Amos Yee - A Mother's Pain

Update 18 Oct 2020: ‘Internet troll’ Amos Yee charged with child porn
The former Singaporean national was granted asylum in the U.S. after he was jailed twice overseas as a teenager for his controversial posts

Blogger, YouTuber and all around “internet troll” Amos Yee allegedly exchanged nude photos and “thousands” of messages with a 14-year-old Texas girl while he was living in Chicago.

The 20-year-old Singaporean national, who appeared at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse Friday for solicitation and possession of child porn charges, gained international fame when he was jailed at 16 in his home country for controversial and obscene online posts he made following the death of the Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 2015. He was jailed again in 2016 for “wounding religious feelings” over his social media posts on on Christianity and Islam, according to an NPR.

Yee fled Singapore and was granted asylum in the United States after being detained at O’Hare Airport by immigration officials. He has been living in Chicago for about three years, Cook County prosecutors said.

Amos Yee’s mother calls for son’s release from IMH

The mother of 16-year old video blogger, Amos Yee, says her son, who is being held at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), has not been eating well the past two days.

Mdm Mary Toh, who visits her son three times a week, also says Amos Yee is suffering mental stress from the environment he is in.

The teenager is being remanded at block 7 of the institution, which is believed to be the remand ward for those with suspected mental illness and the criminally insane.

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Amos in remand – a mother’s perspective

Supporters and journalists who showed up at the State Courts early Tuesday morning expecting a sentence and closure to the Amos Yee saga found themselves bitterly disappointed. There was a two-hour wait with little to do but watch both the prosecution and the defence go in and out of chambers to speak with the judge. There were the brief glimpses of Yee, shackled and clothed in prison garb, shuffling meekly from holding to the witness room.

By the time District Judge Jasvender Kaur entered the courtroom, it was fairly clear that things weren’t going to go very well for the 16-year-old video blogger.

The report assessing his suitability for reformative training said that Yee was both mentally and physically fit for a stint at a Reformative Training Centre (RTC), but psychiatrist Dr Munidasa Winslow had observed that Yee might be suffering from autism spectrum disorder.

Singapore mom of detained teen blogger Amos Yee: 'Sorry, son'

The mother of detained teen blogger Amos Yee has written a heartfelt apology letter to her son, as he faces years in "reformative training" after being jailed for a Youtube video where he criticized Singapore's founding politician.

"Sorry for not teaching you well... Mummy is wrong," wrote Mary Toh in a widely-shared Facebook post yesterday. "Sorry for telling you that you are in the safest country. You are feeling so insecure and scared now."

"Sorry for urging you to be a law-abiding citizen. The laws are doing you more harm than good now," the note continued. "Sorry for encouraging you to be creative and expressive. You are regarded as crazy and rebellious instead."

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A mother visits her son at IMH

My son was transferred from Changi Prison to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in Buangkok on 23 June at 12 noon

This was ordered by the court so that he can be assessed to see if he is suitable for a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO) to be issued by the courts.

I did not know he had been transferred to IMH until the next day. No one told me.

It has been a very exhausting journey these last few months for everyone in the family, but nothing compared to what my son, Amos Yee, has gone through and continues to go through.

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Amos Yee out on bail, now represented by 3 lawyers
The 16-year-old had been in remand since last Friday as his parents did not post bail for him

Amos Yee has been bailed out by family and youth counsellor Mr Vincent Law on Tuesday evening, reported TheStraits Times.

Mr Law, 51, said: "I'm a Christian and it seems that the charge said that he made disparaging remarks against Christianity. I'm a Christian and I'm stepping up to say that I'm not offended."

The counsellor added that he hopes to counsel the teenager.

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Three Lawyers And A Counsellor: Who Are Amos Yee’s Saviours?

A counsellor forked out the $20,000 to bail Amos Yee out yesterday (21 April) after Singapore’s favourite teen spent 4 days in remand. Vincent Law, who works with youth and families, apparently has $20,000 just lying around, is one of the activists calling for charges to be dropped.

Three lawyers have stepped in to represent Amos Yee pro-bono (i.e. for free) because he has no legal representative. Amos was in the process of raising funds for court fees, but has been prevented from doing so by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, who set new bail conditions including the removal of his crowdfunding blog posts.

Human rights activists are protesting daily online about his treatment *insert joke about Speakers’ Corner being locked off here*; which includes:

  1. being handcuffed in front of his parents and grandmother;
  2. being in remand for 4 days (after Amos’s parents refused to post bail);
  3. and his seemingly repressive bail conditions which include not posting any material at all online.
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A Mother's Pain

Everybody knows Lady Macbeth will never win the Miss Congeniality award. Not after the way she prodded her husband into steely resolve to do the dastardly deed:
"I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums
And dashed the brains out."
Amos's mom is not Lady Macbeth. She's not even the evil Empress Dowager that Francis Seow claimed was actually running the show here. Mom would not report her own flesh and blood to the police, in a horrible place like ours where waving a copy of a report is already condemnation. J B Jeyaratnam did just that, at an election rally, and was taken to the cleaners.

 Mom (“I did not file a police report to have my son arrested”) thought that a public apology lodged at a police station would sate the hellhounds' unquenchable thirst for blood, or at the least make the grassroots leader shy off from legalised castration. However, where we are, as the Bard penned, there's daggers in men's smiles (Act 2, Scene 3, Page 8).

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Mother of Amos Yee: “I did not file a police report to have my son arrested”

Many in Singapore would been well aware of who Amos Yee is and the charges which he faces for the video that he posted on 27 March after the passing of late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Some may also be informed earlier by a Straits Times report on 31 March that Amos’s mother, Mrs Mary, filed a police report on her son. The report said:

“A teenager who is in police custody for posting a video online that insulted Christianity and attacked Mr Lee Kuan Yew has been declared by his mother to be beyond her control. A reliable source told The Straits Times Amos Yee’s mother has made a police report to that effect.”
Many might have assumed from the write up that Amos’s mother has given up on Amos as her child and have asked the police to arrest him for his actions.

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Singapore’s government-linked media misrepresents Amos Yee’s mother


According to The Online Citizen (TOC), Amos Yee’s mother did not file a police report to have her son arrested, contrary to a report in the Straits Times (ST) which suggested that she did. Mrs Mary also did not have her son declared to be beyond her control, as the Straits Times suggests; she merely said that she was unable to get through to him on some issues (and she also said that he behaved normally in other areas). This is probably one of the worst examples of misrepresentation by the Straits Times and a sad case of its failure to uphold journalistic integrity.

There are three problems here.

1) The statement by the “reliable source” plainly contradicts Mrs Yee’s police report. She never declared that her son was beyond control. By suggesting that she did, ST gives the impression that Mrs Yee wanted the state to take custody of her child, or something to that effect. But that is not true. She had in fact said in the police report that Amos behaved normally at home, and she was only unable to get through to him on the issue of his video and his blog posts. ST’s report is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. It attributes to Mrs Yee a declaration that she never made and gives readers a false impression of her attitude towards her own child.

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Can you blame Amos Yee's parents for what happened?

Hello guys, today I have stumbled upon an interview with Gurmit Singh and Quan Yifeng on Asia One today - in this interview, the local actors who both have teenage children said that the responsibility of a child's behaviour falls squarely on the shoulder of the parents. They shared their thoughts on the Amos Yee incident and how they would have reacted differently. I would like to offer my perspective on the same incident from both sides of the equation.

YES his parents are to be blamed. Parents have certain responsibilities: as an adult, when you choose to have a child, you have to assume responsibility for the child until that child becomes an adult. That is the deal and that is a somewhat scary aspect of parenthood. Of course most parents try their very best to nurture their children but when you get a child like Amos Yee, what do you do? You really just have to make the best of a very difficult situation and get whatever external help you need to try to cope with the situation. But at the end of the day, until the child becomes an adult, the buck still stops with the parents regardless of how challenging the behaviour of the child may be. That is the inconvenient truth for Mr and Mrs Yee.

Amos Yee didn't just wake up one morning and decided, "I am going to get myself into big trouble by making the most controversial Youtube video in the history of Singapore". The Amos Yee that you saw in the video was many years in the making - if his parents had taken any notice of his previous Youtube videos, then they would have seen that coming, especially when he had decided to drop out of school. The fact that his mother went as far as to lodge a police report against her own son shows that she has effectively given up as a mother to try to exert any influence on her son - she declared that her son was "beyond control". Really, what did Mrs Yee expect the police to do on her behalf?

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Olive branch for Amos Yee and his parents?

The parents had to apologised on his behalf

Straits Times reported that Amos Yee’s mother allegedly made a police report earlier that her son was beyond parental control.

Amos Yee was seen smiling as he walked out of court after posting bail today. His parents looked stressed and embarrassed. I feel sorry for them. In asian culture, the parents get faulted along with their child’s failing:

Someone on EDMW posted a full length blog post of Amos’ experience in his secondary school. Read it and you may understand him better. 

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Alas, it’s nearing the end of my journey in Zhonghua Secondary School. How I have changed considerably after these 4 years. With all the humility in the world, I think my experience, comparable to others, was very much more unique, because I am for better or worse, a completely unique individual, void of any established social construct that dear close-minded conservatives hold so sweetly to their hearts. And when such a person is placed in a not-so-unique setting, oh the things that happen.And oh! So sweet, now students have been tasked as a celebration to our graduation, to share our thoughts and experiences in our dear Secondary School. Oh how I relish at the opportunity.

Because I was so different, and was interested in talking about things that most people would shy away from, and was completely bored by what people normally talked about, there wasthis alienation from everyone for majority of my school years. It’s not that I only had a few friends, that isn’t a problem at all, it’s that I had absolutely no friends and had no one to talk, much less have a connection with.

Admittedly, it was also because of my own personal flaws, that contributed to my alienation. I was not a person who was capable of empathy, and was short of the capability to say things that made people feel good. However I think after acknowledging these problems, I’ve managed to effectively subdue them after knowing how detrimental they could be to myself, and I think from there it did open more gateways for me to form close relationships with friends, which currently I’m still trying to forge. But even with that, I’ll never associate myself with big groups of people for a long time and consider myself popular, and that’s good because I never wanted that. There is this novelty of having friends that can be maintained from Secondary School, but of course the most important thing in such relationships is it’s genuine nature.

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I think this post on Amos' experience in secondary school reveals a lot about Amos' motivations and insecurities.

Notwithstanding his horribly offensive posts, maybe we can see where he is coming from, and realise what he needs is conselling, not lynching. Amos this type of boy, you punish no use one. He will obligingly allow you to punish him, but curse you in his mind and plot revenge against you.

Its clear from his experience with the Zhonghua Sec VP. How to make him wake up his idea? I don't know also, but I think counseling him about his hatred of the world is better than lynching/castrating/imprisoning him. But if prison makes him wake up his idea I don't mind also.

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Amos Yee and the intolerance of the hysterical minority

Christians are offended? Really?

Vincent Law, a family and youth counsellor, has stepped forward and bailed out 16-year old Amos Yee on Tuesday.

Yee was being held by the authorities because no one had posted the S$20,000 bail for him over the weekend. He had been in remand for 4 days, and is being charged for three alleged offences which are (quoting local news reports):
  • Allegedly causing matter to be seen and heard by five victims by creating a video clip containing remarks against Christianity with the deliberate intention of wounding the feelings of Christians.
  • Allegedly transmitting electronically an image showing obscene figures, believed to be a cartoon or caricature of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Mr Lee in an unflattering sexual depiction.
  • Allegedly making an insulting video clip online containing remarks about Mr Lee which was intended to be heard and seen by persons likely to be distressed by the same.

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Thank you Amos Yee

Hi Amos, Thank you for speaking up and I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been remanded.

Rest assured, there are Singaporeans who strongly feel that “justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done”. And so you will see in your POSBKids account a lucky number 8888, my small contribution. If I were wealthy, there would be no decimal point in between the figures. : ( Even if you will not be using this for your legal fees, take it as a gift for showcasing our pseudo democracy to the world.

Singaporeans who want change cannot simply sit back and hope that somehow, someone will come out from somewhere and the abusive PAP will be history. I hope others will support you in whatever ways they can.

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Thank You, Nathan Heller

Dear Mr Heller, I am a Singapore citizen writing from a small backwaters town in Singapore. I would like to thank you for your recent piece on the New Yorker, entitled "Amos Yee: YouTube Star, Teen-Ager, Dissident" It was a very enlightening article and caused the scales to fall from my eyes and to view my homeland Singapore in a new light.

First, I would like to express my immense gratitude that the White Man's Burden, which I thought was gone with the end of colonialism, is still very much alive. As an Asian Chinese brainwashed by Confucianism, I was unable to see the self-evident virtue and superiority of Western ways such as American-style democracy. I now realize that the true yardstick of a country's maturity is how closely it adheres to American culture. We Singaporeans should emulate your country's culture of democratic bipartisanship , so as to achieve happiness, progress and prosperity for our young nation.

Your words show that you have an intimate understanding of Singapore and care very much for the welfare of Singaporeans. While others might accuse you of "imperialism", I know that you are only discharging the sacred responsibility of telling us how to govern our country because as an American courageously carrying the White Man's Burden, you know what is best for us unenlightened Singaporeans.

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The New Yorker's article about Amos Yee

Hi! Have you checked out the latest article on Amos Yee in The New Yorker? Like we're not just talking about any old publication here, this is The New Yorker - one of the most respected American publications that has been in print for 90 years. I'm afraid many less educated and less cosmopolitan Singaporeans would have never ever heard of this publication, but take my word for it - it is a big deal. Oh it is a really huge deal for them to write an article on Amos Yee like this and as I am writing this, it is the most popular article on The New Yorker at the moment. And the writer Nathan Heller loves Amos Yee and also, he hates the Singaporean government for what they have done to Amos Yee.

Whilst I do not agree with everything Heller said in his article, I think it is highly refreshing for someone to finally has the balls to stand up and give a great big middle finger to the Singaporean government about the way Amos Yee has been treated. Oh yes, I know, LKY has just died and everyone is walking on eggshells at the moment, being so careful about what they say, nobody wants to be disrespectful and upset Singaporeans in mourning - but now that the grand funeral is over, when can people finally speak up? Or is that LKY's legacy, a nation that is willing to censor itself long after he is no longer around to silence them in person? Allow me to quote my favourite part of Heller's article.

"Yee’s arrest doesn’t just underscore his complaints about Singapore’s backwardness on rights and freedom. It shows the country’s dire need for cultural education through intelligent dissent. In the days after Yee’s arrest, a slew of local celebrities, including three Singaporean starlet types, were interviewed about his videos on national TV. In sequences depressing to watch, they all sided with the state. “If you say that, ‘Oh, people can say whatever they want, all the time,’ then what about those people who are listening?” Joshua Tan, a young actor, said. Well, what about them? The suggestion that citizens should withhold political criticism for fear of offense is preposterous—far more embarrassing to Singapore than any videos by Yee could be."

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Amos Yee: Spawn of Lee Kuan Yew's grand experiment


The other week, all eyes were on the funeral of the founder of Singapore Lee Kwan Yew, with the country’s media network practically running a 24-hour program since the start of the public viewing of his body. YouTube was full of these skits as well as postings of old videos showing Lee in action – defending his policies, deflecting criticisms, and proud about what he and his country achieved.

One example of such confident riposte was Lee’s September 2008 interview with CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria, where Lee outlined his views on his critics, the United States elections (John McCain’s odd choice of the empty-headed Sarah Palin amused the old man), and his favorite argument that Western-style (American?) democracy would not work in a place like Singapore. Zakaria was practically drooling in his mouth as he listened to Lee.

But shortly after the news of Lee’s death was announced to the world, in came another Singaporean, Amos Yee, who posted a video on YouTube titled “Lee Kuan Yew is Finally Dead!” In that March 29 video, the 17-year-old Yee gave the opposite description of Lee and Singapore: a narcissistic despot destroying any opposition to his autocratic rule, the country having one of the highest inequality rates in terms of incomes, and the gross discrepancy between the salaries of high officials vis-à-vis the ordinary grunt, and the creation of a society that is not only apolitical but also lacking in imagination.

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Amos Yee: YouTube Star, Teen-Ager, Dissident

Amos Yee, right, arrives with his father at the Singapore state court

The most winsome political dissident you’ve never heard of, Amos Yee, is a Singaporean, a YouTube personality, and an activist who takes his cause more seriously than he takes himself. He has hair like a haystack in late afternoon and the nervous timing of a standup nebbish. He curses as imaginatively as a Scotsman in an Iannucci script, and, despite his perfect vision, he wears glasses on camera, for style. He’s a humanist—a close student of street idiom and indie film—but he has a data wonk’s appreciation for comparative statistics and a wariness of received wisdom. On concerns such as gay rights, income inequality, and free speech, he’s outspoken on the right side of history. He is seventeen years old.

He is also, in his home of Singapore, an alleged criminal for what he’s said. On Friday, March 27th, Yee uploaded a video that criticized Lee Kuan Yew, the recently deceased founding father of postwar Singapore, and also took a swipe at organized Christianity. By the following Monday, after formal complaints from some fellow Singaporeans, Yee had been arrested under Section 298 of the country’s penal code, which forbids the uttering of words that might hurt the religious feelings of any person, and the Protection from Harassment Act, a recent law ostensibly set up to guard against cyberbullying. His blog, where he had posted an illustration of Lee and Margaret Thatcher in flagrante, was censored; it earned Yee an obscenity charge under Penal Code Section 292. He was released on a bail of twenty thousand Singapore dollars, and is currently awaiting hearings. He has been ordered not to post anything more online. If he’s found guilty, he could face a fine of five thousand Singapore dollars and three years in prison.

Previously, Yee’s targets had been overly pliant citizens, religious hypocrisy, governmental agitprop, and parents. His smart-alecky YouTube videos, which he began releasing a couple of years ago, were directed equally toward the Singaporean youth and a more international, American-style audience. It is easy to lose a lunch hour in such homemade productions as his exposition of Singaporean English and his review of “The Da Vinci Code.” Yee’s style is both manic and concinnate, confident and strangely self-aware. If most teen-agers deploy sarcasm and snark, he has a sense of higher-order irony—a pearl-like virtue in a society that tends to disdain intellectual risk.

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Amos Yee lauded by The New Yorker as a modern-day Voltaire, ‘cinematic prodigy’


In a piece out on April 10, 2015, “Amos Yee: YouTube Star, Teen-Ager, Dissident“, written by Nathan Heller, the uber highbrow mag was not short of effusive praise for the newest enfant terrible in Singapore, who has been arrested and charged for hurting some people’s feelings with a YouTube video he made.

This is what he wrote: Yee’s arrest doesn’t just underscore his complaints about Singapore’s backwardness on rights and freedom. It shows the country’s dire need for cultural education through intelligent dissent. The citizens of developed nations in the twenty-first century should not need to be told that free expression is a basic attribute of political health. It’s part of Yee’s precocity to realize that a population molded into sheeplike complaisance is ideologically vulnerable. If his opinions sometimes tend toward the extremes (in a more recent video, he urges young people to drop out of school, the better not to, you know, go to learn the words of fools), his goal seems to be to unsettle the existing Singaporean power structure enough that young people have no choice but to broaden their expectations. His flamboyant thought and language is part of the best tradition of dissension, from Voltaire to the Velvet Revolution, and it accrues to creative fields beyond politics. Yee is something of a cinematic prodigy, having snagged two top prizes in a Singaporean festival for a hilarious short he made at thirteen, in his bedroom.

If anything, Yee has all the hallmarks of a green and thriving mind; he is exactly the kind of person you would one day want reviewing your books, making your movies, maybe even running your country. Americans, who enjoy the benefits of free media, have a responsibility to take him more seriously than they take the government that has tried to quiet him for thinking freely in the public sphere. And those of us in the Fourth Estate have a duty to spread word of his ridiculous charges. If people like Amos Yee end up the custodians of our profession, the future of countries like Singapore can be brighter than their past.

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Dear Amos, The timing, to get maximum impact, was of course no accident either. More than a million views and unprecedented media coverage makes that abundantly clear.

Dear parents of Amos, And even if Amos still may have a million or two detractors in Singapore, be not in doubt who the world sympathizes with. A Google news search indicates there are now more than 2000 news articles about your son worldwide. Maybe 200 of them are from Singapore and the rest are from the international media. And while the Lee family has used every trick in the book to try to portray Amos as a villain in the state controlled media, the international media’s sympathy lies with Amos. In autocratic regime v. 16 year old vlogger, the sympathy of the international media and public opinion will always be with the latter. So, even if Amos may have a couple of million detractors in Singapore, he has tens of millions supporters outside Singapore.

To Mr. Lee Jr, As Amos' parents, must you be scared. How terrifying it must be to see that a 16 year old boy's 8 minute video ripping your father apart resonates so well with your populace. You have held no punches in order to stop this boy. The police and judiciary are on your side, you have crucified him in the media and he has been given a gagging order. But to what effect? The only result is that the whole world has heard his message too. I assume one of your advisors have informed you about the Streisand effect by now. Well, you have learned it the hard way.

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What is Amos Yee’s problem? Ours, actually

By now, it would be completely understandable to find Amos Yee’s antics tiresome. Even the strongest advocates for free speech has to admit that banging your head against a brick wall a second time, when the first has already given you a nasty bruise, is really not the smartest thing to do.

Amos’s latest romp saw him uploading the same video that won him his sedition charge to his blog, in a bid to raise funds for his legal fees. This was in flagrant violation of court orders for him not to upload anything. And to cap it, he arrives in court eating a banana. He has since updated his blog with a new fund-raiser notification, sans said video. The sensible, or wish-he-was-sensible, might ask, was it that difficult for him to do so in the first place?

Did Amos cared that he violated court orders? Perhaps at his age he does not know the implications of his actions. Perhaps he did not have good advise, particularly the legal advise that he clearly and desperately needs. Perhaps we can excuse him for being a child. But none of it takes away the pain and fear of his parents, who would likely be vexed at the slippery slope he is on. No amount of bravado chest-thumping, of declaring Amos’s innocence, takes away the desire for his parents to make the safer choice for him, even if that choice is not agreeable with our good senses or desires.

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To the 20 plus who made police reports against Amos Yee

I wish I knew who you were. I know the name of one of you, a 52-year-old lawyer called Chia Boon Teck, and that’s only because the press interviewed him. This Mr Chia had earlier written to the Straits Times, saying that:

“I have heard many disrespectful jokes and opinions regarding Mr Lee Kuan Yew over the past few weeks.

With his death, let all Singaporeans stop tolerating such disrespectful comments made against Mr Lee and take the individuals who make them to task, by raising the issue with the relevant authorities or the individuals’ respective professional or governing bodies.”

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The wannabe intellectual that is Amos Yee

The young Singapore dissident fails to understand a basic rule of communication: know your audience

The Urban Dictionary defines “blowhard” as “an opinionated person who talks loud and way too long on the same subject, often sensationalising the subject matter.”

And that is what Singapore dissident Amos Yee is. Amos was arrested last month. Police said that they had “received more than 20 reports regarding an online video that contained, in part, insensitive and disparaging remarks against Christians”. Religion aside, it was mainly a long tirade castigating Singapore’s late founding father, Lee Kuan Yew.

Let’s be be clear about one thing: Amos Yee is clearly a smart young man. The 17-year-old, mop-haired minor YouTube celebrity made several points that were actually pretty good, reflecting a growing wave of anti-establishment sentiment among Singapore’s youth.

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Best to just ignore Amos Yee


Until it was in my face, I paid no attention to this extremely rude teenager Amos Yee. I caught about 10% of his YouTube rant to understand why the public is so upset with him. I thought to myself the best way to deal with this brat is to ignore him.

It was obvious that he was seeking attention so that once noticed he could figure a way to launch an acting career.

We know for a long time now that if you cannot get noticed by being famous, infamous could often work as well. 

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The martyrdom of young Amos Yee

A mature society is marked by its ability to accept, assimilate, and act upon criticism

It’s intriguing but disconcerting to follow the tribulations of Amos Yee, the brave young 17-year-old who has dared to question the majesty of the late founding father of Singapore. Several worrying issues come to mind, involving both modern and archaic concerns that touch on Singapore as a society.

In case you missed it, Amos posted a video titled “Lee Kuan Yew is finally dead!” to his YouTube channel four days after the Singapore strongman passed away. He expressed some controversial sentiments. Among other things, he called Lee a horrible person and said he hoped he would not rest in peace.

The video went viral, and within two days Amos had become the most infamous person on the island, leading to his arrest under charges that include offences against Christianity, which he did insult. But these charges were secondary to his actual crime, which was insulting Lee Kuan Yew.

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Evaluating Amos Yee as a person
  • He is special, perceiving things differently from his peers and the social norms.
  • He is logical, basing arguments on his observations and facts gathered elsewhere.
  • He is emotional, adding unnecessarily strong emotional words to his arguments.
Some sources suggest that he is suffering from Narcissistic personality disorder. While this might be the case, I believe the line between having the disorder and having a very special personality is very thin. (updated on 1 Apr)

*I drew some of the observation from the other video of him:

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Truth behind famous Amos?

The news that keep cropping up recently is Amos's Youtube rant online. I did not have a chance to see the video but I did see his post about his secondary school life, which to my surprise, something I can relate to.

It has been decades since I left secondary school and I'm quite surprised that the problems I faced in school last time still exists in this current day. Let me bring up 2 main points.

In school or even in the working world, there always seem to be a trend to be socially acceptable. And to be socially acceptable, it means you must blend in with a group. If you are not able to find a group with the same thinking as you, you will be ostracised, which is the best thing that can happen to you. The worst thing that can happen to you is that you'll be bullied or in this generation, cyber bullied because you do not fit in with the "norm". Although Amos does have an issue of having almost 0 EQ, this should not be an excuse for others to take advantage of.

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What Amos Yee is going through is far bigger than just one boy
Reuters/REUTERS - Amos Yee eats a banana as he arrives with his father to the State Courts for a pre-trial conference in Singapore April 17, 2015. The Singaporean has been charged with harassment and insulting a religious group for comments he made on social media about former premier Lee Kuan Yew and Christians soon after Lee's death, authorities said on March 31, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su 

And that brings me to yet another issue: how do we, as Singaporeans, react to things that we don’t like? Do we walk away? Do we engage each other to debate our perspectives? Are we willing to admit the existence of views we don’t like – even views we find abhorrent – because we believe in bigger principles of freedom and expression?

Or do we just stamp our feet and appeal to authorities to remove what we don’t like? Do we prioritise our desire to never be challenged or offended above someone else’s right to speak his or her mind? From Amos’ case – judging by the vindictiveness of some adults in wanting to see a kid go down – it appears that despite 50 years of education, progress and development, we’re still in the latter category. Decades of nation-building have not taught us to engage and to talk, only to appeal to authority to fix things that are hard for us to take. Years of education and exposure to the wider world have not taught us to respond with grace to things that we strongly disagree with; we still insist that everyone conform to a narrow band of opinion and feeling, that there are “right” ways to think, “right” ways to speak, “right” ways to act.

If this is true, then we have far bigger problems than Amos Yee.

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What exactly was Amos Yee’s crime?

The Amos Yee saga has got me thinking about how we as a society deal with “non-mainstream individuals”. While I do not profess to agree with Yee’s erstwhile sentiments, I do wonder if we have overreacted to what is essentially an angry teenager’s rant about society.

Sure, Yee’s statements are annoying but when does annoying behaviour become a crime? Does that justify handcuffs and the weight of our court system on the paltry shoulders of a teen?

The charges against Yee are that he has contravened the Penal Code and the Protection from Harassment Act by insulting Christians in a video he uploaded shortly after the death of Mr Lee Kaun Yew. Based on what I have read about Yee’s video and conservations with people who have viewed the contents, I understand that it was perhaps more insulting to Mr Lee than to Christians per se. The comments about Christianity do not appear to be any more radical than old and often repeated criticisms against the church from international comedians and renowned writers. The late Sir Terry Pratchett has certainly said much worse without coming off badly.

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Full Coverage:
Public Opinion: Is Amos Yee a child?

5 Syars & A Moon: Free Amos Yee?
Biddy Low: I've been thinking alot
Kaffein-nated: It's never been about Christianity, it never did
The Online Citizen: What exactly was Amos Yee's crime? 
AsiaOne: Counsellor bails out teen behind online rant 
AsiaOne: Amos Yee bailed out by counsellor; gets 3 lawyers 
Global Voices: Sporean Teen Arrested for Making Videos Deemed 'Offensive' 
Rakyat Post: Singaporean teen facing jail over anti-Lee video bailed out 
Straits Times: Amos Yee, has 3 lawyers now, has been bailed out by a counsellor 
AsiaOne: Amos Yee out on bail, now represented by 3 lawyers 
TODAYonline: 'Unoffended' Christian citizen posts bail for Amos Yee 
Channel News Asia: Amos Yee back in Court 
Malaysian Insider: Sporean teen facing jail over anti-Kuan Yew video bailed out 
GlobalPost: Singaporean Youtuber Amos Yee bails out by youth counselor 
Channel News Asia: Youth counsellor bails out Amos Yee 
Yahoo Singapore: Singapore teen Amos Yee bailed out by youth counsellor 
Malay Mail: Singapore teen behind YouTube video insulting Christians bailed out
malaysiandigest: Youth Counsellor Bails Amos Yee Out 
New Paper: Three lawyers acting for Amos Yee pro bono 
Online Citizen: “Police report” button to tackle offensive speech 
Mumbrella: Free-speech group says detention of Amos Yee 'does nothing to help
TODAYonline: TODAY's brief, Tuesday, April 21 
AsiaOne: No bailor yet for teen in online rant 
StraitsTimes: Amos Yee, in trouble for his online rants, continues stay behind bars 
AsiaOne: Amos Yee continues his stay behind bars on Monday 
TODAYonline: Beware of exposing children to technology at too young an age 
Youth Health: You Tuber Amos Yee Charges: 'Causing Distress To Viewers,'

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Sexual and physical threats made against Amos Yee

16-year old Amos Yee, who is spending the weekend in remand, is again the target of online comments which apparently advocate violence against him.

In particular, sexual violence. Some of these comments rather gleefully and apparently hope Amos Yee would be raped in prison.

Amos Yee has been charged for three counts by the authorities for offending the religious sentiments of Christians, for an obscene cartoon on his blog, and for causing “distress” to some who had viewed the video Amos Yee made on the death of Singapore’s former prime minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew. The charge sheet seems to say this meant Amos Yee had harassed some of those distressed by the video.

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Letter to PA about threat made by alleged grassroots leader

Dear sir / ma’am, I am not sure if you are aware of the incident where a reported grassroots leader from the Telok Blangah area is said to have made a public threat of physical violence against a 16-year old boy who had created and posted an online video about Lee Kuan Yew and the Christian religion.

The grassroots leader, one Jason Tan, posted on Facebook the following threat:

“For me, I would cut his dick and put in his mouth for blemish Jesus Christ”.
Pls see here:

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Amos Yee: YouTube Star, Teen-Ager, Dissident 

The most winsome political dissident you’ve never heard of, Amos Yee, is a Singaporean, a YouTube personality, and an activist who takes his cause more seriously than he takes himself. He has hair like a haystack in late afternoon and the nervous timing of a standup nebbish. He curses as imaginatively as a Scotsman in an Iannucci script, and, despite his perfect vision, he wears glasses on camera, for style. He’s a humanist—a close student of street idiom and indie film—but he has a data wonk’s appreciation for comparative statistics and a wariness of received wisdom. On concerns such as gay rights, income inequality, and free speech, he’s outspoken on the right side of history. He is seventeen years old.

He is also, in his home of Singapore, an alleged criminal for what he’s said. On Friday, March 27th, Yee uploaded a video that criticized Lee Kuan Yew, the recently deceased founding father of postwar Singapore, and also took a swipe at organized Christianity. By the following Monday, after formal complaints from some fellow Singaporeans, Yee had been arrested under Section 298 of the country’s penal code, which forbids the uttering of words that might hurt the religious feelings of any person, and the Protection from Harassment Act, a recent law ostensibly set up to guard against cyberbullying.

His blog, where he had posted an illustration of Lee and Margaret Thatcher in flagrante, was censored; it earned Yee an obscenity charge under Penal Code Section 292. He was released on a bail of twenty thousand Singapore dollars, and is currently awaiting hearings. He has been ordered not to post anything more online. If he’s found guilty, he could face a fine of five thousand Singapore dollars and three years in prison.

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Amos Yee and the hypocrisy of some responsible speech advocates

In condemning Yee’s hate speech, some have done the opposite of what they claim to believe in. Instead of exercising responsible speech, a number of people and one radio station have irresponsibly made callous comments about Yee.

On Saturday, 4 April, ONE FM 91.3 posted an image on its Facebook page, taunting Yee with the prospect of a rough life in jail. The picture was captioned:

“Hi Amos!! Call Us when U arrive… Love, Your Boys…XOXO”. It was posted with the message: “Amos is gonna have some new friends soon.”
Needless to say, the post was not well received and it was quickly taken down. But it gives us an insight into how the radio station is willing to treat Yee callously —further damaging his reputation — just to capitalise on the public attention that has been showered on this case.

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