To all my fellow Singaporeans, maybe we should stop hating on Amos Yee and start doing something more constructive to the boy.

He was not always like this.

When he was around 13, Amos actually acted in Jack Neo’s 孩子不坏. When he was interviewed regarding the film, he was already displaying intelligence beyond his age. Even Jack Nero joked that he might be a 30-year-old pretending to be 13.

In another video that he made when he was 13, he was introducing Singlish to the rest of the world. I was skeptical about him at first, bracing myself for stupidity and insensitivity. But 30 seconds into the video, I was already hooked (in a positive way) and I stayed hooked till the end.

13-year-old Amos Yee was also the biggest winner at The New Paper FiRST Film Festival. Besides bagging the Best Actor award, his self-produced short film also beat 159 other entries and won him the top prize. And what’s more surprising is that he was the youngest contestant and his film had the lowest budget.

So the big question is: what in the world happened in his 4 short years in secondary school? Yes he was a little arrogant in the 孩子不坏 interview but definitely not rude and crude like he was in his recent videos. In his blog post about secondary school life, he bashed almost everything in school – from teachers to peers to the education system.

In his video, “My Lost Love”, he said he was always the kid who prefer to sit at the corner of the class. And when the last school bell rang, he would immediately head straight home into his own world of virtual reality (Youtube videos and films). He also mentioned that he used to have crush on girls in his school very easily. And even before speaking more than 50 words to them, he would text them and confess his “love”. However, every girl rejected him and some even showed signs of disgust. He admitted that he was socially awkward and was a lonely person who “desired love, companionship and sex”. His classmate would say things like “who will like you?”. In the same video, he said that he felt “the innate need to prove himself”

So in his secondary school life, Amos was an intelligent boy who sought to prove himself to his peers and the people around him. However, he was always under ridicule and rejection because he was deemed a weirdo. And in 4 years, that slowly turned him into an Amos who is rude, crude and remorseless, a teenager with no regard for his parents and the people around him.

He hated school to the extent of quitting education after O levels partly because of his experiences during his secondary school life where his peers ridiculed and rejected him. But now with a huge part of the country against him, how will he turn out to be in the future? If we continue hating on him after what he has done, how different are we from his teenage peers?

Yes what he did recently was terrible and he deserves to face the legal consequences. But I feel that we as fellow Singaporeans should stop bashing the troubled teenager and instead try to do something his peers in his secondary school did not.

The law will teach him a lesson. Hopefully a painful one that will wake up his idea. But what he needs is more than a lesson. What he needs is some compassion and guidance.

And love.

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