Singaporean teenage vlogger Amos Yee has said that he and Scholarism convenor Joshua Wong are completely different, to which Wong responded by saying that Yee was braver than himself. The comments came after an article on Fusion featured the pair and named them as examples of “a new generation of teen activists who are shaking up politics in Asia”.
In the Fusion article, the writer, after giving a profile of Joshua Wong and his work in Scholarism, as well as his involvement in the pro-democracy Occupy movement last year, cited Amos Yee as an example of a young activist who was not “out on the street”. The writer said that Yee “[sparked] discussions about free speech from his bedroom with a series of videos mocking the government that landed him in jail for almost two months and won attention from around the world.”
On Monday, Yee referred to the article and distinguished himself from the Occupy activist. “The report paired me up with another popular young political activist, Joshua Wong, and if you read both stories concurrently, it once again reiterates that though both of us hold the similar title of a political ‘teen activist’, as people we are completely different,” Yee said on Facebook.
“The way we speak; you can tell; is not alike… and our methods of engaging in politics are also polar opposites; proving that you can raise political awareness effectively; both protesting loudly on the streets of Hong Kong in a very large group, or by yourself; alone in a room; with a Canon EOS700D.”
Yee then asked Singaporeans not to feel sad that they could not hold riots in the country, as it was smarter and more effective to protest on the internet in the digital age.
Yee’s latest video, uploaded a week ago, is an hour-long interview in which he answered over 30 questions on a range of topics including his hair, the media, and Singapore’s National Service. Previously, he had covered issues such as the Singapore election and National Day, and once called Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew “worse than Bin Laden”.
Joshua Wong, in response, posted a screencap of Yee’s post on his own Facebook page on Tuesday, saying that “Amos Yee is braver than me. I really appreciate your commitment.”
In July, Yee was detained and remanded to the Institute of Mental Health before his conviction for hurting the feelings of Christians and posting obscene images online. He has appealed the conviction and sentence. Similarly, Wong was facing charges of obstructing a police officer after burning copies of the State Council white paper during a protest outside the China Liaison Office last June. Recently, he has announced that he is seeking to challenge Hong Kong’s minimum age requirement of 21 to run in elections, saying that he may run for the legislative elections next year should he win the case.
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