Amos Yee is by now no stranger to the law. His video clips on You Tube have allegedly offended the Christians, the Muslims and fans of late former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Yee has been hauled before the court and has also served jail time despite being a minor. More recently, he has found himself running foul of the law again (http://theindependent.sg/what-to-make-of-amos-yee-and-his-arrest/).
While I do not ascribe to any of his points of views, I view him as nothing more than a teenager trying to find his way in the world. As a fellow citizen, I am of the opinion that we should nurture his intelligence rather than alienate him. It is painfully obvious that he isn’t some kind of violent criminal. Nor has he incited anyone to violence. All he has done is mouthed off on religion and the late Mr Lee. Now, I am not suggesting that he is a respectful child. But since when has disrespect become a crime?
I believe we should all have the right to air our opinions unless such opinions will lead to dangerous consequences for state security. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Yee is an equal opportunistic hater who just wants his share of airtime. He doesn’t appear to have a particular agenda. Nor has he isolated a particular group to hate. In other words, he is just a potty mouthed teenager – no threat at all. And honestly, beyond initial shock that generated outrage (after all, Singaporeans are not used to such bare faced insolence from the youth), no one is really taking him seriously at all.
On the other hand, we now have a Mr Bryan Lim that has uttered violent threats against the LGBT community. Mr Lim does not have adolescent angst as an excuse. In his own words, he is an NS man and a father. In other words, he is an adult and recognised as such by not just the law but also by society.
Unlike Yee who appears to target anyone and any group that will garner him a reaction, Lim is focused on one particular event and one particular group. His hatred is therefore one that should be addressed by the authorities.
Yee has also never threatened actual physical violence. All he has done is say scandalous things which, if one takes a step back, are obvious to be nothing more than a cheap trick to titillate.
If Yee has run into so much trouble with the law, then the same must and should apply to Lim. To do otherwise will simply send the wrong message that the interests of some groups trump the interests of other groups. We are supposed to be an inclusive society. The gay community work, pay taxes and contribute to society. Their interests should be as important as any other group’s.
Lim is an adult. Yee is a child. Lim threatened actual violence at a specific group of society over a particular event. Yee shoots his mouth off at any group that he can cause offence too. If danger is the fear here, who poses the bigger danger?
Quite a number of Christians and Muslims have spoken up to say that Yee is not viewed as a threat by them. Most simply ignore or feel sorry for him. The LGBT community on the other hand does not have the same views of Lim as the Christians and Muslims have of Yee. Fighting an uphill battle for social acceptance, it is understandable that views proffered by a self claimed Singaporean NS man who is a father is damaging to the cause of the LGBT community in a way that Yee’s words will not have on the Christian or Muslim community.
Christianity and Islam are mainstream and socially accepted religions in Singapore who have not faced the persecution that the LGBT community has in Singapore. Clearly, Lim’s words will have a greater negative impact on the LGBT community than Yee’s could ever have on the Christian or Muslim community.
Threatening violence against a group solely based on their sexual orientation is bigotry in its utmost manifestation. If the authorities take Yee’s antics so seriously, then it must by the same vein take Lim’s far more grievous actions just as or even more seriously.
To do otherwise would be not only unfair but will set the dangerous precedent that the interests of one group of Singaporeans is more important than another group’s.