Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The changing faces of Amos Yee

The one person who stood most firmly by him is his mother Mary Toh, 48, who had earlier told The Straits Times that she will do "anything that can help him in his case".

The slim youth she worries about now is a far cry from the chubby infant who attracted nicknames such as "little Buddha".

"He's so different now," she said.

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Lawyers want judge who's not Christian for Amos Yee appeal

The lawyers for teenage blogger Amos Yee want his appeal to be heard by a non-Christian judge when it goes before the High Court.

The 16-year-old will be appealing against both his conviction and sentence. His lawyer Alfred Dodwell filed the notice of appeal on July 9, three days after Yee was released from remand.

Yee had been given four weeks' jail on July 6, walking free that day after his sentence was backdated from June 2. He had been on remand for more than 50 days.

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Since 16 July 2015, Amos Yee has filed for an appeal against his 4 weeks jail sentence with the High Court and has instructed his lawyer Alfred Dodwell to sue 49 year old Neo Gim Huah.

Amos said in his Facebook post:
"Will my lawyer, Dodwell, who as promised, quickly sue the guy who hit me in the face, prolonging that is really aggravating my mental condition."
Neo Gim Huah slapped Amos Yee while the latter on his way to a court hearing. Neo was swiftly arrested by the police and soon sentenced to 3 weeks imprisonment for the assault. Neo testified that he slapped Amos Yee because Lee Kuan Yew is someone he respects a lot and he is hurt by Amos Yee’s video.

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Amos Yee files appeal against conviction and sentence

Teenage blogger Amos Yee, who received a four-week jail term earlier this month for posting an obscene image online and posting content intended to hurt the religious feelings of Christians, has filed an appeal against his conviction and the sentence.

His lawyer Alfred Dodwell filed the notice of appeal with the High Court on July 9. With the notice filed, District Judge Jasvender Kaur will issue her grounds of decision, after which a petition of appeal must be filed.

Amos, 16, was convicted on May 12 and was sentenced on July 6. His jail term was backdated to June 2, when he was already in remand.

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Singaporean blogger Amos Yee appeals against conviction, sentence

Amos was convicted on May 12 and was sentenced on July 6, but his jail term was backdated to June 2, when he was already in remand.

The case attracted national and international interest, with some human rights groups questioning the need for court action. But the judge who presided over the case said that although Amos’ offences were “not the most serious offences, they are not trivial ones”.

Soon, it will be the High Court’s turn to hear the merits of Amos’ appeal.

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He has scant regard for others
Wearing a dark blue T-shirt that was tucked into baggy shorts, he clutched a bag and stayed close to his mother

Going on the Internet from a young age, Amos Yee Pang Sang thinks he has complete freedom of expression without responsibility, is overconfident and has little regard for the feelings of others

In sentencing Yee to four weeks' jail yesterday, District Judge Jasvender Kaur mentioned these points, which were highlighted in an Institute of Mental Health (IMH) report on the teenage blogger.

"The report makes the observation that from an early age, he has been trapped in the Net," she said.

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Teenage blogger appeared “traumatised”
At around 5:20pm on July 6, teenage blogger Amos Yee walked out the doors of Singapore’s State Courts alongside his mother

The crowd of reporters, photographers and camera operators, who had been waiting outside for hours, scrambled to catch the pair, surrounding them as they made their way through the courtyard.

The 16-year-old, who had been convicted of posting obscene material online and wounding religious feelings, was free, but he looked startlingly different from the boy who had dominated headlines in pervious months. Yee was known for his provocative views, cocky grins and carefree attitude as he entered court on earlier occasions.

Now he appeared pale and gaunt, often shaking as he clutched a bag containing his belongings. He mostly looked down as he was ushered away from the court, and struggled to utter more than a couple of words during his release.

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The price of remorse
Amos did not incite anyone to violence. He did not try to alienate or denigrate an already marginalised community. He expressed an opinion. It did not have to be the opinion, it did not even have to be the right opinion – it was, simply, his opinion. One that might have changed with time, experience, age. Or maybe not. But it would not have been our business either way.

Instead what we did was handcuff a boy, shackle him and take him to Changi Prison. Institutionalise him. Hurl threats. Slap him outside the courts. Watched him sent to hospital as he got too down to eat, and said, Hah, now he’s learning.

Since Amos’ arrests we’ve perpetuated the idea that saying the wrong thing will get you in serious trouble in Singapore. That there is a reason to fear. That one should keep one’s mouth shut. That if the state won’t police you, there are always your fellow citizens who are up to the task.

Perhaps it is not only Amos who emerged traumatised and frightened today.

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Lady Gaga or Amos Yee – who truly offended Christians?
But nothing was done to Lady Gaga who was apparently allowed to repeat her performance for another two nights, to sell-out crowds

Now, compare this to what the authorities did to a 16-year old boy whom they said had “wounded the religious feelings of Christians” with his 8-minute video on Youtube which, before the authorities took notice, was seen by a negligible number of people.

A video of a teenager’s rant in which he only mentioned the word “Christian” twice, and the name “Jesus” only once.

I think the authorities need to explain why it did not do to Lady Gaga what it did to Amos Yee. Why was one put through the severity of the legal system for a mere online video, effectively imprisoned for 55 days, including 14 days in a mental institution, while the other was not even questioned for what Christian leaders clearly found to be a profane and offensive performance in front of thousands?

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IMH, in the span of 2 weeks

Why you couldn’t send me out on bail to do it whenever it was required of me, and send me to the remand ward only if I failed to attend to one of them, I don’t know.

That seems like a simple solution that would have prevented facilitating a nervous mental breakdown that caused me to be incapable of eating for 5 days, causing me to have dangerously low blood sugar and blood pressure level, and having to be sent to a hospital.

All this, from one simple sentence by the prodigious psychiatrist Dr Winslow, who said that this boy might have autism, and then eventually finding out that he doesn't, but has contracted bipolar instead.

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13-year-old Amos Yee wins top film prizes
Convention on the Rights of the Child