2 days ago I posted on Melissa Chen’s Facebook the reasons I believe Amos’ asylum gamble would most likely end up being rejected by the US Department of Justice; I would now further opine that he might even flunk his elementary threshold screening by the Department of Homeland Security and not be accepted on sufferance to proceed with his asylum application. What next would be a litany of years-long, touch-and-go appeals should he decide to fight it all the way. His self-appointed US keeper, Melissa, does have a big heart but her compassion is misguided… she could be looking at years of babysitting while he labors under the illusion of asylum. I wish them good luck; I trust Melissa’s own post-graduate pursuit will not unduly suffer because of it.
But looking at it from the bright side, this obstreperous teenage iconoclast without a cause still has a home base to which to return — unlike some hapless soi-disant ‘free-speech’ heroes who are stuck in a cubbyhole in some foreign Embassy or left languishing in some cold, foreboding polar-bear country. But first things first: Amos needs to man up, eat crow and complete his NS obligation to his nation. As for the rest, if Melissa has in any way inspired Amos to emulate what she does so very well as a free-spirited social media blogger, it would still be a long process of continued learning and growing on Amos’ part to sublimate his impish, precocious impulses into level-headed adult conversation which could materialize but many years from now at a minimum.
(As posted on Melissa Chen’s Facebook on Jan 7)
Melissa, with your permission, let me re-post my response to Ron Murphy’s comment to my previous remark…
Ron Murphy wrote: Lester Kok, “certain matters held to be sacred and holy” is where the problem lies. It’s easy to make a claim to hold some matters so sacred and holy that they are beyond criticism and dissent, and then use that to shut down political dissent – it’s a poliitcal tool of oppression, and that’s what Amos has been fighting, however immaturely. I’m not disputing some are sincere in those beliefs and feelings, but are the matters they believe in so fragile they won’t hold up to verbal abuse? Are they so fragile they must be protected at the expense of genuine freedom, at the risk of oppression?
Mr. Murphy in order to have a meaningful discourse over speech rights, we need to put it in the proper context. It is the Amos-Singapore context here we are talking about, and not some First Amendment context or some aspirational UN human rights context. I shall come back to the Amos question later but first some stipulation for this speech-rights discussion is in order, and see if you beg to differ: that all countries (the advanced/modern democracies no less) have in place disparate forms of speech restrictions of varying degrees — a fact not lost on Edward Snowden himself prior to his seeking asylum in Russia. Punitive statutes ranging from the archaic lèse majesté to the more recent anti- hate-speech and -blasphemy acts (including against belittling the dead and/or denying the Holocaust) are in the books. A quick Google query will spit out names like, Canada, Germany, France amongst OECD countries by the dozen that set limits to free speech at home. Likewise in Singapore a similar version prevails, dubbed the ‘harmony law’ which Amos deliberately set himself up to outrage under the guise of free speech advocacy.
For discussion here, let’s look at some related free-speech controversies. Salman Rushdie who was born into a family of Muslim faith, knew full well his satiric Satanic Verses would incur the homicidal wrath of certain Islamist elements not known for their kindred sense of humor especially when it comes to irreverent characterizations of their Prophet. Yet, Rushdie saw fit as novelist to wield his literary license to offend. This he has done in the name of the freedom of expression but at an estimated UK-taxpayer cost of a million per year in police protection afforded him from 1989 to 2000 against the fatwa on his life… which I don’t believe is being lifted even to this day as the Ayatollah who issued it had passed on. Not to sound sardonic here on such official wisdom: from where Amos hails, the authority there would bid fair to rather spend its resources a tad more prudently; hence harmony laws are in play there. As for the needless tragedy at Charlie Hebdo, regrettably, the French authority did not deploy sufficient resources to protect their so-called artistic freedom of expression resulting in the ultimate sacrifice of 12 of its staff.
Yes, Mr. Murphy, unfortunately, even in this day and age, there are matters held to be holy and sacred that are best left unmolested. And while on the subject of the Prophet, respectful criticism of him has not been a problem. Scottish orientalist scholar W. Montgomery Watt an early critic of Islam in the 50s and 60s with a dozen or so critical books on the Prophet, did never personally experience threat to his life because of it. Parenthetically, it is my humble opinion that any such critical, reformative evaluations of the Islamic religion striving to fit into the 21st century, be best left to inside members of the faith of which there are some constructive voices at work but not enough like Ms Irshad Manji of Canada.
Back to Amos. Now, to pass off his simulated orgasmic act of bonking the Quran as some audacious, exploratory exercise in free speech, is, not to put too fine a point on it, bullcrap of the first water — he was not trying to raise free speech rights there but raise hob for his own self-serving, publicity-seeking, solipsistic gratification, however puerile that may have been. The due intervention by the authority at home probably saved the boy’s life; he would in all likelihood be dead by now in today’s highly prickly atmosphere had he continued escalating his blasphemy unchecked on the Internet as he would were he in the States. Nevertheless, since his release at home he has never stopped chiding his government on his blog; the authority has now learned to take it in stride after its initial rather awkward misstep in overreaction. So what do you call that if not his freedom of expression!
For his sake (and Melissa’s), let’s hope Amos is not spitting in the wind just now. But from the look of his latest post here, it appears he’s strategizing to go for broke that could well backfire in spades. His odyssey from later teen years to adulthood would be long and tortuous.
Very lucidly written and I agree with most of what you wrote. You should contribute more often to discussions here. As for the Amos “phenomenon”, who do you think is more fault, the person who lit the fire (Amos) or the ones who fanned the flames?
Thank you PikuChoo for the acknowledgement. Just curious… you don’t seem to be a weekend poster like I am… is posting in any way connected to what you do for a livelihood? I am currently working on a post on the Terrex showdown for LHL’s Facebook tomorrow; will simul-post it on TOC as well.
My short answer to yr above question is neither. The long answer: he is the product of the times, meaning a perfect storm if you will, of a teen’s precocity, his pathological hubris, the dysfunctional father-son dynamics, the solemnity of a nation then in mourning coupled with the initial befuddled official overreaction, and last but not least the age of the Internet, all have conspired to trip him up. But now I’m afraid it is the well-meaning Melissa Chen in America who is doing the misdirecting, setting him up for a big fall. Just look at his current dismal crowdfunding results in America: only a handful souls gave him a tumble; with more than 10 days in, the donations tallied only about 2 grand — didn’t he score 10 times better within days when he tried that at home previously?
The more accurate answer (for who is at fault) would be the authorities, who in their trademark/signature heavy handed manner in dealing with such issues, misjudged the effect and ratcheted up tensions/intolerance instead of dampening them down.
This gave rise to rabid vigilantes (with nothing better to do and too much time on their hands it seems) quick to point the accusing finger at any off-colour postings, making police reports and thus drawing more attention.
Amos was one such victim, deserving or not, not to say of the police force being drawn in as a hapless football between those looking for blood, those defending the rights of the accused/victim and the authorities as the issue becomes ever more politicised.
If someone purposed it to shoot himself in the foot, it would be a misnomer to just label him a victim (of violence); a more apt description would put him a subject of self-inflicted violence — in other words he brought it on himself.
As I have pointed out in my previous post, there may have been some bemused official overreaction initially in the throes of a sensitive period of national mourning and soon after. But his subsequent deliberate attempt at repeat offending with an I-dare-you challenge writ large, and expect the authority to let it slide and turn a blind eye, would be unthinkable in the Singapore context; the nation cannot and will not allow a teenage video blogger to make a mockery of its law.
Amos put himself out as bait and the govt fell for it hook, line and sinker. In matter of fact, the authorities didn’t have much choice, having painted themselves into a corner well before Amos showed up.
You have to ask yourself just what kind of a society are we if someone, who is basically a nobody and potentially mentally unstable, could utter some inflamatory nonsence and put that society at risk of falling apart? Do you take what a lunatic shouting obscenities seriously and be offended?
If you do, then the problem lies with yourself because you are not able to make a rational judgement and respond appropriately or in a commensurate manner.
Consider the Charlie Hebdo incident. The lesson the autorities should draw from that is that those who are offended are more dangerous and should be the ones to watch and be dealt with appropriately.
Which in our context, would be those finger pointers and police report makers. I don’t think it is society’s interests they have in mind when they display their warped sense of righteousness but rather, they (at best) are using people like Amos, to get their own 5 minutes of “fame”.
As a general matter, I differ from yr take on the Amos episode. In one aspect however, I do not disagree with yr criticism of initial official overreaction, which I’ve already touched on in previous posts. But in order to properly assess fairness of the charges against him, we need to separate his first from his second offense. Even if I grant you that the authority had overreacted in the first instance, looking at it now with the benefit of hindsight, Amos Yee was a time bomb waiting to happen — he did seal his own fate edging his way towards his present plight from the moment he decided to quit school prematurely and determined to establish a name for himself as a vblogger.
Let us now examine closer some of the flaws in yr analysis of the facts.
1. You do not simply ignore someone misbehaving just because he is a teenager and appears to be acting unhinged. Not surprisingly, wilful neglect can lead to greater trouble down the road. Did you read about the Virginia Tech student-massacre in 2007?… how a seemingly unstable mental student was left to his own devices that resulted in the worst US campus shooting rampage. It took place despite earlier evidence of the perpetrator’s rabid ranting on video and his violent thoughts in writing which the authority simply disregarded. Now you would say Amos is not a violent person. But we don’t know that for sure initially, do we? — as you now even readily concede he is ‘potentially mentally unstable’.
2. On yr second point that the official reaction/punishment was not ‘commensurate’. This I’ve already acknowledged that perhaps his first punishment wasn’t in view of its maiden youthful nature, but not so for his second which I have posted elsewhere calling the 6-week sentence way too lenient — as it turned out he served only half of it with the other half spent in home incarceration watching TV. Let me now share with you a historical tidbit for an expanded view on official-cum-public response. Only 1 person did actually carry out the assassination of President Lincoln but 4 other so-called conspirators who did not participate in the murder itself, were also found guilty and hanged soon after. The public’s and the government’s reaction were naturally swift and furious over the shocking death of America’s arguably greatest President. Amos strategically chose to launch his thousand ships at the most inopportune moment — or conversely, perhaps at the most timely moment per his calculation for maximum impact — when national grieving was in full spate.
3. And this throws into high relief your next very flawed point: that it is ‘those who are offended are more dangerous and should be the ones to watch and be dealt with appropriately.’ If one takes that argument of yours to its logical conclusion, it would then mean penalizing those being offended by say pornography or LGBT lifestyles. In a society, someone somewhere will be offended or annoyed by or at something, and they have every right to express their umbrage so long they do not violate that of others. On his subsequent occasion, Amos once again chose to throw caution in the wind to wilfully outrage sensibilities protected under the law; unquestionably he did go overboard to offend on the second occasion and received his due punishment.
Amos is very far from being a “time bomb” of whatever nature. He was just looking for attention and govt granted him that wish for their own reasons. Unfortunately the govt did not anticipate Amos inviting them to “dance” with him further.
Having already over-reacted in the first instance, this govt (who can do no wrong and certainly does not want to be perceived to have done wrong) couldn’t back off. And thus yet more time and resources was spent on dealing with him.
There’s offended and then there’s taking action. Normal people will just brush it off and move on. Those who escalate matters (in this case: making police reports and egging for official action to enjoy the spectacle of someone being hung out to dry), these are the ones to watch. They are the agent provocateurs.
By the way, it wasn’t national “grieving”. Yes, there was some sadness initially, but with 24/7 coverage on tv, it morphed into national hysteria.
Just a couple brief follow-ups:
1. In truth, Amos was personally none the worse for setting off 2 sizable detonations on himself at home, but sadly I would surmise his final anti-climactic self-implosion abroad, would be one heck of a profoundly ego-crushing life changer for the young man.
2. By ‘hysteria’, you aren’t implying in some manner that the public mourning/grieving that ensued that week was simply the agency of around-the-clock broadcast that had somehow managed to whip the nation into a state of robotic funereal frenzy, that the public outpouring wasn’t genuine but reeked of North-Korea-style ‘hysteria’ of orchestrated bereavement.
Jan. 18, 2017, Melissa Chen wrote:
He’s a Sikh Indian journalist by the name of Prabhjot Singh who is the editor-in-chief of the Gabbar Times (link below), a news portal that exposes government corruption in India where general elections are poised to take place in about a month. Due to his coverage and investigative reporting, Mr. Singh has suffered violent attacks from government insiders (Amos said he saw scars on him).
Prabjot is now seeking a sponsor in the US so that at his next hearing (February 1), he can be released. The immigration courts want to know that he has some place to go before releasing him. Anywhere in the US is okay. He is 30 years old, married and has family in India; speaks English and can drive; and has “Tech Engineer qualifications” from Punjab. If you or someone you know can help Prabhjot out, please somehow signal it to me. He also needs an immigration attorney and can pay for legal counsel.
They’ve developed a friendship having lived in confined quarters and often exchanged ideas about online activism and journalism. When Prabjot revealed that he doesn’t quite know how to “make things popular on the internet” or “on social media,” Amos told him that he’ll collaborate and help him when they’re both released.
Amos fell into a contemplative mood as he talked about how, owing to their large populations, China and India are two of the largest purveyors of human rights abuses that don’t receive adequate media coverage and attention. He told me that he’s going to look into it when he gets out.
1/18/17 Lester Kok wrote: Missy, it’s not my intention to rain on Amos’ parade here but allow me to call it as I see it. Pardon me then, my skepticism about this latest, abrupt presentation of a transmogrified, touchy-feely Amos. Just ask some of those principal players who had crossed his path and got shafted in the last 2 years — Vincent Law who volunteered to bail him out when his own parents wouldn’t, was falsely and maliciously maligned by Amos to have molested him; Alfred Dodwell, his initial pro bono attorney who turned his back on Amos’ request for a second round of pro bono representation; the scores of initially sympathetic donors who answered to his brazen appeals for crowdfunding only to subsequently learn he had frittered away their goodwill on ducks and drakes.
However, this is not to say that at this latter transformative stage of his adolescent personhood, there isn’t room for growth and change — but that will take years of conscious effort on his part to rectify his inborn, serious flaw of Narcissism.
Though I have posted here why I very much doubt he would be bonded out on Jan 30, I do hope he gets released into your care and learn from you up-close in person what it takes to be a successful social media advocate that wins the respect of his/her readers.Melissa ChenLester I always appreciate how you so politely and eloquently voice your thoughts on this matter.
Amos will not be in my care after his release. He has a host in a state far from where I live and once he’s out and has internet access again I will no longer be his mouthpiece.
He will be responsible for his own views and how he presents to the world. After all, he only just turned 18.Adam Lowisz I read about those things and I hope he changes soon. I’m willing to take a chance that as time progresses he will mature. I’m willing to help him because I believe free speech is important even for people who I totally disagree with politically such as Amos. I see Amos as a way to improve life for the people of Singapore since he challenges his government’s policies on censorship. I’m also helping Amos because this is a cause near and dear to Melissa and I want to support her and watch her succeed in her ventures.Lester Kok Mr. Lowisz, you have my best wishes. Though I’ve been blunt and deprecating in my comments over the manner Amos conducted his young life thus far, personally I do believe his life’s journey of maturation is now better cut out for him in the West — it is much harder now for him to come in from the cold to start afresh at home, though not impossible. But he was totally misadvised in the way to go about it. He would now have to contend with the Trump Administration, one that has already expressed in no sentimental terms about forthcoming shakeup on Immigration inaction — doubtless, wishy-washies will be sent packing.
1/18/17 Melissa Chen wrote: Amos wasn’t “advised” to come here on Dec 16 and he wasn’t advised at all when he made the decision to show up in Chicago. It was a surprise for everyone and a scramble on my part. I simply had no idea he was leaving or had left Singapore until I got the call from his host who was waiting at the airport when Amos arrived.
So I’m not sure where you’re getting your info from but suffice to say, it’s really not accurate.
1/19/17 Lester replied: I got the ‘advice’ scoop from the horse’s mouth: you posted the following, quote — (12/23/16) After landing at O’hare the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officer flagged him for secondary inspection where they seized his electronic devices and found text messages between Amos and me, clear evidence of us making arrangements for his bid for political asylum in the US. … The officers asked Amos if he was here to seek political asylum and with the proof in their hands, Amos was compelled to tell the truth. (12/25/16) Seeing how HRF (Human Rights Foundation) works has been eye-opening for me. I attended the San Francisco Freedom Forum in the summer (of 2016) which they organized, and worked with them on Amos Yee‘s political asylum bid. They are efficient, effective and above all, incredibly compassionate. End quote.
Having followed you for a while now, I have little reason to doubt your sincerity in championing his cause; but I shall surely reserve judgement for the rest of the coterie, mainly because I do not know them enough to form an honest opinion as yet. Perhaps someday when a book is written (which I doubt you are planning on one), we will get to see the devil in the details.
I shall reiterate my previous point here: your idealism in the above matter has caused you to open a can of worms you can’t tie up that easily. You did say (on Jan 3) in one of your responses that if things don’t work out you will be nothing loath to bear the blame. Well Missy, you are now in for a penny, in for a pound — your responsibility, moral or otherwise, for this 18-year-old does not just end on Jan 30 even if he was bonded out. It now behooves you as his ‘keeper’ to see him through thick and thin till a final resolution is reached which may take a goodish number of years.1/19/17 Melissa Chen replied: Honestly you have no idea what you’re talking about. Nobody knew that Amos was arriving on Dec 16. Not even his lawyer who wasn’t even hired till a few days later. I don’t need to explain the details to you but Amos fled Singapore by himself without even alerting me that he was leaving Singapore. I’m not sure how clear I am to make this to you.Adam Quek Are you suggesting that nobody advised Amos Yee to come to the US (which casts the evidence above of making arrangements in a very confusing light)?
Or are you saying nobody advised him to flee Singapore for the US *on Dec 16*?1/23/17Lester Kok Missy, I wonder if you have read purportedly Amos’ updated message produced somewhere on Jan.10 (since he said it was his 24th day of confinement). I did not see that on yr wall — maybe you omitted it by design for good reason. I brought this up because it is a very disturbing read pertaining to his mental health condition. If your daily or recent frequent contacts with him led you to believe that he is ‘cool, calm and collected’ in his present state (as your various posts/remarks seem to suggest), then you are looking perhaps at a person with serious multiple personality issues going by his ‘Jan.10’ ramblings. He is truly caught between a rock and a hard place now. It would be well-advised to seriously mull over yr best course of ‘sisterly‘ counsel to him.………………………………..
(Written on Jan. 10 by Amos Yee ?)
I’ve just received awful news friends, awful news.
After languishing in American jail for now a total of 24 days, according to my pro bono human rights lawyer, Sandra Grossman (who’s been doing a tireless and absolutely fantastic job on my case, by the way), she was in contact with the immigration officers and was hoping that after they heard that the nature of my case, would release me in a few days. However, that did not happen. I just got a letter that said that my court date (not release day) is scheduled for 30th January. Yes, you heard that right, fucking 30th January. What the fuck?!
That means I will literally have spent a total of 50 days in American jail, that is longer than anything that the Singaporean government has sentenced me for, for criticizing religion and the government! Someone escaped his country to prevent being sent to jail for exercising his free speech and has to spend time in jail in the country that he escaped to that is longer than if he was imprisoned for exercising his free speech from the country he was escaping! If he rescinds his political asylum claim, he is deported back to the country he is trying to escape from and gets permanently banned from coming to the US.
What the fuck? What the fuck?! This is bullshit! This is fucking bullshit! And the worst part is nobody really knows about these kinds of awful immigration policies existed in America. Fortunately, because I have a high profile case, we’re finally highlighting these wretched policies. Tens of thousands of people have already suffered from these policies and we didn’t know about it. What the hell? What the fuck? This is like the premise of some dark comedy novel. And yet, here it is, happening in real life. This needs to end. We have to speak up about this garbage. We can start by demanding my immediate release from American jail. Fuck the oppressive court date. Lawyers who have been passive slaves to the status quo would probably say that speaking against the set court date would be futile. I don’t give two fucks.
After observing these authoritarians for 2 years, the very important lesson I’ve learned is that no matter how much they make it seem like the people aren’t able to change a law or affect a judge’s decision, they do, they just want you to think they don’t in the hope that the people will think their actions are worthless so they won’t fight against the tyranny of the status quo. Friends, do not be fooled, we must stand together and fight.
We’re going to push for something that’s hard to get, we’re going to fight, and even if we fail to achieve it, we would have contributed to creating the people who will succeed in achieving it in the future. This is the positive mind set everyone should hold, and has been held by every revolutionary, good or bad in history, from Ghandi to Einstein to MLK Jr to Jesus Christ.
So please, share this post, and write your words of resistance against this oppression in the comments section below, and sign this change.org petition calling for my release. The people that may be forgotten will sow the seeds of progress that generations after will bear fruit fom. We will not stand idly by as this tyranny is inflicted upon our fellow people. Rise my fellow friends, and may the authoritarians tremble at our strengths.
1/30/17 Lester posted on Melissa Chen’s Facebook wall:
Missy wrote: Latest update: Amos Yee goes to court in two day’s time for his master calendar hearing. He shouldn’t be affected by Trump’s immigration policies as a non-brown asylum-seeker from a visa-waiver country.
1. Your above assessment is inaccurate. Each year, the President of the United States sends a proposal to the Congress for the maximum number of refugees to be admitted into the country for the upcoming fiscal year, as specified under section 207(e) (1)-(7) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (per Wikipedia). You are then badly mistaken if you assume the asylee ceiling under the Trump administration would be increased rather than the opposite — hence, in a larger sense, every asylum-seeker’s chance will be affected.
2. As for Amos’ specifics, his will be a lot clearer come tomorrow’s EOIR court hearing (via video-conferencing at his McHenry holding facility). Namely, did USCIS officials already grant him a prima facie favorable determination as relates to credible fear of persecution at home? I’ve previously offered my take why he would not even pass that very first hurdle of credible fear interview. And I stand by that because if he had passed that test, we would be hearing all about it from his attorney Sandra Grossman for obvious PR reasons.
3. So what is this MCH hearing for him tomorrow? The USCIS officers could have ‘paroled’ him earlier on OR but they didn’t, hence he is still in detention. The DOJ judge will decide tomorrow if he could be released on bond while he presses on with his very time-consuming appeals. It could be resolved in the next 6 months but if he waives his right to an ‘expedited removal’ adjudication, it could consume up to 4-5 years of interminable bureaucratic toing and froing — only 58 Immigration Courts in place to handle over 100K applications annually.
4. For his sake (and yours) I hope I am wide off the mark in my reading of his current predicament. Good luck!
………………………………………..Hide 23 RepliesLester Kok Melissa Chen I’ve made it a point never again to post on his blog since he is a total hypocrite on ‘freedom of speech’, deleting posts he deemed unsavoury to his read; he does not deserve my time and input. I am waiting for yr turn to update yr readers on yr next move.Melissa Chen Messing around with lol? He wanted to come, so he needed an intro to people who could help and I have contacts so I made it. That’s all. I have no direct involvement with this. He has a host (he made his arrangements himself), he needed a lawyer (I helped with my organization). That’s done. If all you care about is Amos’s case just follow it via the news and his public page like everyone else.
Melissa Chen Oh I’m sleeping very well please don’t worry. The kid wanted to come and I connected him with people who can make his asylum case happened. I only did what my org movements.org does at scale.Melissa Chen That we don’t have the financial luxury of him calling out from jail? It’s dollars and cents. She gets it. I’m not sure what else needs explanation. She knew Amos was coming to the US even before I did so there’s no explanation needed. She’s also 100% supportive of him and his bid.Melissa Chen Also this is not a Q&A session so I’m out of this convo. Have other things to doJeffrey GarganoI’m happy to hear that you’re finally getting some sleep, Melissa.. I sympathized with your insomnia. 🙂…………………………………………………………………
Feb. 25, 2017 Lester Kok posted on Independent.sg
Setting a precedent for ‘amosization’ (courtesy of Amos Yee and company) — an altogether becoming figure of speech is thus born…
The herp derp that is the hare-brained asylum gambit of Amos Yee does beggar imagination however you slice it … I’ve previously characterized it here as the gang that simply couldn’t shoot straight. Verily, Amos and his gang committed such monumental comedy of errors to begin with on his asylum quest; they will be hard put to live it down for the rest of their lives. Such unmitigated comedic buffoonery in the class of the 3-Stooges merits a fresh metonym for its originality per se: i.e., henceforth to ‘amosize’ an enterprise/endeavor means to render it fubar even before it has a chance to get off the ground. Amos and his gang duly deserve the dubious honor for this neologized metaphor for having shot themselves in the foot right off the gate.
Having thus far ‘amosized’ his asylum bid, what’s in store for him next this March 7? … which will probably be the day of pronouncement of his relief or deportation by Immigration Judge Samuel Cole. And now with this latest Feb. scuttlebutt circulating online over his puerile jailhouse spat with Muslim fellow inmates that resulted in his time in solitary confinement as penalty… So if anything then, his such jailhouse acting up will surely militate against his chance for even a sympathetic hearing. Above all, it is the utter misreading by Amos and his U.S. gang of intimate advisors on the legal nuances and complexity in asylum application in the era of Trumpism no less, that makes his doomed asylum enterprise so truly tragicomic. This March 7, it would be official and be as clear as day that Amos and company have embarked on a fool’s errand in the States. Any protracted attempts at the appeals process would only destine this teen to spending his 21st birthday in a tank, snubbed to his cell, endlessly commiserating in sunless pod with other alien kindred spirits (hopefully non-Muslim ones if he can find them).
As with the Singapore authority, it has cannily kept a low profile; in fact without so much as a peep from any official panjandrum at home over this asylum brouhaha. But make no mistake about the woes awaiting him once the extradition is completed back home… First things first: for his AWOL bid, the court at home will likely mete out some quod time to him — as though for him to be reminded of further insult to his already humiliating injury. (Incidentally, the local penalty for gazetted NS defaulters is a jail term of up to 3 years and/or a fine of $5K.) After which, he’ll be lateraled off to boot camp for a 2-year spine-stiffening stint in National Service. But that would indeed be camp sweet liberty for him, considering the precious amount of self-induced lost of freedom sustained in the McHenry County sterile hoosegow he once deliriously portrayed as being ‘heaven’.
Alas, it’s all part and parcel of Amos’ painful and tortuous journey of gradually becoming an adult. But I don’t see him simply mizzling into obscurity because of it. Q the contrary, I anticipate a prospective Amos reboot, a 2.0 iteration of himself if you will — hopefully by then, a chastened, humbled, more mature persona in evidence starting de novo; that however would not likely be evident anytime soon after being dealt such a thoroughgoing, ego-crushing, self-perpetuating Waterloo at home and abroad; only time will tell how well he takes his lumps.
Meantime, let me re-post here again a poem recently penned for the occasion.
Poesy! Poesy! The Rime Of Amos Yee
(Disclaimer: the following not meant as schadenfreude but a jeremiad)
There once was a cocky, precocious Amos.
By Jove, try did this teen to be infamous!
March 2015, as the nation mourned,
He was all champing at the bit to taunt;
Effing and blinding his dearie countrymen,
Mocking them as necrophiliac sycophants;
Impetuously tempted and dared fate proper
In an uptight nation of law and order.
Ergo, received 4 weeks in the pokey
For which methought was overly meany,
Thus prompted my dispatch of a Court letter.
In truth, he’s but a time-released disaster!
Hell’s bells! for no sooner was the hellion sprung
Than he took leave of the senses of his tongue.
Shall we all or shall we not forgive him so,
Who now outraged even sacred status quo.
The second verdict I concurred, was in conscience.
This time: 6 weeks, but served only half the sentence;
Spent the rest at home watching Trump’s wild election,
While he was being egged on to scheme on asylum.
Of late Jan. the waif’s bid stays in limbo,
Looking at umpteen moons of touch-and-go.
Behooves you now to be his coddlers.
But with his app now on ice till the next big test,
Shouldn’t he be due home for his army-NS?
Big-sisters-cum-keepers let’s be forthright,
Prolonging his gamble is plain not right.
For can’t you see the writing is on the wall
As he lost his marbles on his Facebook wall —
Host-vituperation was so uncalled-for;
Riding his sham grandiosity for a fall.
Expression can have dire comeuppance.
Disagree? Just ask the hapless Snowden.
Noisome hubris and being a Narcissist,
That per se is Amos’ own worst nemesis.
For borne on the night-wind of the past,
Through all of history to the very last,
Satires à la Horace/Juvenal did rule,
But profanity/blasphemy was never cool.
(By Lester Kok, Jan. 30, 2017)