By Rev. Miak Siew
Speech at #FreeAmosYee protest at Hong Lim Park on 5 July 2015
I have interacted with Amos before. He came to my church – and I didn’t think much about it – he was just like another young visitor dropping by to “church-shop.”
It was a few months later when he posted one of his videos on how to refute Christians with their own Bible. It wasn’t something I didn’t know – I have been involved and I am still involved in debates / discussions on bible interpretation. It was not the content that I had an issue with. It was Amos hijacking my post. So I told him nicely not to do that. He continued to do that on another post of mine, and I told him – that’s it. I blocked him and “unfriended” him.
I think that’s deal with 16 year old. Not report him to the police. Or threaten him with violence. Or everything that’s happening to him now. I hope that the government will consider a lighter approach.
I do want to read you all a fairy tale – something that you may be pretty familiar with.
We all have heard of the story of the emperor’s new clothes – and that it was a child who pointed out that the emperor wore no clothes. Now, let me tell you, that was not the end of the story. They didn’t tell you the whole story, because it was difficult to tell.
The emperor did not continue marching to the end of his procession, he ordered for those who cried out that he wore no clothes to be arrested, even the little child. And he ordered their execution to silence them, and decreed that any person who said that the emperor wore no clothes would be executed as well. The few rounded out were swiftly put to the guillotine, and the rest were quickly silenced, for they feared for their own lives.
And so it was, the emperor continued living the lie, thinking that if he admitted that he couldn’t see his own clothes, everyone would think that he was unfit for his office or he was unpardonably stupid, because the swindlers told him that those who were unfit for office or unpardonably stupid could not see the garments.
It had been 25 years since, and the emperor decided again to hold another procession to celebrate his rule.
The people, living in fear all these years, pretended to see the emperor’s clothes, afraid that they would suffer the fate of the guillotine should they speak otherwise.
But there was a generation who grew up not knowing of the procession and the executions 25 years ago, and many started to laugh at the emperor’s nakedness.
In rage, the emperor again ordered for them to be rounded up and executed. But this time, something different happened. Instead of being cowed by fear, many stood forward – standing with those who were being rounded up. “Cut us down and more will stand in our place!” they cried, and more and more joined their ranks.
The revolution was swift – the emperor was swiftly overthrown, and there was much rejoicing amongst the people.
There are different endings, to this tale though.
Neil Gaiman once wrote – “It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit and the emperor remains an emperor.”
What happened before, happened again – people rounded out were swiftly put to the guillotine, and the rest were quickly silenced, for they feared for their own lives. The emperor remains an emperor.[vimeo id=”132652328″ align=”center” mode=”normal”]