Amos Yee’s grandfather has revealed that he wishes to speak to his grandson, whom he hasn’t spoken to in the past three years, in the wake of news that the 21-year-old faces child pornography charges in the US.
The young Singaporean sought asylum in the US in 2016 after being serving jail time for inflammatory remarks he made in a series of videos that were published from 2015, when Yee was just 16 years old. In 2017, Yee – then 18 – began to publish pro-pedophilia content online which led to his social media accounts being banned.
In 2020, Yee said that he was diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder while in an immigration jail in the US and announced he was going to rebrand himself. Just two months later, he was arrested in Illinois on federal charges of solicitation and possession of child pornography.
It was reported earlier this month that Yee allegedly exchanged nude photos and “thousands” of messages with a 14-year-old girl from Texas while he was living in Chicago. His bail was set at US$1 million. If he is found guilty, he could be deported from the US back to Singapore.
While many citizens have experienced discomfort at the thought that the controversial young man may be returned to Singapore, Yee’s paternal grandpa has said that he wants to see him again if he is deported back here.
In an interview with Lianhe Wanbao on Sunday (18 Oct), the 80-year-old said that his grandson has not contacted him at all since he fled from Singapore in 2016. Sharing that it would be good if he is stripped of his asylum status and deported back to Singapore, the elder Yee said: “It’s good too if he is deported back as I’d like to see him.”
Mr Yee said that he only learnt of the child pornography charges against his grandson when he saw the news on Sunday morning. He told the Chinese daily: “Amos is my only grandson, he often lived with us (grandparents) when he was in primary school. My wife and I really love him, we were heartbroken when we saw that he was charged.”
Mr Yee said that his grandson grew distant as he grew older and did not even inform him and his wife when he left for the US: “I realised that he hadn’t visited us for a whole month. I only learned that he flew to the U.S. after I asked my daughter-in-law.”
Revealing that he tried numerous times to contact his grandson, Mr Yee said that he received no response to his messages over the past three years.
Looking back on the time he spent with his grandson, the octogenarian said that he and his wife often advised their grandson not to be “too radical” when commenting online but the younger Yee always responded: “Old people like you can’t understand, you are too backward-looking!”
Clarifying that the Yee family does not approve of the radical comments his grandson makes online, Mr Yee told the publication with a sigh: “Every time we tried to speak to him, he would say that we are old and behind in our thinking. We really couldn’t do anything about him.”
Suggesting that his grandson perhaps behaved the way he did in a misguided attempt to prove himself to his family, he added: “Perhaps this child wanted to prove himself to his family so bad that he behaved the way he did.”
While the younger Yee cut contact with his grandfather after moving to the US, he is close to his mother. Revealing that his daughter-in-law sent money to the 21-year-old over the past three years, Mr Yee said that she rarely speaks to him about his grandson and he refrains from enquiring about him as well.
The elder Mr Yee added: “He (Amos) wasn’t that close to his dad.” Amos Yee has accused his father of being abusive to him during his childhood, in the past.