Why Overturning Amos Yee’s Asylum Ruling Is A Life-And-Death Matter

(Posted as a response to Kirsten Han’s Facebook thread attached below March 31, 2017)

Ma’am, you are being unrealistic in your assessment of the situation — I could have used a more impactful word here but picked ‘unrealistic’ in deference to the host. Assuming everything you said is accurate, true and on point, do you really expect the government in question to just roll over and play dead when its reputation, honor and dignity are at stake? In the hard-boiled world of politics, you have just begun seeing the wheels within wheels turning; no effort will be spared and no stone left unturned to see to it the U.S. ruling for his asylum be vacated.


March 31, Kirsten Han facebooked the following…

I don’t really care whether you’re in favour of Amos Yee getting asylum in the US or not, but the discussion in Singapore doesn’t seem to really be about what the US court said – no thanks in large part to statements from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Law Society of Singapore and the Association of Criminal Lawyers Singapore, all of whom seemed to eschew engaging with Judge Samuel B. Cole’s decision in favour of framing their own narratives about hate speech and making jabs at the US.

Here are a couple of things to note:

The immigration judge made no ruling on whether what Amos said was hate speech. That was not what the hearing was about. The hearing was to determine whether Amos had been politically persecuted, and whether there was reason to fear returning to Singapore. And after hearing the evidence, the judge decided that – whether what was said was hate speech or not; again he made NO RULING on this point – the prosecution of Amos on the grounds of wounding religious feelings and distributing obscene images was a pretext, and that the real trigger for the state’s reaction was his political critique. Judge Cole lays out eight reasons for why he arrived at this conclusion.

In their statements, the Singapore government and lawyers all took the “well if you want the brat take lor” stance. This has allowed them to paint the US as strange enablers of hate speech. But at the most basic level this is inaccurate because the Department of Homeland Security ARGUED AGAINST Amos getting asylum. In fact, Amos is still sitting in detention right now because it appears as if the Department of Homeland Security is going to appeal the decision. From the US government point of view, they don’t want him, although we don’t know if it’s because of hate speech – again, NO RULING OR DISCUSSION of this in the US – or just because the Trump administration hates immigrants and refugees anyway, or some other reason.

You can agree with the US court or not. But when we mischaracterise the proceedings, our discussions go off on tangents that don’t actually engage with what’s happened. It seems as if the Singapore establishment is banking on the fact that most Singaporeans won’t read the court decision, and so they’re free to frame the narrative in a way that suits their case better.

I’ve attached Judge Samuel B. Cole’s judgment here. It’s been redacted to protect the identity of one of the witnesses (I don’t know who it is either), but apart from that it’s not very long and written in pretty simple language that laymen can follow. Give it a read. (Her attachment is truncated here; a weblink instead is provided below)



March 26, 2017 or thereabouts…

  • Avatar

    To cut to the chase, if PAP hadn’t prosecuted Amos, this would not have blown out of proportion… Less one chance for foreigners to pick on SG and or laugh at our stupidity to take WA Amos so seriously…

    If those who filed the report and government would have left him alone, SG won’t be a mockery on international forefront… So many glaring examples of our leaders making mistakes that affect the entire of SG including reputation and you don’t go after these people but choose to spend time going after a 乳臭未干 teenager? Lolxxx


    Cher Ling, you are half right about not throwing the book at him in the first place. But that would only be a band-aid approach to the problem (as American jargon goes). Looking at it now with hindsight, Amos would sooner or later run afoul of the law because he was/is going thru a transitional phase of fearless exploration aided and abetted by the excesses of influence from the Net. What I objected to was the uncalled-for jail sentence on first-time, non-violent, juvenile miscreant. I would not be surprised to see a law named after him someday; thanks to him, the gov. has learnt much from it. But his trouble is far from over as I’ll be posting an article soon on why his asylum victory is short-lived… you will read that here.

March 26, 2017 or thereabouts…

Come on, be serious. Amos’s (asylum) victory is hardly a molecule in the vast ocean of demerit that is PM Lee’s tenure.


Pik, you can’t be more mistaken on this count … to characterize it as a ‘molecule’ of a blemish on the gov. This news isn’t some hangnail of sorts to them; if they lose this fight, it will stick like a wart to their forehead for eternity. PM Lee will double down and order his troops to go to the mat on it; Embassy in Wash. will be in full battle order … just you watch.

April 26, 2017

Pik, those who wanted to bet against my prediction (of an appeal against his asylum) — this one guy you know who in particular, bluffing with his 500 smackers — I would have eaten their lunch with today’s update on the appeal:-) Stay tuned for my A Private Conversation with Amos, Part 2 sequel…

April 26, 2017


CherLing, feeling fully vindicated by today’s news (of the appeal against Amos’ asylum) … now they know I ain’t kidding with my predictive analysis:-) BTW, I shall hereby seek in advance yr permission to use yr earlier Mandarin descriptive idiom of Amos as a ‘babe in the woods’ for my planned future follow-up article on him.

  • Lol 😛 It actually means young, naive and inexperienced in a rather demeaning way…. or in english it’s coined as “wet behind the ears”… It’s not “babe in the woods” per se… 😉


    Thanks for the correction…whatever the proper idiomatic translation, it’s music to my ears … thanks CherLing.



    Imo amos should be given asylum but i also want to see him suffer. Imagine his dismay if he is sent back. He will be depressed . Imagine amos serving ns and doing all the shit jobs…lolz.

    FRESH, thanks for yr comment. ‘amos should be given asylum…’, but according to whom? Donald Trump? There are some 250 IJs (Immigration Judges), Judge Cole is about as liberal as they come; Amos did luck out on that one but he can’t be batting one thousand again as he is now squared up against the house. As for his future ‘depression’ — you should read my earlier post re the 5 Grief Stages of Amos — it is all part of the process of his maturation, unfortunately.


April 15, 2017

i will take you on. Just $500 only. Amos will be granted American citizenship. By the way Amos is not appealing why should he?

  • Nathan, you got it wrong here. First, TOC would not countenance monetary betting on its site. Second, my proposed wager on a cyberspace bulletin board as such is predicated on ‘word of honor’ not money — if I win, the loser will cease to have anything positive to say about Amos forever, and vice versa, i.e., I shall cease my critique of him forever. Separately, if we were friends in person, I would have gladly taken you on privately — though I would hate to eat your lunch.

    So, if you are game to wager with me on yr word of honor in cyberspace, I shall lay out the terms of the ‘bet’ for it to be ‘official’.


    maybe toc would even act as a referee to hold the money in trust for the winner to collect. if $500 is peanuts to you, we can always up the wager. get serious, friend or no friend as long as event don’t turn up the way you claim when the time for Amos is up then you lose and I wil. I understand if it is against your principle to gamble on such things. Any of your friends can take up where you left off. Swee boh, I put it this way?


    I’ve already stated very clearly my position on the matter, and this WILL be my last post on the subject here, not worth taking space on TOC’s server. Unless you can get TOC official(s) as you suggested to contact me personally via my Facebook to referee the private monetary bet, I consider your offer to be a hoax.

(From Mothership thread on Amos’ suicide watch, Apr. 27, 2017)
April 28, 2017
Nathan Chen wrote: The DHS’s appeal is a no brainer. The Trump’s administration will appeal every single successful asylum case. Whether Amos gets to stay in USA only time will tell not your guesstimates or mine. but I am ready to put $500/ where my mouth is Amos will get to stay in America. How about you putting $500/ where your mouth is Amos will failed to get asylum just because of an appeal from the DHS.

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