RTC Is Now A Clear And Present Danger For Amos Yee

Looks like I wasn’t very far off the mark with my warnings to Amos Yee in this previous post. I could see then that if he continued down the dangerous path he was taking, he was in serious danger of spending a lot of time at the Reformative Training Centre (RTC). And the events of the past 24 hours confirms it’s now a clear and present danger:

All fun and games. Go late to court, upload photos on Instagram. Don’t bother with a haircut. Oh the Court wouldn’t dare touch me! (Mediacorp photo)

1. Apples and Oranges Approach by Some.

Before I comment on the latest developments, I’d like to point out the serious flaw in the arguments made by those who leapt to his defense then. (I don’t know if they still do now, given his antics since). Their arguments stem from the fact it was Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) insulted in the video, and further to this, this whole exercise is an attempt by the PAP to do him in and muzzle free speech. Of course when a political figure, especially LKY, is insulted, you can bet this will not go down well with the PAP members, especially since his son, Lee Hsien Loong is Prime Minister. Making a link that this is political is not difficult – some may even say, it’s obvious.

Be that as it may, this does not detract from the fact that Amos broke the law in relation to insulting religion and uploading an obscene caricature. And it does not make the 32 police reports made against him go away. Put it this way, if Amos made no mention of LKY in the video, but just contained the insults to Christianity, what would the response be? Or if he insulted any other religion – be it Hinduism, Buddhism or Islam? Get my drift? Whether this is acceptable in the West or elsewhere, is also besides the point. As far as the law stands here, we do not insult religions. I dare say the majority of Singaporeans will agree to this position, that all faiths must be respected.

And that’s the ‘apples and oranges comparison’ made by activists or those who are anti-PAP. Instead of stepping in to reproach the boy, get his parents to see the dangers, they instead seized on the opportunity to use this for their own activism. Rather than look at the case as one where a law has been broken, how best to remedy the situation and mitigate, they foolishly thought by ‘blowing it up,’ they could get the Govt to back down.

Anymore candlelight vigils, letters to the UN, Pope, banana munching led by star pupil Roy Ngerng? A lot of good that did and how did he respond? He basically asked all of you to go fly a kite.

All the banana chomping, vigils, writing to world bodies etc, what exactly did it achieve? Instead of helping Amos, it just made it worse. It egged him on and his behaviour since then has only proven the prosecution’s case more and more. Because the prosecution will say if asked, that this was never political. There was no call from the PM to charge him, no order from higher ups to do so. Rather they took this as they would in any other case – police reports lodged, complaints investigated, laws determined to have been breached and as such prosecution must follow.

The Law itself is not on trial here, Amos is. Arguing about the unfairness of the Law is irrelevant to the present case. It’s on the statute book. It’s the Law of the land. Don’t like it, get Parliament to change or remove it. But if you live here, you follow the Law. There are probably 100 laws I would like to see changed, especially strict liability laws.  But it doesn’t mean, we can start choosing which laws we don’t like and don’t want to follow. In Russia, homosexuality is a crime, in Thailand insulting the Monarch is a crime, consuming alcohol in public is an offence in some Muslim countries, women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia and must be veiled. Does it mean if we go to these countries, we can disregard these laws, because in the West it’s not an offence?

Political or no, unfair law or no – at the end of the day, can anyone stand up and accuse the prosecution of acting incorrectly? And can anyone object to the simple argument that the prosecution is merely enforcing the Law? That is the only issue that matters and 1 that some just refuse to accept or see.

Instead of tackling the charges, how best to get them dropped or obtain the lowest possible sentence, they went to focus on the political side of things and attacking the Law. Of course this could be done, but not now, the urgency is to combat the charges. Let the case be over, then by all means campaign against the Law in question. And Amos through his actions, has shown the flaws in your activism. It’s about discipline, it’s about obeying the Law and showing respect to others. Whether LKY is an ass-hole or saint doesn’t matter. That’s a different topic altogether.

2. Reformative Training is now 90% certain.

When this whole thing blew up, the possibility of Reformative Training (RT) was probably only 5%. Some may have accused me of being alarmist or unrealistic. But observing his conduct, the conduct of his parents and so-called ‘supporters’, I could sense the possibility although remote then. It could not be so easily dismissed as I observed in asubsequent post.  Ordinarily this would almost always end in probation if he observed the following:

a) Supervision at home

b) An ability to follow parent’s advice and instructions
c) Avoid mixing with person’s of doubtful character.
d) Interacts with similar minded disciplined kids his age, and not adults with no relation to him.
e) Is either studying or finds a proper job.
f) Will comply with terms of probation
g) Will not be a spoilt brat who must always have his way.
(a) (b) (e) and (f) being the most important. Probation is not a ‘picnic’ but it’s clearly a ‘walk in the park’ compared to RT. Probation is monitored by officers from the MSF by men and usually women, who have a lot of experience dealing with troubled youths. They would be different from Vincent Law, his former bailor, no proselytising – all professional and secular. Their responsibility primarily is to the Court, to ensure compliance to an accepted, tried and tested formula of supervision. These are professionals who are good at their job, counselling and other support measure will obviously follow but first, the probationer must adhere to some basic rules. But these people are not inflexible. I’ve known some youths who underwent probation – they were extremely grateful they got that and not RT.
You want to go out with your girlfriend – no problem, just inform. You want to stay out late occasionally, even say to midnight (these usually has to be family events, where 1 parent or a responsible adult is there), sure, just inform and get permission. You have  part-time job or class to attend and want to postpone counselling or a session, sure, let us know. Basically you can do or request anything reasonable, provided you display responsible behaviour and ask permission and remain contactable. And the best part is that you have freedom of movement, freedom to be in your home, your own bed, your toilet and be with you own friends.
But Amos in his misguided sense of right and wrong, or as I would put it – an open display of defiance – did not even want to take the 1st step – and meet the probation officer. He did not even want to hear the terms and access the suitability of it. And so the probation officer has no choice but apprise the court of this.
The other thing is why not just impose a jail term or fine? Insulting religion usually carries a fine or minimal jail term. But that’s for adults. Why not for him? Because this becomes a criminal record and the courts here have always adopted policy of not imposing jail terms for 1st time youthful offenders, especially for non-violent crimes. Probation and RT are not criminal records and can be expunged. A criminal record can be a big stain in future. He wants to go to the US, Canada, Australia and many Western countries, well you must declare your criminal record. You want to apply for a job, you must declare your criminal record. The courts position for youthful offenders is not primarily punishment but rehabilitation. What about his 18 day stay in remand? Well, remand is not a jail sentence. Plus it wasn’t continuous, he was bailed out and could have remained bailed out, but he refused to comply with the terms, so whose fault is it?

He calls the press ‘irritating cunts’ but who’s there waving to them? Who was it yesterday, repeatedly turning to face the photographers?

Given his behaviour since arrest and conviction, he’s now out on bail again, instead of showing he understands the severity of the matter, he’s again thumbed his nose at the Law. Even yesterday, before attending court he posted on Facebook – ‘why bother to go to court early because the judge is always late?’ That’s his attitude. And from a mere 5% 2 months ago, RTC is now 90% certain. As the DPP said, he’s a misguided youth who’s likely to continue to defy the Law. RTC offers the following which I mentioned:
1) Will be under supervision 24/7

2) Will have to undergo psychiatric treatment, if so directed
3) Will be subject to discipline 24/7
4) Can attend classes within RTC including doing his A levels.
3. His Parents especially His Mother is to Blame. 
No doubt his parents are not on trial. The bulk of the fault is his but they must be chided for allowing things to deteriorate to such levels. Of course no 1 can say for sure what the family dynamics are. He speaks of an abusive father and a loveless marriage. But given his propensity to lie, can we take him at his word? Perhaps he’s the cause for his parent’s rift? Perhaps he plays his father against his mother? Unlike others, I don’t want to condemn his father for ‘whacking him.’ Here’s a 16 year old kid, calling you a ‘bastard, a dumb-fuck’ and openly defies you time and again, which father wouldn’t snap? And who do you want to punish the kid, the father or the Law? I know an incident involving a then senior police officer who did murder investigations. His son was reckless in his behaviour and even started taking drugs. So afraid that his son would be arrested and jailed, he took the drastic measure of handcuffing his son at home, whenever he had to go for work or out. Draconian, brutal and surely wrong you may say, but what’s the alternative? A father’s love extends to protecting his son from a greater awaiting danger.
His grandmother told “Today” that he was addicted to the Internet. Why did his mother continue to allow him to do so? Do you reward bad behaviour with more freedoms? (Today photo)
But even if we disregard Mr Yee, we cannot let his mother Mary Toh off so lightly. He lives with her and her mother in their Shunfu flat. He wanted to quit school for some ‘fantastic idea’ that school was a ‘waste’ and that he wanted to be a ‘movie producer.’ And she let him. Ok maybe we say, he needs a break, ok let him have a break. He even gave up giving tuition and now expects his mother to finance him and she again lets him. He wanted to upload the video, she disagreed but did not stop him. He spends an inordinate amount of time on the Net (his grandmother confirmed) and she let him. He deliberately disobeyed his bail conditions, she let him. He made a disgusting allegation of molest against Vincent Law, and she didn’t rebuke him, instead according to him, found for him a secondary meaning of ‘molest’ to justify his outrageous behaviour. She didn’t raise a single cent to bail him but readily accepted strangers to bail her son. She allowed him to mix with people like Roy and get politically involved when he knew next to nothing about politics. She allowed him to crowdfund for monies he didn’t need because the lawyers were acting pro-bono. And when he boasted of how he wants to splurge with the monies, she didn’t stop him and tell him it was wrong. He claims to have raised $20,000 (I don’t think it’s that much, but thousands there was, no doubt). She allows a 16 year old to handle this huge sum and to continue to demand more.

Mary Toh’s parenting beggars belief. Instead of imposing discipline and guidance, she engages in appeasement. She deserves to be slammed for the manner she allowed things to turn south in a space of 6 months since January 1st.

He openly disregards directions from a judge and refuses to meet a court appointed probation officer, and she allows him. Worse, she herself refuses to meet with the officer. He issues threats online against his cousins and other persons. Spews vulgarity, shows no gratitude, he even made a video where he boasts of watching porn and masturbating twice daily and wants to have sex. All these she doesn’t step in. Instead he says, he’s taught her how to use FB and she’s correcting his grammar and English in some of these disgusting posts and administers his page for him. If true, it just shows how reckless and irresponsible she is. Not only does her son need psychiatric help (she claims he has Asperger’s), I honestly think she needs it too. She needs to attend some ‘parenting 101’ classes. I know parents who are less educated or qualified as her (she’s a Maths teacher), who can better monitor, guide and teach their sons and daughters values.

What would you or any normal person do when you have a teenager who refuses to follow basic instructions, who openly defies you, is rude to elders (he called a woman who delivered cookies and chocolates on his doorstep a ‘bitch’), shows no gratitude, makes false allegations, tells lies and insults religion? Would you simply ignore him and let him have his way? Of course not, common sense and maturity will tell you, you need to impose discipline. You don’t even need to use violence. He doesn’t want to go to school, fine, you cut his pocket money. No money whatsoever, you provide food and basic clothes, that’s it. He wants to go out and have leisure with friends, you severely curtail that. He’s obsessed with the Net, you stop internet subscription, you cancel cable TV, or even remove all computers. His hand-phone you downgrade to a basic 1. You give him tasks to complete, he cleans the house, cleans his room, helps his grandmother. He’s still stubborn, you tell him, he’s gonna have to stay with the 1 person he detests – his father. You seize his bank account, all monies people donated, you either return or inform unknown donors, you’ll donate it to charity. You do not allow him to procure monies online from strangers – you do not give an irresponsible kid thousands of dollars and allow him to buy stuff.

You’re not sure what to do, you consult or get another adult relative to be discipline master. You’re not showing love by spoiling your child. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech or liberties. This is about parenting and disciplining a wayward kid.

4. Can he now avoid RT? 

Does his mother think all this is a game? Maybe he thinks so. In his warped thinking, as long as he captivated the public with his antics – he has fans and will get money. Does she think the judge or DPP is playing a game of poker with her son? That by calling their bluff, or by letting this become a widely reported case, charges will be dropped and he’ll get a lenient sentence or the judge will sympathise with him and her? At every stage, he’s openly defied the court. Courts don’t issue rulings for fun. Prison officials don’t ignore directions from the court, neither do probation officers.

Probation was a chance to wipe the slate clean, hunker down, get back to the basics – do something meaningful – study, take up sports, do charitable works etc. There is of course a chance he might not be sent for RT. But is it too late now? His lawyers must come up with a very strong argument that he’ll comply with directions and instructions and obey the Law. But I doubt the DPP will be willing to budge. It’s almost certain come June 2, he’ll have to go back inside for 4 weeks to assess his suitability for RT. (These 4 weeks don’t count against any eventual RT sentence). Then it’s up to the prison officials to prepare the report and make recommendations for or against RT. I’ve seen cases where the report is negative – the youth is not recommended for RT, because something less stringent is an available option – that almost always means probation. But given his utter lack of supervision, his open defiance not only to his parents, but the court and his insistence on doing whatever he wants, can any reasonable person come out with an assurance that probation is the better alternative?

It’ll be a minor miracle, if lawyer Alfred Dodwell can convince DJ Jasvender Kaur not to call for an RTC report and not to impose 1, if it’s so recommended.

Jasvender Kaur, I feel is probably 1 of the top 3 judges in the lower courts. I’m surprised she’s not a High Court judge by now. Her decisions are meticulous and she’s always known to be a fair judge, not someone who’s extremely harsh or inflexible. Very seldom are her findings overruled by an appellate court. Her overriding factor would be rehabilitation and a chance for the boy to be responsible and get back on track in life. But even she cannot simply ignore, his repeated refusals to comply with her instructions. She cannot simply disregard the probation officer’s report on his refusal to even take the 1st step in meeting her. She cannot ignore the inability or reluctance by his mother to impose some discipline on him. He’s already been sniping at Christianity again, and has made veiled references against Buddhism. To let him off the hook now, how certain will it be that he’ll suddenly change overnight and start complying, when even after conviction, he’s been thumbing his nose at the Law? Unless the defense lawyers can come out with strong arguments, she has to seriously consider the DPP’s requests on sentencing.
Some people have said, ‘oh he’s so talented, he writes well’ – a few even said he’ll make a good politician – prime minister no less! They gotta be joking. I can point to hundreds if not thousands of students in top schools like RI, RGS, ACS, Hwa Chong, even ones like St Andrew’s, St Joseph’s or maybe even top students from neighbourhood schools, who can write better. Who can speak just as well if not better, who are able to argue their cases logically and with maturity.
What these people fail to see is a kid who latched on to the hottest topic of the day, to gain fame or notoriety. The issue is not about LKY, wanna call him, dog, cat or whatever – that’s a civil matter. But insult religion, Singaporeans don’t want to see or hear that. It could have easily have been the death of the pope or Dalai Lama, he would probably use that to gain the fame he craves. To garner ‘fans.’
This is how he uses the Net – another snipe at Jesus and Christianity. Another example of ‘teaching people not to ‘fuck with Amos Yee.’
For too long he’s been allowed to get away with whatever he wants, without consideration for the feelings or actions it has on others. He hides behind the computer, thinking it gives him the power to get his ‘revenge.’ Just read his posts against his cousins or other persons, who he thinks ‘molested him.’ His childish response – ‘I’m gonna shame you online – you don’t fuck with Amos Yee.’ Well nobody really cares if you think you’re getting your revenge – you’re not – you’re making a fool of yourself. A lot of people can see through your lies. A lot of people can see how spoilt you’ve become. And society and the Law has little time for such antics. No Western country is gonna take you based on your conduct. You can’t even get a passport, with NS looming. No schooling means no chance of going abroad either to study or get a long term visa.
‘Sleepers’ is a movie kids and their parents should watch – where 1 mistake and a combination of events can conspire to ruin your life.
There’s this show he and his mother should watch – it’s called ‘Sleepers’ starring Brad Pitt, Robert de Niro and Dustin Hoffman. It’s about some kids who made the 1 mistake by playing a prank and ended up in a juvenile boys home. (Of course the show indicates the boys were sodomised by the guards, this is not gonna happen here). But the similarities are there – on January 1st this year – you started the year like any normal 16 year old finishing your O levels. But instead of acting rationally and doing what most kids do, you decided to continue living in your virtual world and do whatever you like – ignoring all the red flags. You’ve only got yourself to blame. RTC can make or break you, it’s really up to you, but a game it is not. It’s gonna be extremely hard, much tougher than NS. The tolerance for misbehaviour and disregarding rules is very low, maybe even zero. You either reflect and choose to study, or you face the daily grind of drills and discipline, and living with boys older and bigger than you, who won’t let you do things to ‘sabotage them’ like disobeying orders. They won’t take too kindly with a nerd trying to ‘act smart.’ Neither will the prison officials. And Mary Toh, well in trying show ‘your love for your son’ by just simply giving in each and every time, well now you’re not gonna have him around for 2 whole years, maybe more.
At the end of the day, if you go back to January 1st and reflect on all that has transpired, you gotta ask yourself 1 question if RT is imposed – was it worth it?
Source: http://anyhowhantam.blogspot.sg

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