And when people come up to me and ask, ’Amos! How do you know so much stuff?’
Well, not wasting my time on shit that I’m not interested in, and learning things because I want to instead of scoring well for an exam, kind of helps.
That is a statement from Singapore’s most famous teenager Amos Yee that basically sums up the complete disconnect between him and the conformist society that judges. There are many people who hate Amos Yee and I don’t blame them. I can’t say that I like this smug and impertinent brat (and I certainly won’t bail him out), but I respect him for having the courage to speak out so pointedly and succinctly against a system whose decorative rigidity is only good for churning out witless workers. He has remained unfazed in spite of the somewhat harsh treatment he received. Fans and admirers of Amos Yee should be clear that this is his battle against the system and by its very nature, it is necessarily an individual effort. Then came Vincent Law and a ping pong match ensued. Amos Yee’s supporters applauded Vincent’s appearance. His detractors were silent. Next, Vincent Law discharged himself. The detractors applauded. Amos Yee’s fans were silent. The detractors seemed to have won the game when Amos Yee claimed that Vincent Law “molested” him and then quickly withdrew his allegations and apologised. How did it turn out that way. Was Amos Yee an ingrate and an irresponsible punk who bit the hand that rescued him? Let’s take it from the top.
And let’s cut the hypocrisy here. Amos Yee is in so much trouble and people are pissed off with him not because he insulted Christianity. It’s something else and mentioning it may insult people’s intelligence. While he made instant enemies with his viral video, he also drew much sympathy when he was arrested and not protected like a minor ought to be. So when Vincent Law appeared, it’s quite natural for all of Amos Yee’s sympathisers to cheer him as a hero.
How and why did they fall out? Vincent Law was not very generous at his end, so many of those who initially supported Amos begin to see him as an ingrate. But what was Vincent Law’s motive in bailing out the embattled trailblazer? I can accept that he didn’t do it for the publicity, BUT, he certainly had his own agenda. He wanted to tame the fiery rebel and convert him to boot! That does not make him very different from Amos Yee’s detractors or even the slapper. This is what Amos had to say.
You knew that he intimidated me? You knew that he threatened to discharge himself 9 times? You knew I was completely miserable when I had to meet him every day?
It’s so arrogant, that whenever you disagree with someone’s views, or their approach in doing things, you imply that they have some sort of problem that needs to be fixed, and they are in a ‘predicament’.
So your father went in bailing me with such condescension, wanting to be the dominant one that gave advice. I can see why your father is now acting particularly insecure, now that he’s the one that is submissive.
Amos Yee would rather go back to jail and it’s not an exaggeration. He really meant it. The kiasi and pragmatic Singaporeans out there (and even the not so kiasi and pragmatic like me) would be scratching their heads, wondering how Amos Yee would forego a opportunity to stay out of jail at least for the time-being. But that’s because the majority of us cannot imagine that someone who rescues us may turn out to be a “raving lunatic” as Amos Yee put it. Better off dead. Fortunately for us, Amos Yee refused to abide by the terms of his bail which included not posting anything on social media. If he had complied, we would have been none the wiser. Amos managed to reveal that Vincent Law had a motive. He was bent not just on taming Amos Yee, he wanted to convert him to Christianity. Heroic bailor? Not quite, so don’t be so quick to judge and praise.
The issue of “molest” has been explained. Amos has been rather careless, negligent or even irresponsible in his choice of words.
However, I would make the claim, that having Vincent Law as a bailor, is personally, to me, the most unnerving aspect of this whole experience.
And although Vincent didn’t sodomize me physically, he did violate me emotionally…
The most revealing part is a most shocking and disgusting quote from Vincent Law:
‘Oh well since I’m a Christian,and you don’t like religion, then I guess you don’t like me, so maybe I should just discharge myself as your bailor!’
How do you interpret that? Spiritual blackmail? Would Amos’ detractors change their minds? Would you go back to jail or would you guai guai embrace Vincent Law’s religion? Would you still see Amos as an ingrate? What if the bailor asks for sex in return? What if the accused were not allowed to reveal it in his blog in compliance with court orders? We’ll never know who the bad guy really is. Amos’ brave response puts him in the same class as the Song Dynasty’s last Prime Minister, Wen Tian Xiang.
Don’t we tell stories of stubborn heroes like Wen Tian Xiang and expect out kids to emulate them? Amos Yee is so recalcitrant, not because he thinks he can get away with repeated offences but because he simply doesn’t think that what he is doing is wrong. In the minds of the invading Mongols and Chinese who surrendered to enjoy a better life than what the bungling, corrupt, infighting Song nobles and oficials could provide, Wen Tian Xiang must have looked a bit like Amos Yee. Whether I agree with Amos Yee is immaterial. He deserves my respect for holding his ground and his “faith” when his beliefs are challenged.
Have a good Monday and remember, don’t be so quick to judge.
© Chan Joon Yee