*This article is focusing on the notion of free speech in regards to issues of race and religion.
# Example 1 – Amos Yee
Picture: Anyhow Hantam
To directly quote some of Amos Yee online opinions that he had expressed about “organised religions”:
an advocate of logic such as myself,. I hate all organised religions, christians are cunts, buddhists are delusional, taoists are just plain stupid and islam is absolutely fucking horrible..And of course not all islamics are extremists like isis (though I don’t think I ever implied that)..I would like to make a blog post or video condemning islam..thankfully there are many such videos already.. provides a succinct enough argument to prove that islam is retarded
..Don’t ever be afraid of criticising stupidity, especially if it concerns islam and they threaten violence on you if you do, such people should be viciously condemned...So calvin cheng sucks, pap sucks, and now so does islam, and really every other religion, and they should all be vehemently mocked to prevent stupidity from spreading, and society can improve.
– Amos Yee facebook page (28 Nov 2015)
Child-fucking allah would be very displeased. What in the world is a ‘moderate muslim’? A fucking hypocrite. The truth..what isis has been doing and what these ‘moderate muslims’ considers ‘extremist interpretation of the theology’, is what muslims should be doing if they claim they follow the koran.
All these ‘non-extreme’ religious people who fap to their holy book but aren’t liable for a murder charge, have to deal with so many contradictions, lying to both other people and themselves every day to feebly preserve their delusion. It must be really hard isn’t it?
.. I condemned your disgusting beliefs and viciously explained how everything you have lived for is utter bullshit. You should get depression and cry yourself to sleep…Therefore, screw hypocrisy, jesus christ and allah did not exist, fuck you christians and fuck you sand-loving muslims.
– THE BANNED ANTI-ISLAM FACEBOOK POST BY AMOS YEE (Dec 17 2015)
# Example 2: Lee Kuan Yew
Even Lee kuan Yew himself had previously expressed his opinion on religion (Islam) in his book – Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going.
|What MM Lee said in the book:||What PM Lee said on Jan 30 2011:|
|.. I do not want to offend the Muslim community… I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came, and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration – friends, inter-marriages and so on – than Muslims… I would say, today, we can integrate all religions and races, except Islam.”
When asked what Muslims could do to integrate, he said: “Be less strict on Islamic observances and say, ‘Okay, I’ll eat with you’.”
|“Muslims are a valued and respected community, who have done a good deal to strengthen our harmony and social cohesion...
“Singapore Muslims have been conscious of this and have made that special effort to try and bridge the links between them and the other communities.”
Since the book was published, reactions from some Muslim groups were negative. Some said his remarks were unfounded while others called for him to apologise.
Lee Kuan Yew had a change in perspective later – “I made this one comment on the Muslims integrating with other communities probably two or three years ago. Ministers and MPs, both Malay and non-Malay, have since told me that Singapore Malays have indeed made special efforts to integrate with the other communities, especially since 9/11, and that my call is out of date.”
Quoted directly from the article – MM Lee: “I stand corrected” (AsiaOne, March 8 2011)
Under our Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act, the Minister may make a restraining order against ..any other person who is in a position of authority in any religious group or institution who “causes feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility between different religious groups”
Should have Lee Kuan Yew been given a restraining order back then? As he was not only an influential political figure, but his speech could also have possibly “caused feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility between different religious groups”.
Amos Yee’s purpose of his viral online sagas
If we could read beyond his critique towards religions at face value, and see that Amos Yee was just trying to bring across his opinion – e.g. criticism, validity and contradiction he felt in regards to the religion.
If any of us are offended by the way he expresses out his opinions, it’s understandable because the society we are living in has naturally shaped us to feel and respond aversely to such a “radical” form of expression, as we’ve never been exposed to it before.
However, if we’re offended by his questioning of the religion’s loopholes itself; then that is something we have to go back, re-evaluate, and reflect why we feel so strongly against it, when some of his points are not necessarily entirely invalid or illogical.
F*** Islam, Allah did not exist. (*Quoted from Amos Yee)
If I were to repeat it:
F*** Atheism, God did exist.
F*** Christianity, Jesus did not exist.
F*** Hinduism, their deities did not exist.
All these stated above are basically opinions about religion.
E.g. I’m a believer of religion X, and Amos Yee tells me the following:
“You’re a cunt-delusional-plain stupid-horrible-retarded X believer”.
“F*** what you believe, what you say is utter nonsense and sucks.”
“I condemned you for your disgusting beliefs, how everything you lived for is utter bullshit, you should get depression and cry myself to sleep.”
“You’re contradictory. You’re Your child-fucking X God will be displeased.”
This is how I should respond as a sensible and matured adult:
F*** you too Amos Yee. Go get a life. You be going to Hell anyway after you die, so enjoy your present life on earth, while I’ll be laughing at you down from paradise.
And I’ll move on with life, and so should the whole of Singapore. There is no need to be petty, waste your time calling up the police over a online comment, just to arrest a 16 year old kid so that the authorities can deal with him ethically by putting him in IMH to shut him up.
I do not think legal action is necessary to arrest a person who expresses his opinion, or question- religion and their followers, unless the individual verbally or physically encourages or incites any form of violence towards others from different pluralistic communities.
So NO. I wouldn’t have called up the police for them to arrest and charge either Amos Yee or Lee Kuan Yew for their comments.
Picture: The Straits Times
Quoted from my older article: AMOS YEE’S ISSUE WITH “CLOSE-MINDED CHINESE PIECES OF SHIT
As much as many of us frown upon Amos Yee’s and his actions, he has the right to his own opinion, just like we have the right to ours. If we really hate what he says or believes in, in regards to his sexuality/language/political /religious views:
- We can choose to ignore it instead of making a media circus and giving him the spotlight, since he intentionally wants to offend and aggravate some of us
- Think of the possible reasons why he say what he says or do what he do, and reflect maturely on the validity to what he says
- Disagree but respect that he is entitled to his own opinion
- Have a constructive debate
You can use a law to curb freedom of speech and expression, but you cannot curb a person’s opinion. Singaporeans should learn to maturely express their view towards the government or religion, so that the next generation can follow suit. Constructive critique towards a religion or what the government is not something bad. Thus, we should build up on how to enhance that form of expression, so that people in society can grow up in regards to how to maturely take in, respond, and engage in diverse opinions.
Picture: We heart it
It does not matter whether we are an atheist, free thinker, or a believer of a particular religion. We are all entitled to express out our beliefs, and carry out our respective customs as long as we do not verbally or physically encourage, or incite violence to others from different communities.
Shouldn’t our diverse opinions on life be respected regardless of what life beliefs we have or what religion we come from? We do not have to accept or agree to each other views, but I believe no religion, god or views towards life are better, higher or more true than another. If we can choose to embrace and see pass our differences rather than deem our religious beliefs as the most “authentic” or “legitimate” one, wouldn’t that make the world be a better place? A diverse respect for all forms of beliefs or attitudes. We are after all, made in the same form and from the one same race of human species.
Quoted from my older article – One United Religion
Picture: Huffington Post
The outlet of free speech is not an entitled right for immatured citizens
However then again, for the notion of free speech to to work effectively without “screwing with” our pluralistic society’s progress and harmony, we need citizens
1) Who have the capacity to maturely take in, reflect, analyze, react and respond to diverse opinions – be it bullshit or valid opinions / points instead of getting emotionally affected, and calling up the police
2) Who are able to share constructive, logic and valid opinions or points regardless of the way they express it out
3) Do not abuse the right to freedom of expression for personal agendas e.g. politics, supremacism and discrimination towards other communities, which could, or aim to break apart racial and religious ties.
4) To no longer perceive RACE & RELIGION as categories to differentiate out citizens, but instead, view them as diversity to bond, learn, and deepen our understanding and depth towards the rich human race and culture.
In regards to point 1) – The way we as adults or parents respond to a kid’s comment (Amos Yee) by asking him to be paid to get “raped” in prison, or spouting sh** at him e.g. serve him right to be slapped by a stranger or even worse, to be put in IMH caused he deserved it; really shows the maturity and principle level we are at as of now, and how our next generation of kids will grow up to become.
Scary isn’t it? When we as adults don’t realise the ironic ideological-rooted monsters we’ve become because of how our country’s social, legal, media, and educational landscape have blindly indoctrinated us to turn aggressive and aversive towards from any form of alternative opinions.
We can’t be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can’t be controlled. And it means that no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them.” ― Divergent
And what is even more terrifying is us breeding kids who will end up reflecting our very same “moral” mirrors too.
Free speech WILL NOT lead to racial and religious riots in our pluralistic nation?
Racial / religious – related misunderstandings, tensions and disputes built up over the decades which finally results in riots are not far-fetched ideas that are impossible to occur because
1) It happened before in Singapore
2) It happens around the world even as I’m writing this
3) Fights do occur on a micro-level between family members, your own friends, students, gangs, pub fights, or even strangers. What more not to say on a bigger scale where your emotional attachment, blood ties, and identity association are put to the test or even worse, when you have no choice but to fight and defend your side plainly because you physically belong to that community, and it reaches to the point where anyone not of your “own kind” are expected to be inflicted with harm. So, you’ll slowly end up fighting solely for your own survival, regardless if it’s to defend your community likewise.
It might not be happening now, but who knows? There is a possibility that it might happen in our future
dystopian world. That’s the brutal reality, isn’t it? That history always repeats itself at different parts of the world at different decades.
How far can the notion of free speech be then applied or explored to pluralistic Singapore in the future in the context or race and religion? Or maybe.. the way our country has indoctrinated our mindsets’ prevent’s us from even doing so?
Because if citizen’s don’t learn how to mature in terms of understanding the concept of freedom of expression and free speech, it’s essence and purpose, how it functions and works, as well as how it should be applied by the general population for the benefit of society, we can’t really grow and progress as a pluralistic nation.
If the government doesn’t want to educate us on this aspect, we can learn to educate ourselves.
Knowledge and awareness is the first step to change. And our younger generation can then continue on this change from us, with regards to being more opened towards exposure and responding to broader perspectives, alternative opinions, and to also move beyond racial and religious tolerance, towards racial diversity and religious pluralism in our little red dot.
Older articles list to check out where free speech was a topic broached on:
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Main Picture: Telegraph
Article for reading: 1994 – 2015: A Chronology of Authoritarian Rule in Singapore