Monday, July 6, 2015

The world is a scary place: On Amos Yee and Najib's WSJ Report


Two pieces of news dominated my newsfeed over this weekend, one on tAmos Yee and another on Najib's WSJ report. As a person who is sort of stuck between both Singapore and Malaysia, I took an interest in both of them. My two cents worth on both issues:

1. Protests to free Amos Yee
  • I think it is wrong to keep Amos Yee in detention for so long. Especially in a place like IMH. The authorities may say that they're keeping him there  to “evaluate” him, but if my memories during my time in NUS as a Psychology major serve me right, you do not need to keep a person for this long just to find out what is wrong.
  • Even if you do, the silence from the authorities is not helping. At all. At least the authorities could have explain the reason why Amos Yee needs to be kept so long rather than have the public speculate. Nothing good ever comes out from speculation and it will only fuel negative perception towards you. If there is one thing that Singapore needs right now, it's more honesty and engagement. 
  • The string of protests is an example of unresolved public attention gone wrong. When you do not explain your position, people are free to make their own assumptions. If left unchecked, the type of stories that people can come up with may even exceed the truth. Like a wildfire, rumours can burn pretty far if there is no counter-story to rebut their claims. 
  • On the other hand, I am quite intrigued by the waves of protest for Amos Yee. There needs to be a clear distinction between protesting for an individual versus for a right. In this case, some are clearly protesting on behalf of the individual, meaning that they support Amos Yee more than the right to speak freely.
  • To them, Amos is like a freedom fighter akin to the Joshua of Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement. Which I can confidently tell you that he is not. Rather than fighting for freedom of speech, he is fighting for something else completely. More like personal fame or the right to insult, which I think is an important point for us to distinguish. 
  • I still don't agree with what he has done, but I pity what he has done through. One thing is certain: I would not have survived the ordeal that he has gone through over the past few weeks. And I guess we can all see that today, at least from the photos. Whether it is for show or a reflection of how effective the state is in breaking you down remains to be seen.
  • But now that he is out, I am sure that there is more drama to follow. From both sides of the fence. Even from Amos. The powers-to-be is definitely not going to walk away from this easy, and I feel that if they don't do something soon enough, the biggest loser will be the Singapore society. Not Amos. Not the government. But everyone in general.

2. Najib's WSJ report
  • It's funny to see how many of us are expressing our displeasure over the internet, hoping that it has any effect, rather than taking it to the streets and demanding for a straight answer. Because in other countries, this is exactly what would have happened.
  • Mind you, those are million of dollars, taxpayers' money that is alleged to have been siphoned. If it's true, it's like daylight robbery out of all our hard earn cash.
  • But then again, Malaysians are so pacified and divided that even with such a huge scandal, none of are really doing anything concrete. Ten thousand online comments would not remove Najib from power, for all we know he could be sitting in front of the computer sitting on a gold-plated chair laughing at all of us.
  • Before we know it, he could be jetting off to a country without extradition if the heat gets to hot. So yeah, if Malaysians really want to hold Najib responsible, they need to do much more to turn the heat up on him. Placing roses may seem noble and pacifist, but it does not equate to any change.
  • The real question here is are Malaysians able to pull off something similar to the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong? 
  • But then again, I am just a Malaysian who found better soil elsewhere, so I am not exactly qualified to comment.


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