Thursday, May 14, 2015

Amos Yee, the boy who cried wolf?

Credits: TOC

Amos Yee has done it again. This time by alleging that his previous bailor, Vincent Law, molested him in a Facebook post. Response has been swift and plentiful. Both the mainstream media and the online media, bloggers like me included, are rushing to jump on the bandwagon to report or write about this. If attention is what Amos wanted, he certainly got it in droves.

Given this recent development, one cannot help but wonder: What are his intentions?

From an observer's point of view — where there is currently not enough information to verify his claims — there are only two possibilities:

Possibility One: What Amos said is true. That Mr Law molested Amos Yee as what the Facebook post claimed.

Or Possibility Two: Amos lied. He concocted the story that Mr Law molested him when the truth is the exact opposite.

Personally, I find it hard to believe Possibility One for several reasons, as tempting as the story may be. One, Amos is smart. He is not the kind of person who stand idly by while some other people take advantage of him. Instead, if this really happened, I would expect him to capitalise on it as soon as possible, like what he did to his poor dad with the abuse post.

Two, I find his intent highly questionable. If there is one thing that is constant about Amos Yee, it is his constant thirst for fame. He said this himself — that he is willing to do controversial things just for fame. This was evident through his videos, blog post and even his banana eating stunt. So why should this case be any different?

And three, the mention of the story is too vague and broad to point to something exact. It is just a brush off type of comment contained in no more than a paragraph. His lawyers were completely caught off guard as well with his allegations. Which is why I find it hard to believe his allegations. However, I am willing to be corrected on this, if enough evidence emerge.

Which then brings us to Possibility Two, where Amos lied about this story. And that itself opens up a whole gigantic can of worms altogether. What are his intentions in fabricating this story? What does he hope to achieve? Has he really thought through the entire thing, along with all the possible consequences?

Some of the comments — which I think comes mostly from his supporters and government haters — claim that he is only trolling with the mainstream media with this story. To prove his point that mainstream media cannot be trusted and would just want to sensationalise any story that they get. This itself is problematic and scary, because it gives you a glimpse about how his mind works.

No matter how much you hate the government or trying to prove a point, surely any human with compassion would not go as far to frame the person who was trying to help you? Think about it. From the moment Amos made that claim, Vincent Law's fate has already been sealed and destroyed, no matter what evidence that will pop up later to clear his name or if Amos comes out later to say that this is all just a joke.

Judging from the current talk online, the damage has already been done to Vincent. On the internet, nothing is ever forgotten. The question mark will always remain above Vincent's head and for someone who counsels youths for a living, is this not destroying his livelihood in a single stroke? And what kind of rational or sensible human being would go so far to destroy another person's life — especially one that helped you out of compassion — just to prove a point. He was on your side to begin with! Is this not biting the hand that fed you?

If this is true, it really calls into question the logic that Amos employs and the way he operates and thinks about the world. Not forgetting his intentions. It feels as if he is operating on the pure goal to achieve world domination (from the way he said how he wanted to ‘fuck with the Government’) and fame, while disregarding the consequences of his action.

You may argue as you might that he is still a teenager to justify his complete disregard for consequences, but personally I feel that the amount of hate and contempt that he has (at least in his writing and videos) borders on being abnormal and worrying. And the more I read about him, the more I feel that there are red flags on psychopathology or anti-social personality disorder going off all around him.

That sense of self-entitlement and delusion of grandeur, it's not normal. And I can't help but to get this sense that he has a messiah complex as well. One that is characteristic of Pastor Jones from the Jonestown incident or other cult leaders as well. To be honest, I won't be surprised if he forms a religion around himself somewhere in the future.

Of course, I admit those all are speculation on my part, if Possibility Two turns out to be true. I am still ready to stand corrected. I am just putting these thoughts out there to counter the overwhelmingly positive opinions on him. As much as we call ourselves to be critical of the mainstream, I believe we should be critical of the anti-mainstream as well.

More importantly, we should not mix up our hate for the mainstream with adoration for anyone who dares to go against the current. Both are mutually exclusive. It is not all or nothing. Neither is it a question of either you are with me or you are against me. We should be equally critical of every thought that comes our way, even if those thoughts support our initial opinion. And this I think is the biggest problem in our society today. Where we would take support any figure or argument as long as they fit into our agenda.

Returning to Amos Yee, if it is true that Vincent did molest him, I believe that he should make a police report immediately to prove his point. However, if the opposite is true, then I believe that a defamation suit is in order. Settle this once and for all. Personally I am sick of Amos playing the victim and the amount of paranoia he has. As for the public, it is time to move away from knee jerk reactions, no matter which side you're on.

Like him or hate him, Amos Yee did accomplish one thing none of us were able or willing to do. Getting the nation to discuss on the issue of free speech — responsible free speech in particular — and our future direction. And this could be our tipping point. What we do now in response — whether we stick with this ‘either you're with me or against me’ mentality or be willing to consider the viewpoints of others and discuss it in a civil manner without resorting to the authorities — will define and determine our future path.

The question now is: Are we willing to take the road that is less familiar? Or to quote my boss, "Are we prepared?"

Update: Amos has admitted that this was a joke/hoax/prank (Source). So yeah. Character assassination is still not cool. For reasons that I have mentioned.


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