Instead, my concern is a wider one of how the government decide what is allowable and what is not, in the area of things which are deemed to be sensitive for some religions and their adherents.
This relates, of course, to the first charge levelled at Amos Yee, as mentioned above.
Amos Yee’s allegedly offensive video, in which he ranted and criticised the late Lee Kuan Yew, and compared him to Jesus Christ unfavourably, was an 8-minute film uploaded onto Youtube.
Here are some facts about it:
Total number of words spoken: 1,202
Number of times “Jesus” was mentioned: 1
Number of times “Christian(s)” was mentioned: 2
Length of video: 519 seconds (8:39 minutes)
Length of time Amos used to compare Lee Kuan Yew to Jesus Christ: 64 seconds
The comparison of Lee Kuan Yew to Jesus Christ was, admittedly, not very flattering, for either gentlemen.
But is it so serious that such extreme measures is necessary to be taken against a 16-year old?
To arrest him at his home (I am told there were 8 police officers there to execute that order), handcuff him in front of his parents and grandparents, and then to set bail for him, and later to handcuff him again in court and keep him in remand.
And on the day when Mr Law bailed him out, the news reported:
“At about 6.10pm, Yee was brought to the bail centre, still handcuffed and with ankle restraints, accompanied by more than five officers.”
One of the conditions of his bail, which also included Amos Yee reporting to the Bedok police station everyday at 9am, was that the video in question be set to private as well.
All this make it clear that Amos Yee’s supposed “offence” is rather serious – “attacking Christianity”, and “offending Christians”, according to a Straits Times’ report on Wednesday (22 April).
However, are Christians really offended by the rants of a teenager whom few had heard of before this incident?
“I’m a Christian and I’m stepping up to say that I’m not offended,” Mr Law told the media outside the courthouse.
Mr Law is a Christian.
Indeed, another Christian started an online petition to urge fellow Singaporeans to “release Amos Yee from your anger”, referring to the vitriolic attacks levelled at the teenager from some quarters, which include threats and intimidation of a sexual and physical nature directed at the boy.
“We are not offended by Amos Yee’s statements,” Wally Tham, the petition creator, said.
“His opinions about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ neither threaten our faith nor diminish our love for Him.”
The petition has garnered close to 4,000 supportive signatures since it was started a few days ago.
What Mr Law and Mr Tham say reflect what the Government itself had said in the past – that Christians here are not intolerant.
Christians are offended? Really?
Vincent Law, a family and youth counsellor, has stepped forward and bailed out 16-year old Amos Yee on Tuesday.
Yee was being held by the authorities because no one had posted the S$20,000 bail for him over the weekend.
He had been in remand for 4 days, and is being charged for three alleged offences which are (quoting local news reports):
- Allegedly causing matter to be seen and heard by five victims by creating a video clip containing remarks against Christianity with the deliberate intention of wounding the feelings of Christians.
- Allegedly transmitting electronically an image showing obscene figures, believed to be a cartoon or caricature of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Mr Lee in an unflattering sexual depiction.
- Allegedly making an insulting video clip online containing remarks about Mr Lee which was intended to be heard and seen by persons likely to be…
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