Amos Yee, the young Singaporean who was in the news for posting inflammatory content online, has said in a recent blog post that he was diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder while in an immigration jail in the United States.
In the same post, he promised to change his ways and said he had changed his name to “Polocle”.
Amos, who was 16 at that time, drew widespread attention in 2015 for celebrating the death of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in a viral Youtube video.
In the recent post, he recounted how he suddenly became a household name after uploading the video and how he was seen as a bastion of free speech by the international community after he was subsequently arrested.
Amos admitted that he spoke up against the government more so because he was “an attention-seeker”. Recalling an incident which illustrated his attention-seeking ways, he said:
“After I was in Singapore prison for 2 months, I walked out of the court room to meet a swarm of reporters and worried onlookers. I looked absolutely traumatised, pale face, eyes deadened, clutching my mother’s arm. That picture of me became viral.
“That was fake, I made the conscious decision before I was let out to act absolutely wrecked, and the moment I entered a taxi away from the sight of any reporters, I immediately started laughing. I literally started criticising the government on Facebook a day later acting completely fine, but apparently most people still think that image is true and that I was tortured. Look, prison was bad, but not THAT bad.”
He admitted: “So why did I fake it? Just to troll and get attention, because obviously a traumatised face will stir more of a reaction than a neutral one.”
While Amos continued making anti-government videos after he was released from prison, he found that people were starting to lose interest.
Calling the waning attention a sign that people had “begun to realise my true nature”, he said: “The thing about an attention-seeker is that people will eventually become turned off, and although a huge number of people know you, you won’t be able to influence anyone in the long-run.”
Amos was arrested for a second time and was jailed for about two months again. This made him seek refuge in the US — where he found himself in immigration jail for 11 months while his application for asylum was being processed.
After he was finally given asylum, the Singaporean went back to making videos but discovered that “most people slowly began to ignore and forget about me after a few years”.
Amos attributed this to his personality becoming “worse,” and his views on controversial issues like paedophile rights.
When his social media accounts all became banned due to his controversial views, he decided to take a break. He said: “But after all my accounts were taken down, I didn’t immediately try to get back online, but instead chose to take a break. And so for the past few years, in a humble studio apartment in Chicago, away from the internet spotlight that had consumed my life for so long, I reflect.”
Amos reflected that having so many people talk about him suddenly made him feel tremendously powerful and revealed that he was diagnosed with narcissism in US immigration jail.
According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder is a “mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others”.
“While I was in American jail I had to undergo a mental assessment for the court case. After saying I wanted to be the greatest activist in the world, start numerous million-dollar businesses, cure cancer, and then insulting the psychiatrist’s marriage, I was eventually diagnosed with narcissism.
“The psychiatrist did however say the diagnosis was most likely temporary, and would probably lessen as I got older (He also told my mom he liked me, quite surprising).”
Amos eventually realised that his narcissism and attention-seeking were a form of self-hate. He said: “And what I ultimately discovered was that narcissism, is actually a form of self-hate. Some people might mistake narcissists as people filled with confidence and self-love, so much so that they have to brag about it. That’s not true at all.
“What’s really happening is: I didn’t feel adequate, I didn’t feel loved. So behaviors like whoring attention, and boasting about myself, were ways to try to prove that I’m good enough, because I didn’t think so. All to escape from the fact that inside, I actually hated myself.”
The young Singaporean felt that it took him such a long time to realise his weaknesses because he also has admirable traits like being courageous to speak out on issues others were afraid to discuss. Promising to change his ways, he said:
“So what now? Well like most experiences in life, it has both good and bad, and so I’ll do my best to fix the bad, while continuing the good. The attention-whoring, narcissism and general unlikable attitude, I’ll fix. But the uncompromising desire and courage to share the truth despite hatred, because I know that in the long-run my message will help others and fulfill a purpose greater than myself, I’ll keep.”
Amos also shared that he is changing his name to “Polocle” — a combination of the words “polymath” and “oracle” — since he felt he should rebrand himself given his changed personality.
He added that he will also be writing instead of vlogging to signal a change.
Amos ended his post by saying he does not regret making that first video that made him infamous because he “wouldn’t know what was good and bad about that unless I tried doing it, and without this experience, I don’t think I’d be as rich of a person”.
Read his post in full HERE.