Still Talking About Amos Yee’s Jailing
Amos Yee might have succeeded in his bid for asylum in the United States, but people still can’t stop talking about him, especially the foreign media.
Another article on the former budding child star was published by The Economist last month, discussing the reasons behind Amos Yee’s incarceration in Singapore.
The article, which was titled “A haven for the crass” in the print edition of The Economist, argued that the underlying grounds for Amos Yee’s arrest was to “stifle political dissent”. Tell us something we haven’t heard ad nauseam.
Anyway, the article referenced the Amos Yee video that started everything. You know, the one that was released days after the death of founding father Lee Kuan Yew and repulsed many Singaporeans.
In the video, Amos Yee spent the majority of the video bashing Mr Lee, and spent about 30 seconds mocking Christianity — a big mistake, the judge who granted Amos Yee asylum said.
Amos Yee was charged with making offensive remarks against Christians, despite the remarks taking up only a short part of the video.
Well, they may have taken up a short part of the video, but he did make the remarks, didn’t he?
Anyway, The Economist also called to attention immigration judge Samuel Cole’s 13-page statement that although Amos Yee was legally prosecuted, there was a “nefarious purpose” behind his arrest. He claimed that Amos Yee had been dealt with so harshly because of his politically divergent views.
The Economist also quoted him as saying:
this is the modus operandi for the Singapore regime—critics of the government are silenced by civil suit for defamation or criminal prosecutions.
Judge Cole’s obviously not a fan of the Singapore “regime”.
The Economist also noted that while other Singaporeans had also made racist slurs against Islam, the legal system had failed to prosecute them, in an apparent double standard.
Amos Yee also cited the same point in a recent video. He brought up the case of Jason Neo, who had posted racist comments online. Mr Neo, then a People’s Action Party youth member, had been reprimanded but not prosecuted.
Nearly two weeks after the article was published (April 12), Singapore High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Foo Chi Hsia finally wrote a letter to The Economist in response, detailing a few choice nuggets of Amos Yee’s diatribes.
In her letter, she said that Amos Yee had not only called Jesus “power hungry and malicious” but also “full of bull”, and had also insulted Islam.
In a separate video, Amos Yee had gone on a diatribe about Islam and all its “shortcomings”. He had said —
The Islamics seem to have lots of sand in their vaginas…But don’t mind them, they do after all follow a sky wizard and a paedophile prophet. What in the world is a ‘moderate Muslim’? A fucking hypocrite, that’s what!
Ms Foo explained that Singapore does not “countenance” hate speech, due to the fragility of our racial harmony. Amos Yee’s repeated racist remarks could therefore not be ignored, and action had to be taken against him. She assured The Economist that “several people have been prosecuted for engaging in such hate speech”.
She also took issue with The Economist’s other implications:
Contrary to the suggestion in your article, Singapore’s laws on contempt do not prevent fair criticisms of court judgments, as the article itself demonstrates. Singapore’s court judgments, including on Mr Yee’s case, are reasoned and published, and can stand scrutiny by anyone, including The Economist.
Her terse but spirited reply wasn’t anything ground-breaking, as it repeated Singapore’s well-known stance, but it was also clear that she also saying: “We’ll agree to disagree.”
Our government has long established that it is the US’ prerogative to accept people like Amos Yee. It reports that hate speech falls under the blanket of free speech in the US, the same cannot be said for Singapore.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to running a nation. Singapore enjoys racial harmony only because people who engage in speech that is critical of other races and religions are severely dealt with.
While it is good to observe policies that other countries practice, one must understand that we have to tailor our own rules to ensure our prosperity.
Now, can we just leave Amos Yee alone once and for all?
Featured image from Facebook