000-300,000 unaccounted for still can take it so easy. he sounds like pm goh’s bimbotic wife lor.
    snoopy and charlie brown.

    Isn’t it going to make people—especially those earning less than $20,000 a year—angrier?

    And, telling people that he didn’t know his PhD came from an unaccredited university is going to make more people angrier.

    Is he taking Singaporeans for fools? There are so many earning less than $20,000/yr who donated their hard-earned money to Renci.

    All these episodes show just how ignorant he is. He’s naive to claim that he didn’t know his PhD was from an unaccredited university, and more naive to think that the public would believe this.

    I think even a fool would do some research into the recognition of a university before studying for it. Mingyi is not being honest in saying he didn’t know if the university is accredited. Worse, as a leader of a few organisations, he should be duly responsible for mention of his qualifications in his cv published in the websites of these organisations.

    Isn’t choosing a Ph.D. programme something that people would consider very seriously? How can someone in such a senior position suka suka choose an unrecognized Ph.D. programme?

    Beside the cash (salary), an executive’s compensation (income) includes other types of benefits:
    1) Accomodation
    2) Travel
    3) Car
    4) Allowance for food, entertainment, etc
    5) Bonus

    Unfortunately, we don’t know just whether he had been offered accommodation (eg in a condo), private car (subjective whether it’s strictly for business use), travel (subjective whether it’s strictly for business), allowances (subjective whether it’s strictly for business) and bonuses.

  11. Sundry | January 10th, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Double trouble for Ren Ci Hospital.

    It is interesting to wonder why he chose the unknown Mannin University over other Singapore-recognised foreign universities for his Doctorate degree in Philosophy.

    I always believe any rational graduate student who wishes to pursue a post-graduate course would check whether the PhD course is accredited or not by first taking a look at its official website for information on its achievements and then obtain verification from Ministry of Education or any external agencies that the doct

  12. Zhanzhao | January 11th, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    And Ren Ci has had an Auditor department since it started……

  13. Amos | January 29th, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    can someone help me know how an interested person may enrol for the PhD in philosophy from mannin university???

  14. Jean | March 3rd, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    请问Venerable Ming Yi’s 就读的Mannin University, 是否是野鸡大学?
    190元可以买到博士文凭, 典型的野鸡大学, Venerable Ming Yi’s 怎么向崇拜你的愚蠢的听众负责?
    至于编造谎言和学历非常盛行. 现在这股风终于刮到了.
    Venerable Ming Yi’s 多次拿它招摇撞骗! 希望你不要继续行骗下去.也希望崇拜你的愚蠢的听众清醒一下!

  15. Buffer | July 20th, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Stop sensationalism. Ming Yi’s personal upgrading by taking private courses for personal satisfaction is private and personal. He never had to use his PHD to apply for all the jobs that were awarded to him. His appointment to top positions to so many organisations and paid only allowances speak for his worth, love and compasssion to society at large. By running a person down with unnecessary sensation will only cause sufferings to others.I do not know Ming Yi or have any dealings with him but find it neccesary speak out for this person who had done so much for the good of society.

  16. monk yi business | July 27th, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    wat u say now, buffer? hope $ in his pocket is smaller than foot in your mouth

  17. Disappointed | January 8th, 2009 at 11:31 am

    First there was the NKF saga.

    Next, within a short time span, we have the Ren Ci sage.

    I will not be surprised if yet another “Misappropriation of Funds” from another charity in the near future.

    I for one, have stopped donating to all charities.

    Even for other charities, the marketing company takes up a considerable portion of the donations.

    Why should I donate a dollar, only to have 1/2 of it going to the marketing body.

  18. Jade | April 3rd, 2009 at 10:32 am

    No matter what Shi Ming Yi had commited anything that was wrong to everyone in society…But, ps don’t always insult monk caused he needs to account for his own doing and face Buddha in his own actions… Seriously, layman like us shouldn’t make any bad comments… Just leave it to Buddha and karma that Shi Ming Yi needs to take charge for what he is doing…

  19. ED-wannabereligious | April 22nd, 2009 at 10:29 am

    haiz.. what is wrong with this world?

    Why can’t religions stick to being religions where all the simple men n women can go to.. for solace?
    Why do we have churches investing in commercial projects worth millions of dollars and monks who earns $16,000 salaries, buy LVs and living in St Regis, Four Seasons and such?
    What happened to religion? This is the new generation? So to appeal to the new generation, priests and monks must travel first class, live first class,but first class products? blimey! all these are bull trying to con the poor men/women out there who felt that in donating money to these nonsense monks/priests, they in return will receive lots of blessings from the higher one.
    I want to be a monk.. or a priest..
    Makes money easier than our government.

  20. Sniper | April 22nd, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I got a few doubts about Ming Yi’s
    1) By default, What is the motto of becoming a monk. IS IT TO DRAW VERY HIGH PAY, MORE THAN MP, DRIVE BIG EXPENSIVE CAR, LIVE IN LUXURY CONDO?
    – He is drawing $10K TO $60K per month salary taken from the charity fund.
    – As a monk, he care so much on his qualification and yet he says he did not knor nor check whether the PhD he obtained is recognised or legal.
    – He has used charity funds to purchase a few high end condo for his friends to stay. Don’t know whether these funds were used to purchase property oversea.
    – He has used charity funds to setup comapny under his friends name.
    – He has given more than 50K loan for his friend to renovate house in HK.
    – He is very generous to young handsome man,paid and loan them plus give them gold credit card to spend freely although they are not work permit holder. What is his intension and his sex orientation as a pure monk.
    – As a monk and Head of buddhist association, he & his friends watched and posessed over hundered over porn tapes or CD. Not sure is it Gay or Bi porn VCD.

  21. ck | April 22nd, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    No Eyes See…..

  22. ASE | April 22nd, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Jade is right. Lets not criticize Venerable Ming Yi. At the end of the day, he will has his own karma for what he has done. Nothing forgetting the efforts he put into Ren Ci Hospital. Whether he is right or wrong, it must not hinder our blieves.

    Let him be accountable to Buddha for his deeds.

  23. JamesCK | April 22nd, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Shame on you.

  24. charles ponzi | April 23rd, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Come on guys, what is this amounts compared to what the american public have been taking out lately.. haha. Ming Yi is a true blue entrepreneur. 🙂

  25. Lien Kia | April 24th, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Ming Yi has good intentions to help the poor and needy since his young day. I used to spend long time and put in heart and soul to provide my efforts working with Ming Yi and Ren Ci for the patients in the hospital.

    However, I was disappointed and even disbelieved to notice how Ming Yi and his long time staff-devotees ran the hospitals. I was also shocked how staff-devotees David Phua and Xiao Ping in resource department served Ming Yi personally and attended to a bespectacled boy (orphan ??)

    Ming Yi empowered his long time staff-devotees over professionals and the former usually have the final say in decision making. Everyone greeted him “Master” and either took instructions from him or give face to those staff-devotees. The professional Head of HR was very right to say that she only followed instructions and accepted that so and so will be employed, paid, promoted and benefits entitlement, etc. Those who were not able to understand the working culture have left.

    As a helper with heart to volunteer for the patients, I continued to attend to the patients and ignored rumous. Let’s all continue to care for the needy patients and donate to Ren Ci Hospital. Let the court investigate the case and pass judgement.

    What surfaced in the newspapers is probably the tip of the iceburge. Besides Ming Yi’s aide, the conduct and honestly of long time staff-devotees are to be looked into.

    Anyone has any comments on the other guy calls “David Phua” whose case was mentioned earlier ?

  26. Michael Green | April 24th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I agree with Lien Kia, what we have heard is probably only the tip of an iceberg. A Bogus Monk is someone who is not really an ordained monk but tricks soft-hearted decent people into giving him money. A Rogue Monk is infinitely more despicable, because he is an authentically ordained monk who leads a double-life, living a life of luxury and self-indulgence funded by decent but gullible wellwishers, while at the same time hypocritically pretending to be a model of piety that he is not. There is a very dirty smell of corruption and deceit surrounding the whole affair. As an earlier contributer noted, why does a monk need a string of handsome young so-called “personal assistants” who are given credit cards, personal loans, and remarkably well paid salaries? When an older man treats a successsion of handsome young men in this way he is sometimes called a Sugar Daddy!

  27. PE | April 26th, 2009 at 10:16 am

    We should not forget what Venerable Shi Ming Yi has done for the society. Which other religious person has ever risked their life to raise funds for the less fortunate? Before you guys start calling him names, think of where the patients of Ren Ci would be without him. So what if he has credit cards and all the other things? We all live in a modern world, not like olden days where monks all live in monastery in the mountains! And before anyone of us start judging him, we should reflect on whether we ourselves are so pure and clean to start criticising others!

  28. Michael Green | April 26th, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    We shall have to wait a few months longer to see whether the judge shares PE’s opinion, but I shall be very surprised if he does. I would find it very hard to understand how giving an unauthorised personal loan of fifty thousand dollars to his young friend using money that does not belong to him and has been donated in good faith for the benefit of elderly poor sick people, then lying to cover up could ever be justified. If he did nothing wrong why lie about it? His behaviour has resulted in donations to Ren Ci being reduced to a fraction of what they were before.

  29. Julia Lim | May 1st, 2009 at 3:51 am

    There are only 3 words to describe this guy: disgrace, disgrace, disgrace. The way he defended his acts and lies definitely doesn’t befit a high ranking monk and totally lacks wisdom, honesty and logic. Please remove your monk’s robe in public immediately and it reeks strongly of your most desperated desperation to hide the wolf behind sheep’s clothing. Try harder, dude!

  30. Julia Lim | May 1st, 2009 at 3:57 am

    PE, the basic conduct of a monk stands throughout time. Just because we are in modern time, it doesn’t mean monks now can have sex, and bank accounts to stash cash for themselves and friends from the donors so that they can have 3 condos, a bmw and lots of porn dvd to entertain among themselves. Buddhism calls for compassion with wisdom, not blind faith and closed mind.

  31. Michael Green | May 1st, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    I agree with you completely, Julia, but I don’t think that he will ever stop wearing those robes. He can’t because in his case they are his “stage prop” and he needs them to advance his self-promotion. It seems pretty obvious that he enjoys attention and being theatrical…hence his stunts. I don’t think that there is a mechanism in Singapore for “defrocking” him as a monk and taking his robe away. There is a mechanism for monks belonging to the Theravada tradition in the Thai and Burmese temples who are under the authority of a senior monk in matters of discipline, but in the Mahayana tradition there seems to be no such mechanism. The Singapore Buddhist Federation has already said it will not take action against him even if he is found guilty. To me that does not sound like tolerance, but more like irresponsibility.

  32. boy 83 | July 19th, 2009 at 8:27 am

    he even own a racehorse .who do he think he is ..the money donated by the public not meant for him to buy horse ..crazy monk ..i am glad justice is here …jail that fake monk ..

  33. HenryHiew | July 22nd, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    This monk not only ought to be shot but also punish severely. Feed him to the dogs

  34. Zen | July 23rd, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Ming Yi is at best a pseudo-monk who “sells dog meat while hanging a goat’s head”!
    Buying & selling properties? Owning several credit cards! Bought & sold a horse! Lavishing on & giving an unapproved loan of $50k to his so-called “personal assistant” ( Ya, personal indeed!). Giving false statements! etc……
    Ming Yi has brought total disgrace to Buddhism and the Buddhist robe he dorns!

  35. Alas | July 23rd, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Ming Yi should better change his name to “Ming Yi Shao Di” – 名议扫地。
    He is an utter disgrace, totally opprobious , ad nausem, and fits the rank of a persona non grata!

  36. ah lai | July 23rd, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    What a joke! Monks vowed to renounce the world, but this one lavished on himself instead.

    He lied, he greed …he doesnt deserve to be the chief!

    Shoudnt he resign?

  37. Fitro | July 29th, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Buddhist monk is someone who abandon their earthly desire! Period! but this f#cking monk seems to be all about lavish lifestyle. wow

  38. SuSu | July 30th, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    The modern society expect profitable, sustainable charities. We measured financial success and showmanship unknowingly. A simple monk can not achieve what Ming Yi has done. It is a sad saga for Buddhism image in Singapore.

  39. The Judge | August 2nd, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Hey hey… watch your words… he is a modern monk ok. dont play play eh…

  40. Zinc | August 2nd, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    ming yi considers ren ci as his baby, hence he is shamed for his luxury lifestyle in australia in early 2000s cos ren ci was in finiancial difficulties at tat time ..

    oh now alot of middle age guys are out of job , oh our M.. , i beg all of you to give up yr bunglow houses at bukit timah and give yr money to those singaporeans who are out of job ..

  41. ithink | October 8th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    If somebody is corrupt they have to be punished, otherwise there is no more a clean image.

    Buddhism and Singapore governance both must maintain their own clean image by exposing fraud activities. Let the public know the truth, that is the first step. To punish or not is the domain of the law, leave it to the courts.

    To start with there are many scams going on.

    these other “charities” also need to be thoroughly examined. Tax breaks are given because of trust that they are doing a good job and free of frauds. Charities have to earn the tax break by remaining corruption free.

  42. jack | November 21st, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    bail $450K plse for $50K issue – for heaven’s sake what is he , public enemy No 1.

    what on earth is going on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. emma | November 22nd, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Ven. Shi Ming Yi was a famous celebrity monk then. As no doubt he did quite a lot for charity fund raising for the Ren ci hospital, but till the second part of his monkhood, he had gone astray in keeping his vinaya rules and vows as an ordained monk. He, obviously has no wisdom in handling things. It’s a shame to the Buddhist community and believers, as he had set the precedent of breaking monk rules etc.

    I think the part on whether he had a PhD does not really matters, as he is not going to look for a job to make a living!

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