The VICE Channels

      'Come at Me, Motherfucker': Singapore Arrests Teen for Video Insulting the Late Lee Kuan Yew

      'Come at Me, Motherfucker': Singapore Arrests Teen for Video Insulting the Late Lee Kuan Yew 'Come at Me, Motherfucker': Singapore Arrests Teen for Video Insulting the Late Lee Kuan Yew 'Come at Me, Motherfucker': Singapore Arrests Teen for Video Insulting the Late Lee Kuan Yew
      Screenshot via YouTube

      Politics

      'Come at Me, Motherfucker': Singapore Arrests Teen for Video Insulting the Late Lee Kuan Yew

      By Liz Fields

      Last week, as Singaporeans mourned the death of their country's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, an audacious youngster went against the grain by releasing an expletive-laced video blasting the deceased leader — and quickly found himself in hot water.

      "Why hasn't anyone said, 'Fuck yeah, the guy is dead!' " asks 16-year-old Amos Yee in the video. "Because everyone is scared. Everyone is afraid that if they say something like that, they might get into trouble."

      "But I'm not afraid," he continues. "So if Lee Hsien Loong" — Lee Kuan Yew's elder son and the country's current prime minister — "wishes to sue me, I will oblige to dance with him. Come at me, motherfucker."

      Authorities detained Yee on Sunday shortly after Lee's elaborate state funeral, which was attended by foreign dignitaries from around the world and more than 100,000 people. In one of the video's more colorful lines, Yee complains that "all day you see 24-hour news coverage of necrophiliacs sucking Lee Kuan Yew's dick."

      The eight-minute video, titled "Lee Kuan Yew Is Finally Dead," was made private on YouTube, but others have since re-posted it and it has been viewed tens of thousands of times.

      Yee appeared in court on Tuesday facing three charges: "deliberate intention of wounding the religious or racial feelings of any person"; circulating obscene material; and "threatening, abusive or insulting communication."

      The video briefly compares Lee to various dictators who flash across the screen — Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler — before Yee likens him unfavorably to Jesus Christ: "They are both power hungry and malicious but deceive others into thinking that they are compassionate and kind."

      The police noted that they had "received more than 20 reports regarding an online video that contained, in part, insensitive and disparaging remarks against Christians."

      "Police take a stern view of acts that could threaten religious harmony in Singapore," the authorities said in a statement. "Any person who uploads offensive content online with deliberate intention of wounding the religious or racial feelings of any person will be firmly dealt with in accordance with the law."

      Yee's father apologized to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for the video outside of the courtroom on Tuesday.

      "Lee Kuan Yew, contrary to popular belief, was a horrible person and an awful leader to our country," Yee says in the video. "He was a dictator but managed to fool most of the world to think he was democratic."

      Lee is credited with bringing prosperity to the tiny Southeast Asian island nation during his 31 years in power, but has also been criticized for cracking down on political opposition within Singapore and restrictions on freedom of speech. Some human rights activists view its political system, dominated by Lee's People's Action Party, as fostering social control for the sake of stability and security at the expense of civil liberty.

      Though he is a teenager, Yee will be tried as an adult. If found guilty of circulating obscene content, could face a fine of $5,000 and up to three months in prison, or both. A judge released the boy on S$20,000 ($14,500) bail and ordered him to refrain from posting to social media during the case.

      The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement in support on Yee on Tuesday, saying, "The arrest of a young blogger for comments made in a video highlights the restrictive environment in which Singaporean journalists are forced to work."

      Follow Liz Fields on Twitter: @lianzifields

      Topics: lee kuan yew, singapore, leader, laws, video, blog, asia & pacific, lee hsien loong, politics, amos yee, human rights, civil liberties, people's action party, teenager, youtube

      Comments

      comments powered by Disqus

      In The News

      More News

      Features