[Citizen Journalism] A Singaporean Teacher’s Perspective towards Amos Yee Saga.

“To be fair, I think the persecution didn’t come from the top. It came from the bottom. It was people like you, people like me who was making police report. It wasn’t Lee Hsien Loong who you know, sued him you know or anything, this wasn’t a top down prosecution.”

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Age: 26

Race: Eurasian

Religious Belief: Agnostic

Occupation: Teacher* DISCLAIMER: 1) The articles of any online sites using quotes from our interviews are not representative of Offbeat Perspectives vision, mission, and aims, nor are we affiliated to any website. We are independently run as simply, Offbeat Perspectives. 2) We respect the opinions expressed by our interviewees, but it should not be interpreted as that of Offbeat Perspectives. Our role is to act as a platform to share the diverse views of people. 3) I didn’t ask nor require interviewees to provide their names 🙂

*This interview was re-posted by AllSingaporeStuff, where they stated that the teacher interviewed wished to remained anonymous. However, this is not accurate as Offbeat Perspectives did not require the teacher to provide her name when we approached her for an interview.

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Intention and Ignition

Do you think the public response would have been more receptive if he Amos had expressed his ideas in a more respectful manner?

I think people in general tend to bristle at vulgarities in general, I think they focused a lot on how he said things rather than what he said.

So the focus should be on what he said? 

I think he did it purposely to illicit a reaction. Also, I think it was thought-through to not be kind, to not be, polite, civil. It was a very purposeful choice to do it that way and to say that he should have done it another way is to ignore the fact that he purposely chose to do it to get a reaction.

So you felt he should have stick to the way he..

I think it depends on what his outcomes were. If his intention was to ignite discussion or to prove a point, how he did it would have been more civil than that.  But if he was trying to persuade people to reason of logic that Christianity or LKY had flaws, then I think that he could have and should have chosen a different way. But that said, I don’t know what his end goals were. So, I won’t comment on his choice of..

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The fine line between Expression & Acceptance

Do you feel the way his expressed it (his ideas) would be acceptable to Singapore’s society?  

Erm…What do you mean by acceptable?

Like people wouldn’t feel offended by what he said, like the general population.  

But why would they feel offended, you know what I mean? What was offensive? He went to church, he was frustrated with going to church, and he express that frustration in a very colourful language.

And the offence, and I think that was something that Jolene had once mentioned to me during our conversation; that this was someone who was processing his own religion. It was not like someone who was from outside the church who was saying something upsetting about it.

This was someone who had gone through the system and likewise in Singapore, someone who had been though the system and was expressing his view. So I don’t know what should have been more acceptable or if people should have been offended a not in the first place.

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People or Police? Which was the influencing cause of the persecution?

Do you think the authorities could have handed the situation in a more effective manner?

To be fair, I think the persecution didn’t come from the top. It came from the bottom. It was people like you, people like me who was making police report. It wasn’t Lee Hsien Loong who you know, sued him you know or anything, this wasn’t a top down prosecution.

It was essentially someone who everybody had, random Singaporeans had, decided to send a cops on him. So I think that (for) the authorities, it was very difficult for them to do anything about it also because the police did get like, 30 something police reports.

To not response is so very difficult on the police part. You know, what kind of police is this? You know you don’t response. Bla bla bla. Erm.. With that said, I think that I would have liked firstly that, nobody to have called the police on him.

Number 2, seeing if the police did, I don’t think they have very much room to do that. Secondly, I don’t think the judgement should have ruled that it offended anybody because erm.. because ya la I think these views was not rude but I don’t think we should be criminalizing people’s offending feelings, offending people’s feeling.

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How can we better progress as a society?

So do you think we should be more opened as a society?

I think we need different mediums and outlets to engage in difficult conversations. I think it is very difficult to do that over the internet, and I think even in person – it’s very hard if someone offends you, it’s very difficult to tell them “I was upset by what you said” because it’s very confrontational.

I think Singaporeans in general, it’s very difficult to engage with a person who upsets you and to tell them that you.. as you might get beaten up, and nobody wants to start a fight. It’s very easy to get somebody else to do it for you, the police, the authorities, anyone else.

As a society, we have to think how we want to have difficult conversations. What kind of avenues we can have to do it constructively without criminalizing people.

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What Rehabilitation would have been most appropriate?

Do you feel he was locked up in jail (in remand) for too long or the assessments, they were dragged on for quite a while?

I think he shouldn’t have been in remand for as long as he did. I think they were also at their wits ends but I think the fact that they chose to stick with that, suggested that another option was out. So I think, they should have considered more options to this case.  

Like what other options?

Not like home arrest, but basically, he shouldn’t be institutionalized, you shouldn’t be trying to insulate that he was mentally ill. If it was political, it was political and I think it is something he they were trying to get him to crack or to bow and he didn’t.

I think where he is now is a reflection of what our laws has written, their logical conclusions, what happens if you sieve them out and if that is what it is, then we should ask if our current laws are just.66

Autism is not a Mental Illness

The thing is that Autism is not even a mental illness.

No, exactly. Ya, I think, what I took away from Jolene speech is that it really takes a lot of nerve to stands his ground. Even then, the way he is being treated now is not excusable. * [Autism is a learning disability, and not a mental illness. Amos Yee was initially suspected of having Autism but this suspicion was later found untrue.]

Looking Forward 

What is one change you would like to see in Singapore, in regards to freedom of speech or censorship?  

With regards to freedom of speech, probably the thing that I said just now. We need to think very long and hard about what kinds of avenues we need to build or to refine, in order to have difficult conversations with people that we not necessarily agree with, in a manner that is productive even though we may never see to eye. But to have a space to do that without turning to the police, I think that would be my hope.

“I think where he is now is a reflection of what our laws has written, their logical conclusions, what happens if you sieve them out and if that is what it is, then we should ask if our current laws are just.”

Untitled Food For Thought:

  1. Do you think Amos did what he did to illicit a reaction? What do you think was his intention?
  2. Should he have expressed his thoughts in a more acceptable manner? Or should people have felt less offended by his words?
  3. Do you agree that Amos persecution was from the people, not government?
  4. What’s your take on criminalising people for offending the feelings of others?
  5. Are Singaporeans non-confrontational?
  6. What mediums and outlets should we have? To engage in difficult and constructive situations.
  7. Does the whole matter seem to have a significant political undertone?
  8. What’s your take on Amos being institutionalised?
  9. Are our current laws just?

Stay tune for a new post in the week ahead! – Are Singaporeans too afraid to speak up?

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Main image credits:  Paris Chia Photography (website), @Instagram@Facebook

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PAP has lost my vote. Permanently forever.

To check out more of our posts on the Amos Yee Saga, click HERE

 Written by: Cass 

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22 thoughts on “[Citizen Journalism] A Singaporean Teacher’s Perspective towards Amos Yee Saga.

  1. You forgot that the AGC’s prosecutor represents the government. Since it was about LKY and since it was SG50, it was highly unlikely that the Minister of Law was not aware and have not given the nod to go ahead with the charge. If the Minister of Law was aware, how could the PM not be aware?

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  2. We are a country run by familee dictatorship, legalised corruption and cronyism to benefit the few pap elites and their cronies.

    So far over the past 50 years which ones of the 81 PAP MPs in parliament are really interested in serving the people. They are all cronies who join the party for their own monetary benefits and power. They only take order from the master behind.

    In order to serve the master and keep him happy so as to secure the positions of power and monetary greed for themselves, they have to know what to do.

    In a situation like Amos Yee ranting anti-familee slogan, on the occasion of funeral wake of their idol, they must demonstrate their loyalty to their power that by being able to do the necessary without being asked. This is an opportunity for the ambitious and overzealous to demonstrate his talent to help the familee without his asking. An example, of such a zealous is an ex-policeman who has lost his job previously due to his abuse of power during service. He quickly lodged a police report against the troublemaker to the familee the power to let him redeem his past misdeed so as to rise up to power. Another instance is the case of a gangster who was charged for some previous offence against the familee. He knew what to do too by threatening to burn the Hong Lim protesters in order to get recognition and to redeem his own past. Even foreigners like Edz Bello, Sun Xu and Le Yeming know how to exploit our domestic politics where our leaders are favouring foreign cheap labour by speaking against our own vocal citizens. One newly minted citizen even stood for election in three-corner fight to please his political pappy master so as to secure his own rise to power and business.

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