Ismail Kassim: Public Should Not Judge Amos Yee

The Amos Yee drama is getting more exciting with its unexpected twists and turns.

He is back in remand and self-righteous Singaporeans wring their hands in despair. Out of frustration, some even go to the extent of lashing out at him for not behaving ‘’in ways that they themselves would if they were in his shoes.’’

I am not sure at this stage what’s wrong with him. Has he – and I don’t rule it out – some kind of psychological problem? Perhaps, there is a medical explanation for his inability to control himself. Like an addict who cannot keep away from drugs.

Or, is there some rationale behind his apparent madness. Could it be just a small boy’s vain attempt to shoulder a big man’s job in pushing forward the boundaries of self-expression? A boy, who is willing to martyr himself, for the larger good of all.

A more democratic society with less personal restrictions cannot come about just by wishing or twiddling our thumbs. Someone has to do something at some risk to self. Has Amos self-appointed himself to undertake a one-boy struggle for more freedom for all of us?

Let us not be too hasty to judge him with our middle-class morality and logic as to what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

Let us not forget even for one minute that our values have to a large extent been shaped by growing up and living under a strict and restrictive social and political environment.

What he has done so far is not a crime in many other countries, and even if he is in a few, he would not have been hand-cuffed and shackled like what happened to him here.

Amos Yee needs our sympathies. Pity him if you like, but please refrain from passing judgement.


Source: Ismail Kassim

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