Thank you everyone for coming to today’s vigil.
As we gather here today, Amos sits in his cell in remand, within four walls and bright lights.
But Amos has not done anything wrong. He does not deserve this treatment. He does not deserve to be charged.
More so, he does not deserve to sit in jail. He has been inside for 17 days now. And even more so, he should not be shackled in chains and cuffs.
He is still innocent. And he is innocent.
Amos is a child. Where is the humanity when we treat Amos as a criminal when he has not even been sentenced?
Where is the humanity when even many people do not think he has done anything wrong, but he has been unfairly persecuted?
How would the PAP ministers think if it were their own children who are put behind bars and locked up in chains?
But this isn’t even a question. We know they would not let it happen to their own children.
Then why do they allow another parent’s child to suffer such a fate?
Have they thought of Amos’s parents? More importantly, have they thought of Amos?
Have they thought of the child and the state’s responsibility to the child?
Amos is a child. No matter what we think of him or what he has said, it is disproportionate to want this kind of state violence meted on him.
If we do not have the patience, kindness and compassion for a child, how then can we call ourselves a society? How then can a people govern if they lack even this most basic instinct, to love, to understand and to forgive?
Yes, Amos said some things. But he said some things.
Many among the PAP have said worse. An ex-PAP member posted a photo of a bus with Muslim children and posed the question if they are young terrorist trainees. A PAP supporter wanted to cut off Amos’s penis and put it into his mouth. A man even physically attacked Amos and smacked him in his face because he said that Amos has criticised Lee Kuan Yew.
Amos has now suffered this abuse simply because he spoke about Lee Kuan Yew.
But Lee Kuan Yew has said even worse things than Amos about the Malays and Muslims. Yet none of the PAP members and supporters have asked for him to be arrested, charged, jailed or caned as they have wanted Amos to be.
Instead, they take what Lee Kuan Yew said to be the gospel truth.
Amos said that the PAP supporters worship Lee Kuan Yew without logic. And he was punished for it.
But what Amos said is true, isn’t it? The PAP supporters do worship Lee Kuan Yew without logic, don’t they?
In fact, if they would stay silent even as Lee Kuan Yew said worse things but would want Amos persecuted, then it clearly shows that what they are really upset about Amos is not what he said about Christians, isn’t it?
Truth is, they were hurt and “wounded” because they were upset with what Amos said about Lee Kuan Yew.
It is about Lee Kuan Yew. It has always been. Nothing else.
Some people said that these PAP supporters are using religion as a front to mask their displeasure against Amos. I am inclined to agree. It is obvious.
But there are no laws in Singapore where it is illegal to criticise Lee Kuan Yew. There is no law in Singapore where one can be found to have committed a crime because of having intentionally wounded the feelings of Lee Kuan Yew supporters.
These supporters have abused the law for their own purpose.
But Singapore is not the PAP. To the PAP supporters, they think Singapore belongs to them. They will tell you to leave the country if you are not happy with the way the PAP run their country.
But they have forgotten that the reason why Singapore can succeed today is because of the hard work and effort of all Singaporeans, and people who live in our country.
It is not just because of the PAP. It is not just because of the PAP supporters.
It is because of the many Singaporeans who are willing to earn low and depressed wages to help Singapore grow, even as the PAP supporters and the rich among them take away the high profit for themselves and leave Singaporeans with too little.
But this is what Amos said in his video too. Amos spoke about the income inequality in Singapore.
He spoke about how a “great leader” is one who will take care of Singaporeans.
Amos was right. Why was he persecuted?
Amos said that Lee Kuan Yew is a “horrible” person.
But Lee Kuan Yew is. Amos spoke the truth.
From the 1960s to 1980s, Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP arrested thousands of Singaporeans and imprisoned them without trial. Some of them were jailed for more than 10, 20 or even 30 years.
Their families suffered. Tens of thousands of their families suffered. But did Lee Kuan Yew ever apologised for it? Did the PAP ever apologised for it? Instead, the PAP continues to pretend that what they did was right. The PAP continues to claim that they were trying to protect Singapore, when it has been proven that the PAP had arrested and detained these innocent Singaporeans unfairly and unjustly.
The PAP simply doesn’t have a valid reason to do so, but they did anyway.
And the PAP never stopped. Today, Amos has become another victim in the PAP’s persecution of Singaporeans, just as I was and still am.
But the PAP is not Singapore. And Singapore is not the PAP.
We have allowed the PAP to be too comfortable with abusing their power in government for too long.
I got to know Amos about a month ago. After he made his video and was charged for it, I became concerned.
With how they treated him, I saw all the hallmarks of what I went through when I was sued for defamation and I did not want to see Amos go through what I did.
Not without support.
I needed to show him support. I want to show him support.
It is a lonely journey when you believe in something and want to fight for it.
But I am glad that this is not the case for Amos. I am glad that there are friends in Singapore and around the world who cares for Amos.
For in Amos, the conscience of Singaporeans have been awoken.
Never have I, in my living memory, seen so much support and outpouring from Singaporeans who feel so aggrieved that they have sent in their photos to support Amos for the #FreeAmosYee campaign.
This is a first for a political campaign in recent times.
I asked Singaporeans to send in their photos on Saturday, on my birthday, and in 2 days, I have received more than 60 photos, from even our neighbours in Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar, as well as from The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Never before has there been a cause that has rallied together Singaporeans so strongly against the atrocities of the PAP.
Today, I am starting to see unity among Singaporeans.
I finally understand that Singaporeans are also feeling, enough is enough.
But Amos cannot see any of this because he is still in remand.
Tomorrow, his sentence will be passed. But what will happen to him?
We can only hope for the best, and that is why we are here today.
Amos did not do anything wrong. Amos has to be released.
Amos is my friend. Even though we have known each other for only a short one month, in fact, shorter since he has been spending most of the time in prison, I feel that I can understand him.
I see in him the honesty and truth that I uphold for myself.
I see in him the justice and fairness that I believe.
But Amos is more.
It is funny that a 16-year-old boy can teach you lessons, even when you are 34 – I just turned 34 on Saturday!
But Amos has. He has told me several times to be honest with myself. But Amos doesn’t just say it.
He does it.
This is why even though we know how important freedom to us is, Amos is willing to go into prison to fight for our freedom.
We do not know it but it is in his courage and his unbending spirit, that he has exposed the hypocrisy of the PAP and how it has bent the law for itself.
Amos has taught us the real value of freedom, of justice and of truth.
He is a friend and a teacher, even at 16.
I see the courage that he has put himself through, I see his determination.
I see his honesty.
I see the man for who he is.
Today, thank you for coming to this vigil. Amos cannot be here. But if he was, he would appreciate this.
But it is not just Amos that we are here for today. It is for courage, honesty and freedom.
And today, we have stepped up, stepped up to fight for him and for ourselves, because Amos stood up and he showed us the way.
And now, it is up to us to lead the way for him.
Thank you, all.
*This is a speech by Roy Ngerng at the Candleight vigil for Amos Yee