“Kids are angsty right? They are going to speak out, they are going to be disrespectful. But the response for that is to lock him up in a mental institution and send him to jail? That is not appropriate in the 21st century, especially since Singapore is a developed country.”
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3) I didn’t ask nor require interviewees to provide their names 🙂This is the first 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: Atheist
“I think the problem with what happened with Amos was – he spoke out against someone people don’t often speak against..whether you do it in a politically correct manner or go out like Amos did, I think he will still have certain negative repercussions.
On his Christianity Comments
I think as what Jolene Tan mentioned just now, at that age, it’s very normal for people to speak out against authority, religion. Kids are angsty right? They are going to speak out, they are going to be disrespectful. But the response for that is to lock him up in a mental institution and send him to jail? That is not appropriate in the 21st century, especially since Singapore is a developed country.
How do you think the authorities should have handled the situation more effectively?
I honestly don’t think there were any action required. If they had just ignored it, it would not have escalated to the level it had today. I think that the reason why you have these free Amos Yee protest and all these catalyst, I don’t think Amos Yee is the catalyst.
I think it’s the state response in putting a 17-year-old boy behind bars. I honestly think if they had just ignored it, nothing would have happened. If you look at president Obama, he gets all kinds of hate thrown at him and he does not do anything about it. And after a while, people just stop reporting these things.
If it start to being a normal trend for Singaporeans or youths to state negatively about any race or religion, how do you think the government should deal with it?
In today’s day and age, you cannot really police free speech to such a huge degree. There are going to be people who talk about certain things in a negative way but erm.. ya.. unless it escalates into a physical riot, I don’t see the state needing to intervene yet.
But do you see a possibility it might escalate?
Honestly no. You look at America, Us, so many peaceful protest. You look at the Westboro Baptist Church protesting at military funerals. They don’t get shot at, they just have counter protestors protesting them. There is no violence. Everything is done for the most part, in a peaceful manner. I honestly don’t see why it can’t be done here.. the government should just lighten up.”
Religious Belief: Hindu
- Security Officer
“ I think the way he expressed was a bit out of hand, that is the issue. The leader Mr LKY just passed away and within 30-60 days, he had released the video which is a bit offensive but not that bad. I would not say you need to punish him to send him to IMH. I mean they can just punish him in a different way.
What about his religious comments?
I’m Christian also and I’m not offended at all.
How do you think the authorities should have handed the situation more effectively?
First of all, let me highlight to you about a Filipino recently, had said bad things about Singaporean, is walking free in Singapore, but Amos is in prison, in mental hospital. So do you think it’s fair?
What is one change you would like to see in regards to our current freedom of speech or censorship laws in Singapore?
I think they should first accept in one sentence – any criticisms, that’s all. They should accept it. They are not even listening.”
Religious Belief : –
- Occupation not disclosed as she’s having a lawsuit right now.
Do you think the public response would have been more receptive if Amos had expressed his ideas in a more respectful manner?
“ I think right now in Singapore, a lot of people do not exactly know what is freedom of speech and they don’t know what article 14 of the constitution constitutes of.
Would you like to elaborate on that?
For example in 2013, the government used taxpayers money to sue a blogger for defamation and in 2014, the PM used another blogger for defamation and in 2015, the government is now arresting people over a video. A lot of Singaporeans do not know about all 3 cases.
For this Amos Yee case, do you think the authorities could have done it in a more effective manner?
I think if we live in a democratic manner with transparency and accountability, the people would know what is happening and there won’t be such kind of international response as well, like pressure from the UN.
Do you feel that Singaporeans are not that empathetic to Amos Yee?
I think the reason is because Singaporeans do not know what is freedom of speech. They think that freedom of speech is scolding vulgarities or defaming people but that’s not the case.
Do you feel the way Amos expressed his ideas, was it correct or?
I actually gave foreign interview as well as posted on my own Facebook that I didn’t agree with the use of vulgarities.
What is one change you would like to see in our freedom of speech or censorship laws in Singapore?
The people to know what democracy is.
How would you define is personally?
I think democracy is already being defined, so it’s about how people know what is democracy.”
Religious Belief: Free Thinker
For this case, how do you think the authorities should have handled the situation more effectively?
“It’s disproportionate. We may not agree with what Amos said, but the way he is being treated is out of proportion..How he may or should have been reprimanded.
Do you think our current freedom of speech is a bit tight?
It’s not a bit tight, it’s very very tight. (wife intercept). Just compare it to US, no need to be US, just any other Asian countries.”
“The people to know what democracy is.”
Food For Thought:
Do you agree with the public views that:
1. Amos Yee was not given an appropriate or fair treatment?
2. The Government should have just ignored the Amos Yee video?
3. The Government do not accept criticisms?
4. Singaporeans do not exactly know what Democracy or Freedom of Speech is?Written by: Cass
To check out more of our posts on the Amos Yee Saga, click HERE
[Offbeat Perspective’s Interviews]
Category: “Unique Passions”
Category: “Unheard Voices”
Category: “Public Interviews”
Category: “Amos Yee Saga – Citizen Journalism”
To check out more of our posts on the Amos Yee Saga, click HERE
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