[Analytical / Investigative Journalism] 14 questions that came to my mind during the Amos Yee Saga

“Would we teach our child to do the same to their peers they don’t like? Would we tell them to threaten and scorn their friend online? Like a cyber bully? Or even to do it face-to-face? Like giving a tight slap and asking him to be raped? Is that honestly being a good role model? By hitting and insulting a kid?”

1. When he was initially suspected of having Autism, how did that make him suitable for Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO)?

  • MTO requires two years of undergoing psychiatric treatment. Autism is a developmental disorder which affects a person’s ability to communicate and socialize well. Autism is NOT a mental illness.
  • And from my personal standpoint when I watch his videos and him on TV, Amos looks perfectly sane to me.
  • What treatment or medication were they going to intend to give him if he was placed in there?

2. Many headlines of foreign media labeled the video as solely an “ Anti – LKY rant” video. This meant they most probably felt Amos’s arrest was more politically motivated? Rather than religious disharmony as being the main driving factor. Hmm…

  • “The Singapore authorities must immediately and unconditionally release teenager Amos Yee” – Amnesty International Statement where they also titled it as – Singapore: Free 16-year old prisoner of conscience Amos Yee

3. How can we know the authenticity and validity of the media press in Singapore?

  • When I followed both independent and mainstream press, I realized there were both sides to a situation – some reporting or claims were found in one side of the press but not the other, some inaccuracies in reporting, or both gave slightly different accounts. (* Will share about it in future post)
  • Tight political censorship which prevents us from gaining insights on alternative perspectives of ex-political exiles/prisoners/critics.

4. Was Amos offence severe enough for him to be considered for RTC? Could there have been better alternatives?

  • Words were what caused his offence. He did not assault, steal nor take illegal drugs.
  • RTC is for offenders between 14 to 21 found unsuitable for probation. A stint lasts between 18 and 30 months. It is targeted at juvenile offenders involved in serious crimes e.g. Drug abuse, Assault, Theft.

 5. We may not know how true is that but was Amos treated disproportionately? (Who by the way, happens to be a 16 year old teenager)                                                 

* Side note – When I was 16, I was still at the childhood phase and live each day thinking about attending school and watching TV, shouldn’t he likewise? I can imagine his mother’s pain seeing her young son going through all the assessments and jail time, but not being able to do anything about it.

  • Touching on the topic of claims, I have no idea if they are credible or not? Because we will never know. Only the parties involved have the real insight. Yep so.. it was mentioned that Amos was not treated appropriately and fairly in jail and IMH.
  • There have been subjective accounts of political prisoners or exiles not being treated even-handedly by the police or jail in the past.

6.  Loopholes in the Assessments?

  • Why was it dragged so long till 5 weeks? Also taking into consideration his young age.
  • Claims e.g. He was strapped to a bed for a day and a half when he expressed suicidal thoughts, and that his “special cell” had a 24-hour camera. Also, his cell’s lights were not fully closed at night which hindered his sleep, and that he was placed in a serious mental ward when he could have been placed in a more private or less intense one.
  • Seriously, it takes 3 weeks to assess a person for Reformative Training Centre (RTC)??
  • In the end, Amos was found to have neither Autism nor have any form of mental disorder. (It takes 2 weeks to come to this conclusion in IMH?)

7. Who was helping to handle or edit Amos Yee’s mother’s facebook page and interviews? Was it Mary Toh herself or..?

  • There were constant posts on latest news articles or relevant posts which are hard to search for, even for me. So I’m not sure if the mother would know where to find them, or would even have the time to do so since if I were in her shoes, I would be kept busy with thoughts on my son as well as her time taken up by visits to see Amos Yee.
  • Her poem and letter were a bit too well-written, and phrased in a manner that could very much evoke strong emotions or feelings or empathy from the readers towards the mother’s helplessness and pain. Could it be someone else was helping her, assisting, in writing or editing her words?

* Amos August 28 2015 blogpost claims that the poem was really written by his mother.

8.   Why was Amos Yee’s case handled with a stark difference compared to similar cases?

  • Individuals in Singapore who made insensitive religious remarks (local or foreigners) were either sacked from their job, jailed for a few days, apologized and stayed low profile, or went overseas.
  • Was it because not only did he touch on LKY at a critical period? Not to forget he also did not have an apologetic attitude towards the matter and choose to re-upload when told by courts to not do so.

9. Are online rumours of Amos Yee girlfriend even true?

  • No one had admitted nor denied anything.

10. How would the governmental handle if similar cases were to occur in the future?

  • What new programmes/alternatives would be made to prepare for future implementation that would do a child, youth or even a person – just?
  • E.g. educating on the importance of racial and religious harmony? Attending racial and religious events? Teaching Cyberwellness?

11. Do Singaporeans lack empathy in general? Are we walking the talk?

  • The immense hate, insult, and thrashing towards Amos Yee online is really quite incredulous to me. I do not know if people are aware he is only 16. And how these words can impact a teenager going through puberty and his self-esteem. (referring to any 16 year old’s in general)
  • Yes, we may not agree or disliked what he did or is still doing. But by engaging in bullying threats to a young boy, it reflects badly on us. And it’s not only one netizen, it’s many Singaporeans adults – who have the cognitive and empathetic capacity, who are doing it which I find surprisingly shocking.
  • Would we teach our child to do the same to their peers they don’t like? Would we tell them to threaten and scorn their friend online? Like a cyber bully? Or even to do face-to-face? Like giving a tight slap and asking him to be raped? Is that honestly being a good role model? By hitting and insulting a kid?
  • Since some of us may disagree with Amos actions, shouldn’t we more not react the same way or respond to him in a similar manner, like what he did in his video?
  • Protests/Rally held in 3 other countries e.g. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia even before the Singapore Free Amos Yee Rally. Since this incident happened in Singapore, why were common people from overseas more reactive to it compared to Singaporeans?
  • g. If a person got wrongly shot in US, would it be more likely for his community, or would someone from another country initiate a protest first? Which is why I find the timeline of the Amos Yee Protest quite absurd.
  • Even international bodies e.g. UN got involved and urged government to release him “immediately” and “uncondtionally”.

12.   Why the grassroot leader who mentioned degrading words to Amos Yee let off with only a stern warning?

  • Yes, many other netizens did mention horrible things likewise. But still, he holds a certain position which people respect and look up to. He is viewed as a role model, so shouldn’t he be given a more appropriate punishment?

13. How does this affect the view of foreigners towards Singapore’s reputation?

  • Since we already being deemed as a country with limited freedom of speech, tight press and media censorship, known for defamation suits, political prisoners, seen as an authoritarian state, capital punishment, strict laws, fine city.
  • Would we go down in our human rights ranking? Or be further seen as a country that is not progressing in term of free speech and liberty?
  • Would Amos young age influence how they view our handling of the case?

14.   Lastly, how would this matter influence the upcoming general election next year?

  • The way the government handled the situation, are they going to face backlash by the people?
  • Are more people going to vote for opposition parties instead? Hmm.. We’ll see.

Stay tune for more posts to analyse or reflect on the Amos Yee Saga…

Opinion of & written by: Curious Misfit

Image from: Under The Angsana Tree 

Monkey See, Monkey Do.
All of us end up looking like a fool.
Let’s follow his actions side by side,
And on him, let’s pounce a collective bite.

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

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

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