Today – 30 April 2015 – as Amos Yee made his way to court, a stranger went up to him and struck him across the face.
MARUAH strongly condemns this act of violence and intimidation. This is not the way a mature and civilised society deals with opinions and opinion-makers. Prior to this confrontation, there had already been threats of violence made against Amos Yee. This recent incident suggests that such threats and actions dehumanise a person and validate acts of victimisation against him. We may disagree with the views, the approach and the stances taken by Amos Yee. But it does not give us the right to inflict violence on him.
Singaporeans of all political, social and religious persuasions need to take a stand against such victimisation. Whether we agree with what he has said or not, as a democratic society, we need to uphold the principle of respect in our daily interactions with one another. This is so even when the other party has misplaced views that hurt us. But living in a diverse community means dealing with views in a mature manner that promotes respect.
Amos Yee is a teenager. He has made his views known. The State’s laws have taken over this process and we should leave it to the State. This is so even if we disagree with the approach taken by the State.
MARUAH urges calm in dealing with dissenting opinions. There is no space for further violence and intimidation. We need to cultivate a healthy and democratic space here, as part of our value system.
Ms Braema Mathi