restricted access Minority Voices and Dominant Structures: The Case of Amos Yee


The sacralization of the death of Singapore’s ‘founding father’, Lee Kuan Yew, and the strong unification of the community during the week of national mourning that followed gave rise to a degree of friction between the dominant response and counter-voices. During this period a teenager named Amos Yee posted a YouTube video insulting Lee Kuan Yew and Christianity, and was subsequently arrested. This article examines the reactions by Singaporeans and critics from abroad, and proffers an interpretation of the episode that goes from issues of bad parenting to state victimization. Yee is both a ‘floating signifier’—bearing different meanings to different people—and a symbol of Singapore’s progress and associated challenges. The juxtaposition of the dominant rituals and the rupture caused by Yee suggests a future where increased minority representation and alternative voices may be expected in Singapore.