“Only through discussion and debate, will it allow everyone to understand one another better. When you restrict any racial or religious discussion, you end up restricting an individual’s mind, which prevents people from understanding one another better. “
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3) I didn’t ask nor require interviewees to provide their names 🙂This is the second part of a collection of public responses that Offbeat Perspectives had taken down at the Free Amos Yee Rally @ Hong Lim Park 4pm on the 5th of July. We hoped to hear the diverse opinions of people towards the Amos Yee Saga which was why we went on the ground to do these interviews with people who attended the rally.
Religious Belief: Free Thinker
- Staying overseas, just came back for a short holiday
“ I heard of a similar case, someone mentioned about Obama. You know? Great men like them should not take any offence over this. I think they should have just approach the thing in a milder manner.. Putting him in IMH, I think it’s a little too much for him, for a 16-year-old boy.. Have to subject to all these hardships, including the parents of this boy. I think we have to give some sympathy to them.”
Religious Belief: Buddhist
“ He definitely did not like have a platform to express himself. Even if he did them, the government would like say NO, don’t post that.. Definitely don’t put him in IMH, he is not crazy, maybe just house arrest until the case is close? Cause, You can’t just put someone at IMH and say that he’s crazy but actually he’s not.
They call him Autistic but, all these are just stupid.. Cause, I don’t know, he’s so young and as a young person, you feel very traumatized.. America has it, freedom of speech, so why can’t we? Let us have our own platform to say things but of course, moderate a bit, but at least, let us have something to say.”Age: 30
Religious Belief: Buddhist
“I do not feel what he said was disrespectful but rather, it was expressed through his own style. Maybe the timing was not right and everyone was mourning over Mr Lee critical condition, which was why his words blew out of proportion.. His sentence is a bit too severe.. He is not the only one that would share such thoughts on Youtube, It just so happens that many people happened to watch his video, which was why it became such a huge issue.
Only through discussion and debate, will it allow everyone to understand one another better. When you restrict any racial or religious discussion, you end up restricting an individual’s mind, which prevents people from understanding one another better. Argument is inevitable, but more importantly, the focus should be on expressing it in an appropriate manner within a safe platform.
In regards to education, (Unlike Singapore) other countries would expose children from a young age to different races and religion. If you look at the US, a white person can just go into a church and kill black people. It’s the same explanation, because they have not reach a stage where everyone is aware and understand that they are living in a diverse society.”
*Translated from Chinese to English
Religious Belief: Christian
“ When a kid talk, don’t take it too hard. He is just a small kid so how can you every time a small kid speak, then you will react? Then you are also becoming a small kid. As an adult, you must be able to tell when a small kid speaks. Afterall, he is just a small kid. That’s my personal view.
How do you think the authorities could have handled the situation more effectively?
I don’t think the word “effective” should be the right adjective. Because, Singapore government is always effective. If It’s not effective, they wouldn’t do it. But, they should do it with more sensitivity. He is just a kid, so why all the big hoo ha? The only thing I think is unfortunate is our former prime minister happened to passed away and he (Amos) touched on that.
But you know, they already withdrew the 3rd charge?
No no no, it’s not withdrew. It’s a perception. Because they know they can do anything about it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, especially from a small kid. Small kids are always highly opinionated, even of their family, of their friend, of their own schoolmate, of their own mother, father.
They want to put him in a Reformative centre? Do they know what they are talking about a not? You know Reformative centre? (Gives a deep sigh) I cannot imagine. For this? They want to put him in a Reformative centre for a minimum of 18 months? I don’t know. It is worst than North Korea you know? I think freedom of speech is very subjective.
Freedom itself is very subjective. Freedom to do whatever you want, say what you want, so there’s no such thing in the world as total freedom. But what we must do is always when we see something wrong or do something wrong, we must always be mindful of the feelings of other people. No one man is an island, *mumbling*.. That’s all, live and lets live as one.”
Religious belief: Hindu
“He has his facts and if he do it in a more civilized way, more politically politely, maybe the public would have been more lenient to him but he’s still a young boy, mistakes would be made and I think he just made one small mistake..I’m just here to see what all the fuss is about, about a small boy who made a mistake and its all around the news, international news. I think there should be a bit leniency.
The world is progressing, Singapore shouldn’t be left behind. First world country. We should get a bit lenient. One park is not enough, we should get a few more parks and a little bit more, the laws must be amended, change a little bit to give us more freedom and of course, there should be boundaries. Nothing racial, nothing to cause upset but a bit little leniency would be great to privacy laws, freedom of speech.
Now everyone is suing everyone so, it’s not Singapore culture lah to do that. In America maybe yes but in Singapore, I only see the minister suing people. Nobody sues anybody else that regularly. Freedom of speech is something they should look at lah, maybe not a lot, inch by inch, until we compromise and reach a stage where we have complete freedom of speech.”
Religious Belief: Free Thinker
Do you think the public response would have been more receptive if he had expressed his idea in a more receptive manner?
“I don’t think I can answer that question because I don’t think it’s the right way to approach what he did because respect is subjective and if its supposed to be more responsible for the people who have an issue with it, then I don’t think it will be the same message. And I don’t take side on this either way, it’s more of just an interesting story. He’s a child. He’s under 18 and under international child right laws.
It’s illegal here what he did but he’s technically still a child. I think things are slowly changing and there is going to be more freedom of speech. And the current situation is what it is right now, and it’s appropriate, that’s how the government decide on it and what the people seems happy with it for now like any other country, as media and ideas change, the laws will evolve.
If you compare the freedom of speech in US with Singapore, do you think one way is better than the other? Or both have its pros and cons?
I wouldn’t say one is better than the other, but I definitely would say there is more freedom of speech in the US because there are people who threatens the president all the time but the general public knows that often at times, people say things that is not going to ruin everything. There is definitely more freedom of speech in the west. A child will not be put in a mental institution for speaking his mind about a public speaker because that is just freedom of speech.
So (do you feel) the freedom of Speech in Singapore should be loosened more?
Everyone country has their own laws and expectations. If the public wants it, then that will happen. That’s the easiest way to put it. If the people wants it, than it should eventually happen. But if people don’t want it, there is definitely not going to be change.
Should the freedom of speech in US be more controlled or you are quite happy at where it is?
There are definitely pros and cons to it but the ability to say things to the government against different groups as long as it not, and there’s a limit to it and that gets enforced but I think that it’s good, I’m happy with it. I can generally say whatever I want. Wouldn’t be put in jail, so pretty happy.”
“But what we must do is always when we see something wrong or do something wrong, we must always be mindful of the feelings of other people. No one man is an island, .. live and lets live as one.”
Food For Thought:
Do you agree with public views that:
1. Amos Yee should be given sympathy?
2. What he said was not disrespectful?
3. Open discussion and debate is important for diverse races and religious groups to better one understand one another?
4. The matter was blown out of proportion?
5. Our freedom of speech and censorship laws are not lenient enough?
6. There should be more platform for people to express/rally/protest their diverse views and criticism towards a matter/issue?
7. Singapore laws will evolve with time?
8. Amos Yee should be treated as a child, and not an adult?Written by: Cass
[Offbeat Perspective’s Interviews]
Category: “Unique Passions”
Category: “Unheard Voices”
Category: “Public Interviews”
Category: “Amos Yee Saga – Citizen Journalism”
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