Remembering Anthony Yeo

Terence Lee / Deputy Editor

Anthony Yeo was more than a veteran counselor; he was a social critic and an activist. (Join the Facebook tribute to Anthony Yeo here.)

HE MAY be a leading counselor in Singapore, but he made his mark not just within the profession, but well outside of it.

(Photo: Anthony Yeo was a vocal social critic who often spoke of issues beyond his profession. Courtesy of Jacob George / Creative Commons)

On 20 June 2009, Anthony Yeo passed away due to complications from Leukaemia, leaving behind his brother, wife and children. He was 60 years old. Condolences poured in from all over the Internet, from blogs, websites, and forums.

He was widely known as the “father of counseling”, and is often praised for his passion for the profession, his excellence as a mentor, and as a friend.

Personally, I have yet to speak to him myself. I was supposed to interview him last month for my article on conversion therapy, but I was told me that he was on two weeks of medical leave.

It turns out that I would be forever denied a chance.

We will have to be content with what he has left behind: memories of his advocacy for the rights of homosexuals and for political freedom, and for his critiques of government policy in the form of articles and letters to the forum pages.

Here at The Online Citizen, we will remember him by what he has written:

I would have thought there could be a little more charity in commenting on Chee rather than indulge in augmenting the already prejudicial opinions of this man.

One would have thought that any person regardless of what he does deserves respect and regard for human worth and dignity.

In any case, if you do wish to be better acquainted with what would present as an anti-social disorder, I would gladly assist on the basis of my more than 36 years of psychological work with disturbed people.

Letter to Chua Lee Hoong, criticising her mischaracterisation of Chee Soon Juan.

If we were to stretch the argument further, what is to stop us from importing a whole football team fromBrazil as intimated by a writer of the forum page or any other sporting team from any country just to be winners in international competitions? In similar vein, what would stop other sports from deciding on emulating the table-tennis association?Where do we draw the line?

An article he wrote articulating why we should not feel proud of Singapore’s Olympic success.

I believe what mattered was not whether Mr Wong should have been dismissed or be asked to resign.

What mattered was the need to accept responsibility and apologise unreservedly before seeking to engage in lengthy exposition of the lapses connected with the escape.

In fact, the more explanations were offered, the greater the cognitive dissonance in people, as they had to grapple with information that triggered more questions in their minds.

His thoughts on what Singaporeans went through when Mas Selamat escaped.

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