What happens when teens on YouTube stop reacting to '90s nostalgia and start getting real? Just ask Amos Yee—well, you actually can't right now as he's been jailed over a video he uploaded to his channel.
The 16-year-old from Singapore posted a nearly 9-minute video about Lee Kuan Yew, the nation's first prime minister who served from 1959 until 1990, on March 27, four days after the politician's death. The clip's title is "Lee Kuan Yew Is Finally Dead!", so you can probably figure out how Yee feels about the man's passing.
"Lee Kuan Yew, contrary to popular belief, was a horrible person and an awful leader to our country," Yee says in the video, which has been viewed over 1 million times at present.
He goes on to offer an alternative take on what he believes the political leader's legacy should be. Yes, Yee acknowledges, Lee Kuan Yew successfully transitioned Singapore into the world power it is today. But, Yee argues, Lee Kuan Yew is equally responsible for the nation's high income inequality and poverty rates.
As of August 2014, Singapore had one of the world's highest Gini coefficients, which CNBC's Katie Holliday succinctly explains is "a measure of the income distribution of a nation's residents where zero reflects complete equality and 1 indicates complete inequality." Singapore's Gini coefficient was 0.463 in 2012 and 0.412 in 2013.
In 2013, Roy Ngerng Yi Ling reported that 26 percent of Singaporeans were living below the poverty line on his blog, The Heart Truths. He cited data taken from the National University of Singapore's Social Work Department and Singapore's Central Provident Fund Board.
"Ultimately, how do you quantify a great leader?" Yee concludes in his video. "It's by how he creates a place where people are able to live happily and prosper based on their own unique attributes, and [Lee Kuan Yew] hasn't."
The Associated Press reports that Yee was arrested after the video was posted and charged with "transmitting an obscene image" and "wounding the religious or racial feelings of any person." Yee has pleaded not guilty and a court will rule on his case Tuesday. According to the AP, Yee could be sentenced to up to three years in prison.
The Singaporean blogger has sat in jail for weeks awaiting his court date after refusing to comply with the conditions of his bail—conditions he called "ridiculous" in an April 29 blog post. Yee says that these conditions included not posting or uploading anything about his case online and daily morning check-ins at Singapore's Bedok Police Divisional Headquarters.
Amos Yee's Twitter feed, YouTube channel, Facebook page, and blog have been silent since that date.
Bad at filling out bios seeks same.