Yuen Wei Ping was one of at least 20 people who had filed police reports against Amos Yee for making insensitive remarks on Christianity.
On March 27, Amos, a 17-year-old teenager, uploaded an eight-minute long video, entitled “Lee Kuan Yew Is Finally Dead!” in which he celebrated the death of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father, by making disparaging remarks about him and his career, as well as making comparisons of him to Jesus Christ by describing them as both “power-hungry” and “malicious”.
Wei Ping, a 19-year-old Singapore Polytechnic graduate, had come across the video by Amos, who is a school dropout, in his Facebook feed in a post shared by his friends at about midnight on March 28.
Having paid his respects twice to the late Lee during the day, Wei Ping said to Popspoken in a phone interview Monday that he was “shocked” and “pissed off” at Amos’s video.
“Amos had not only insulted Lee Kuan Yew, a man I respected, and who had just passed way, but also insulted my religion, the one thing (Lee) hated most when he was alive,” said Wei Ping, referring to Mr Lee’s tough stance against religious intolerance.
Although the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) graduate was all for freedom of speech, he felt it was important that it must be balanced against the potential to affect harmony between people, especially in matters pertaining to race or religion.
This was why despite never having filed a police report for such cases before (he had only previously filed reports for lost items), he decided that it was in Amos’s best interest that Wei Ping brought the case up to the police.
“Speaking to a person as extreme as (Amos) will not do him any particular good. From what I can see of him, he is closed to the opinions of others. I hope to stop Amos from making any worse mistakes in the future, because even though he is arrested for these charges now, he may be arrested for worse things in the future.”
In his report, Wei Ping said that he found the video “highly inappropriate” and felt that the reference to Jesus Christ was “highly incendiary and unnecessary”. He also felt that Amos’s video and its contents constituted an offence under Section 298 of the Penal Code, a law which prohibits causing of ill-will among the different racial and religious groups in Singapore.
On whether he feels that this arrest will affect Amos’s future, Wei Ping strongly believes that despite his young age, Amos has to take responsibility for his actions.
Said Wei Ping: “Personally, even when I was at his age, I believe in consequences because of my actions. Whether or not he is charged, I hope he will stop behaving like this and change for the better in terms of his behavior and thinking.”
Petition for Amos’s release
Responses to Amos’s actions and arrest have been mixed.
Some, like Jason Tan Kok Whee (otherwise known by his Facebook name Cookie Tan) — allegedly a People’s Action Party grassroots leader serving in the Telok Blangah district — threatened to “cut off his dick and put (it) in his mouth for blemishing Jesus Christ”.
Others, like Wally Tham, a man of Christian faith, have called upon the Singapore government to release Amos Yee.
Said Mr Tham in his online petition: “We are not offended by Amos Yee’s statements. His opinions about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ neither threaten our faith nor diminish our love for Him. Please release Amos Yee. We forgive him and desire he (has) a full life of contribution to his community ahead of him.”
Within less than eight hours, his call to release Amos garnered the support of more than 500 supporters, with many commenting on his young age and urging the police to release him and give him a second chance.
Calls and messages from Popspoken to Amos have gone unanswered. The police have confirmed Amos faces three charges including the one Wei Ping suggested in his police report.