[Opinion Essay/Review]: Why silence over Amos Yee Saga in mainstream current affairs discussion platform? – Part II

This post follows from Part I here 🙂

* Quoted in red are quotes by our interviewees. 

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6. Two lines that should or should not be crossed? – Degrading another religion and personal accusation of corruption

  • We always got to remember that we all come from diverse backgrounds with our respective beliefs. It’s also about being tolerant and embracing our differences. Everyone equally wants their views to be heard and deem other views as wrong but still.. we all are entitled to our own views or beliefs being respected.
  • For the case of corruption accusation, facts provide more evidence than assumptions. On one hand, people have to give concrete and valid proof, and on the other hand, the government can be more transparent in how they run the system and finances for people to have less doubts towards it. It need to works both ways like how it needs to hands to clap.

“We do not have to accept or agree to each other views, but I believe no religion, god or views towards life are better, higher or more true than another..A diverse respect for all forms of beliefs or attitudes. We are after all, made in the same form and from the one same race of human species.”  Taken from our article –  One United Religion 

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7. Why did Mr Lee Hsien Loong choose a court case that will destroy a common man’s ability to live when he could have chosen other platforms to tackle the matter?

“Why are defamation suits or fines from the government to the people so costly? Not only is a person’s reputation tainted, they are also left with financial and occupational woes.”  Taken from our article   – Are Singaporeans too afraid to speak up?

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8. Would it be unfair to apply western notion of freedom of speech in Singapore when there is cultural differences?

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.”  Taken from our public interview  – [Citizen Journalism] Voices of Hong Lim Park (Free Amos Yee Rally) Part 1

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9. A different outcome could have been seen if people “got their facts right” and people expressed their information in a more responsible and receptive way?

“Some people are more opened, some people have a more conservative outlook. Just because we find it acceptable, does not mean we should expect others to ignore or take what he say lightly and vice versa. We are all wired differently, with differing comfort levels, attitudes and perspectives.”

“Amos has the autonomy to choose his choice of words and expression. We’re not Amos and who am I to place my standards on him when I wouldn’t like others doing the same to me.”

“I can imagine myself saying the same exact thing but in a different tone and choice of expression, and the message would have come out in a much more receptive manner even though the content was the same.”

Taken from our article – [Comparison / Analytical Essay] Amos Yee – Which side are you on?

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10. Singaporeans have to practice how to express their opinions and disagreement, instead of just writing online anonymously.

“We should openly and teach in-depth our younger generations in schools, racial and religious organizations, community outlets and workplace – on the various type of races and religious beliefs, not just touch ground on the surface level e.g. the diversity, differences and sensitive topics.”

“All these followed by increased involvement of mainstream media and online media. Finding the right balance between the (limits and freedom) of speech will be the ideal scenario for us to progress as a more opened but still tolerant nation of each other’s differences.”

Taken from our article – We want freedom of speech! But how do we get there?

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11. Do we have to keep in mind the consequences of free speech?

“Bringing in the issue of diverse racial and religious beliefs. An unspoken topic we have been brainwashed to view as something too sensitive to even hint on. If we are not even opened to broaching on it, how can we be expected to be opened about letting others express their opinions towards it?”

“Constructive criticism over negative insults. Focus on the situation, not senseless emotions. Criticise the ideas, not the people. Sensibility and sensitivity over mindless pushing of our own ideology onto others.”

Taken from our article – We want freedom of speech! But how do we get there?

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For the question 11, I’ll summarize it with three points.

First – we always have to remember we are a multi-racial and religious country. The western concept of freedom of speech cannot be fully applied here as of now. It may be in the future, but definitely not now. Religion and politics are still deemed as a sensitive and taboo topics to debate about for some Singaporeans. And even in social circles, we hardly ever question a person from a different religion on differences or misconceptions we may have towards one another. In US, some may manipulate this right they are given and turn it to hate speech, instead of using the platform responsibly.

Second – It has to be a slow progress. Change cannot come hastily. Once a policy or law is implemented, it cannot be undone. People will ask for more liberty. It’s always important to carefully consider the consequences of every governmental action.

Third – words are very powerful. We can manipulate it for our own agenda. All of us do that. if everyone thinks they can say whatever they want, and that people of that race or religion should just ignore and not be bothered by it. That notion cannot be applied to our current societal state. A few words can actually blow up and cause tension and conflict. It’s not that people want to bring up the 1964 riots as an excuse to limit freedom of speech. But, we cannot deny it was once our history and there’s no harm to keep that in mind.

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However – politics and arts censorship wise, I’m not really well-read nor am I knowledgeable on history and the matter, so I do not have a strong or stable opinion to share towards them.

The discussion show was honestly too short to tackle the issue more in-depth. The show ended of without a conclusion and speakers were more often than not, cut short during their sentences.

Written by: Cass

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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Click  HERE if you want to check out our Facebook page for new updates 🙂

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Article for reading: 1994 – 2015: A Chronology of Authoritarian Rule in Singapore

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