The following were the views expressed by some among the hundreds who attended the protest at Hong Lim Park to call for the release of Amos Yee.
The protest was organised by the Community Action Network (CAN), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Singapore concerned about freedom of expression, and civil and political rights.
We thank Offbeat Perspectives for sharing this with us.
“I heard of a similar case, someone mentioned about Obama. You know? Great men like them should not take any offence over this. I think they should have just approach the thing in a milder manner.. Putting him in IMH, I think it’s a little too much for him, for a 16-year-old boy.. Have to subject to all these hardships, including the parents of this boy. I think we have to give some sympathy to them.” – Male, 67, Free Thinker
“I do not feel what he said was disrespectful but rather, it was expressed through his own style. Maybe the timing was not right and everyone was mourning over Mr Lee critical condition, which was why his words blew out of proportion.. His sentence is a bit too severe.. He is not the only one that would share such thoughts on Youtube, It just so happens that many people happened to watch his video, which was why it became such a huge issue.
Only through discussion and debate, will it allow everyone to understand one another better. When you restrict any racial or religious discussion, you end up restricting an individual’s mind, which prevents people from understanding one another better. Argument is inevitable, but more importantly, the focus should be on expressing it in an appropriate manner within a safe platform.” – Female, 30, Buddhist
“He has his facts and if he do it in a more civilized way, more politically politely, maybe the public would have been more lenient to him but he’s still a young boy, mistakes would be made and I think he just made one small mistake...
The world is progressing, Singapore shouldn’t be left behind. First world country. We should get a bit lenient… Now everyone is suing everyone so, it’s not Singapore culture lah to do that. In America maybe yes but in Singapore, I only see the minister suing people. Nobody sues anybody else that regularly.” – Male, 32, Hindu
“He’s under 18 and under international child right laws. It’s illegal here what he did but he’s technically still a child. I think things are slowly changing and there is going to be more freedom of speech. And the current situation is what it is right now, and it’s appropriate, that’s how the government decide on it and what the people seems happy with it for now like any other country, as media and ideas change, the laws will evolve.” – Female, 30, Free Thinker
“I think the problem with what happened with Amos was – he spoke out against someone people don’t often speak against..whether you do it in a politically correct manner or go out like Amos did, I think he will still have certain negative repercussions.
…at that age, it’s very normal for people to speak out against authority, religion. Kids are angsty right? They are going to speak out, they are going to be disrespectful. But the response for that is to lock him up in a mental institution and send him to jail? That is not appropriate in the 21st century, especially since Singapore is a developed country.
I honestly think if they had just ignored it, nothing would have happened. If you look at president Obama, he gets all kinds of hate thrown at him and he does not do anything about it. And after a while, people just stop reporting these things.” – Female, 22, Atheist
“It’s disproportionate. We may not agree with what Amos said, but the way he is being treated is out of proportion..How he may or should have been reprimanded.” – Male, 71, Free Thinker