Nuance needed to deal with youth like Yee: SDP

Nuance needed to deal with youth like Yee: SDP
Teen blogger Amos Yee (right) arriving at the State Courts building on April 17.

The Government should show more nuance in dealing with individuals like blogger Amos Yee, 16, instead of just prosecuting them, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has said.

In a statement on the teenager, who is facing charges of insulting Christianity in a homemade video and posting an obscene image online, SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan said Yee's video "was offensive and ill-advised".

But he added that far from being a hardened criminal, Yee "is still a child who needs guidance".

"In the bigger picture, how we deal with youths like Amos - and there is a rapidly growing number among the younger generation who are frustrated with the current political system - will determine how we progress as a nation," said Dr Chee.

"If all we are intent on is to shut our youths up by prosecuting and imprisoning them, then we are creating a dangerous situation for ourselves. We will rue the missed opportunity to bring them into public process and harness their intellect and exuberance if we hope to progress."

Dr Chee added that the Christians in the SDP are not offended by Yee's remarks on Christianity, nor do they wish to see the teenager prosecuted for his views.

Dr Chee also criticised news reports that, he said, suggested it was the SDP who had influenced Yee to make the profanity-laced video. The media reported last week on court documents in which Yee stated that a dinner with SDP members in March was among the factors that had helped him conceptualise the video.

Yee pleaded not guilty to the two charges he is facing. A verdict is expected today.

ziliang@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 12, 2015.
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