Editor’s Note: This letter was sent by a reader. The views in this letter are her own.
I notice that many people on the internet are supporting Amos Yee online. I am quite shocked that many people don’t know the real reasons why Singaporeans are offended by Amos.
The first real reason is because Amos Yee insulted our founding father LKY in a very sensitive time. Imagine if your grandfather just passed away and one of his enemies came over and insulted him at his funeral. Would you want to smack him or call the police to send him away for harassment? Touch your heart and answer this.
The second real reason is because Amos Yee is a threat to society and himself. The way he conducts himself is self-centred and egotistical. He wants fame and he wants his opinions to be heard, regardless of the cost. He says what he wants because he feels he is entitled to. But everyone knows that to live in civilized society, there are certain things you should not say. Like throwing random vulgarities at other people for no apparent reason other than your own personal dislike for them. If a young child were to go around saying, “F**K YOU” to every adult or child that he didn’t like, is he considered a “genius” or a social misfit?
The third real reason is because Amos chose to denigrate a religion. Sure, you might say that some Christians were not offended. That doesn’t make it okay to insult other people’s religion anyway. In fact, his insult against Christianity lets us see Amos for who he truly is. A coward and a bully. Why did he pick a religion that was least likely to respond to his insults? If he had tried to say the same thing about Islam or the Prophet Muhammad, would he have gotten off so lightly? He would have been slapped with the full force of the law for insulting our minorities.
The fourth and final reason is because Amos cannot be controlled by his parents anymore. His father recently advertised in the evening Chinese newspapers for someone to come and help his son. He says he and his wife are unable to control their headstrong son anymore, and thankfully Christian counselor Vincent Law and a Buddhist teacher have stepped forward to offer help. As a traditional, Asian society, we are offended when Amos takes to social media to insult his parents in public and when he openly talks about how his mother should get a divorce from his father. Maybe in a Western society, where respect for your parents is trumped by free speech, Amos actions would have been tolerated or at least left alone. But here, showing disrespect to your elders and your parents makes people especially angry.
So I hope everyone who reads this letter understands why Amos is being charged. He is a troubled teen who needs the help of professionals, and we should stop trying to cuddle and cajole him into changing himself for the better.