Friday, 22 May 2015

The Passing of A Great Kuan

Even in democracies, there are often politicians who are greater than the normal run of the mill. Some such as Winston Churchill are recalled for one specific moment in time, on which their colossus status is secured. Others such as Margaret Thatcher and Indira Ghandi, are recalled for their sheer ability to win elections, and provoked as much controversy after they died, as they did when they were alive.

One politician managed to span both role of national icon and controversial elected leader .... The great Kuan .... well actually Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, the passing of whom on the 23rd  of March this year provoked the same sort of responses as Mrs Thatcher did in the UK .... but of course he was also the nations founder and great helmsman, so had a measure of sainthood that Mrs Thatcher never had. Though, like all these politicians mentioned they both got similar funerals.

Mr Lee's State Funeral With Vast Crowds

This has led to the arrest of a 16-year-old boy called Amos Yee on serious criminal charges of 'wounding religious feelings, harassment and posting obscenities' ..... all in his post death Internet video, entitled 'Lee Kuan Yew is Finally Dead!' ..... why the wounding religious feelings charge I hear you ask. Surely Mr Lee was not deified on death? Well no, Mr Yee also took time out to like Mr Lee to Jesus Christ, and then criticised Christians in general.

Just to complete the comparison with Mrs Thatcher he also later posted a crude cartoon depicting Lee having sex with Margaret Thatcher.

This rather stupid boy has received on-line insults and death threats and in other cultures (and one can't help but think of Islamic states), he would be a dead man walking. However in a strange testament to the democratic state that Me Lee built in his decades in office, many lawyers offered to act as his defence lawyers and strangers raised money to post his bail. A local humorist even started a campaign calling for leniency with a blog post titled 'Je Suis Amos'. 

Mr Yee Has Some Supporters .... Well Sort Of.

Oddly despite this, Mr Yee has shown little contrition and hasn't apologised or done the decent thing (by Singapore standards) and exiled himself. This brazenness has attracted much attention in a society where conformity is the norm.

Strangely he has also felt the force of the other side of the Lee legacy when he has been physically assaulted with a slap around the face by a stranger, who said that he only slapped Yee because as an elder, he wanted to 'teach him a lesson' ... corporal punishment for teen offenders was a part of Mr Lee's recipe for law and order.

Many were divided as to the rightness of this assault but its interesting to note that this whole controversy has only arisen because Mr Yee dared to insult the passing of a great one.


  1. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I suspect that this guy has some unresolved issues, not all related to Mr. Kuan.

    1. Well if it was the UK, his defence would be 'asperger's syndrome' .... does the trick every time.


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