Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Has Singaporean teenager free speech advocate, enfante terrible Amos Yee, signed his own death warrant

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There can be no question on the principle. Amos Yee has the right to speak his mind. That is the law and that is the Constitution. And no dictator such as Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Kuan Yew's son nor any other bigwig thug strutting around that tiny island of Singapore like a prize rooster bullying anyone in his way has any right to stop him.

I support Amos Yee on that principle. Having said that, is all the other stuff that he says really necessary. And for what purpose?

By all means, call Lee Hsien Loong any number of names you want. He deserves every single insult thrown at him, the corrupt multi millionaire rascal. But my question is this. Why insult Muslims and Christians? What purpose does that serve? You may disagree with some of the seemingly illogical verses in the Muslim Holy Book that Allah created the world and everything in just a few days, but there happens to be millions of Muslims around the world who really believe this. So why not let them be? In any case what satisfaction would you derive by insulting the Muslims or for that matter proving your point on the right of free speech, and be murdered in the process.

But have you really thought through the consequences of your action. It is a fact and quite obviously so that there are Muslims around the world including in Singapore who are very hurt by your actions. For some, according to their interpretation of their Book, to kill or maim and hurt someone who insults their religion is not only a right, it is their duty for which they are rewarded in Paradise upon death. So what is there to stop any Muslim in Geylang Singapore to beat you up or even kill you by the justification that a few years in jail or even execution is a small prize to pay for the Paradise eventually waiting for them.

Bing killed or maimed for standing on free speech principle doesn't make much sense to me.

I remember the British Prizewinning author Salman Rushdie. After he wrote the Satanic Verses, he went into hiding for fear of his life and the British police actually supplied around the clock bodyguards, at government expense, to protect him. Will Amos Yee have to go into hiding too and will Lee Hsien Loong, the Singapore dictator whom he continues to insult on a daily basis send bodyguards to protect him! I think it is very probably the reverse! After all the insults, I suppose he would celebrate when Amos Yee gets the polishing.

And to a great extent he has already made himself a prisoner in his own island. It is not Lee Hsien Loong that has done that to him. He quite literally dare not come out of his apartment, lest there is a Singapore Malay Muslim waiting with a dagger round the block to cut his throat. Although they have confiscated his passport, even with one he could hardly travel. For one thing, he should never go to Peshawar Pakistan, Baghdad Iraq or San'a Yemen, unless he intends to commit suicide. In fact he can hardly travel anywhere in the world, not even to the US. Here in California as well as any other part of the US there are many waiting for the opportunity to go to Paradise, with the help of Amos Yee.

One can of course stand on principle but one should of course also use common sense. And one should face reality. I can if I want exercise my right of free speech by standing in the middle of Baghdad Square Iraq and insult Allah. I should know what will happen next, no need to even thick twice. And to a large extent Amos Yee has done just that. Through the Internet, it is probable that the worst terrorists in Baghdad have already got wind of this teenager's escapades. Will they wait for him to go to Iraq to finish him off or are they sending someone right now to Singapore for this purpose?

And has Amos Yee considered his future life in Singapore  assuming he has one? Lee Hsien Loong and his bully government are a cowardly vindictive lot. They will make sure that he gets no help whatsoever even to survive. Let me tell you the obvious. It is good that he lives with his parents. If not the government housing authority HDB where 90% of the islanders are housed will not provide accommodation. He will have to live on the street in a tent! Second employment. No one will give him a job. Not the government nor any private employer. They are all afraid the government will punish them if they did. And then of course he can try to emigrate. It is certain he will obtain asylum in any third country. But besides worrying if someone will kill him, what sort of work can he get? He is reported to be a dropout without any trade. He knows how to make YouTube movies. He can go straight to Hollywood California and try his luck but what guarantee is there that he will succeed?

And another thing closer to home. He can't even go to Malaysia. It is a majority Muslim country and I have no doubt they are waiting patiently for him.

I am afraid this young man has rushed headlong into his free speech crusade without actually thinking through his actions.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

1 comment:

Daniel Kevlar said...

To play devil's advocate, Mr Nair, I'd say that Amos had insulted Muslims as much as atheist Youtube personalities have done to Christians. Sure, there are hate speech laws and the like in the UK and US but it doesn't seem to ever apply to Christians when radical extremists like the Westboro Baptist Church being an acceptable target but when anything is so much as aimed at Muslim/Islam, these laws come into play at full force.

I know that this isn't really all that related to Singapore (but then again, Amos' video in question isn't all that related either) but isn't free speech something that you stood for? Or is it only when religious beliefs are not on the line?