Amos Yee

by Patrick Liew on March 31, 2015

Amos Yee created a video to insult Mr Lee Kuan Yew, our founding father.

It contained words that were uncalled for, including religious terms and obscene words.

He couldn’t have picked a worst time to do it, especially during our nation’s mourning period.

Quite clearly, he must be hoping that it would go viral. It would attract eyeballs to him and his blog.

That’s why I was hoping that nobody would watch and share his video. We should not encourage such untoward behavior.

If increasing number of eyeballs was the goal, he achieved it.

However, he attracted the wrong crowd. He has drawn a lot of unnecessary attention to himself and his parents.

The police might investigate the rising complaints about his action.

He could be punished in accordance with the laws.

At the end of the day, his action might also affect his career and future endeavor.

I could not understand why Amos, a young and educated man would choose to commit such a senseless act.

It would be such a pity if his life got flushed down the sewage pipe of life because of one foolish mistake.

As a beneficiary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s nation-building achievement, my first instinct was to wish the worst for him, hoping that he would be punished to the fullest extent of the laws.

The punishment should be strong enough so that it would be a deterrent to him and others who might be thinking of committing a similar action.

However, as Amos’ foolish posting started to become viral, I began to pity him. It generated many strong responses, some of which were literally calling for his blood.

On reflection, I ask myself, if netizens take it upon themselves to punish him, will it cross the line and destroy a young man’s life and quite possibly, the lives of people who love him?

Besides administering charges in a courts of law, are there any other ways to help him?

What will be an ideal outcome? That Amos learn his lesson, change his ways, and use his talents for a greater good?

How can the Authorities and Amos’ parents and friends encourage him to seek help?

I’m confident that there are many kind souls out there who are willing to help him.

I for one am more than happy to share some life skills with him to get him started on how to live and do well.

As a volunteer in youth work for a total of 20 years, I believe in the ideals, talents and energies of our young people. I believe that they have tremendous potential to change the world.

I’ve always said that youth work is adult work.

I was told that “If we don’t win young people’s hearts today, they will break ours tomorrow.”

If we don’t shape them properly today, they will not be able to shape a better world and future for all of us.

I feel that Amos crafted the video based on his perspective of life and obviously it is a limited and wrong one.

I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he has been misled by lies, half-truths, and misinformation on the Net and nobody has shed light on the truths to him.

It is also clear, after reading his blogpost, that he has been struggling with psychological issues, including anger and relational problems.

I like to believe that he did what he did at the spur of the moment.

For all the above reasons, I will not cast a proverbial stone on him. No, I do not have the rights, nor the inclination to want to do it.

I like to appeal to one and all to empathize with this young man.

In the same way that all of us have been guilty of struggling with shadows in our life and other shortcomings, let’s extend sympathy and graciousness to him.

I’m sure if we make a mistake, we would want others to give us the space to change and improve.

I hope that we will find something within ourselves to forgive Amos and pray for and help him find a better path in life.


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