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Free Amos? Overstepping the Boundaries of Team Singapore


Hudd, S, Free Amos? Overstepping the Boundaries of Team Singapore, Journal of Applied Youth Studies, 2, (3) pp. 3-17. (2018) [Refereed Article]

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The 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence was a significant moment for Singaporeans to reflect on the achievements of their young nation, encouraging and generating a surge of nationalist sentiment. In looking back to the "Pioneer Generation", however, anxieties about whether Singaporean youth today were strong enough to "pick up the baton" and ensure the ongoing survival of the nation were also revisited. The death of Lee Kuan Yew in March 2015 was a symbol of this liminal point between past struggles to survive and a future without his leadership.

Throughout its history, Singapore’s national narrative of transformation "from third world to first" has been accompanied by strong state controls on the media and on opinions and behaviour considered disruptive to social harmony. Just four days after Lee’s death, 16-year-old Amos Yee uploaded a video on YouTube – ‘Lee Kuan Yew is finally dead!’ – drawing attention to these tensions and doing so during the ill-considered time of national mourning. Yee was jubilant that LKY had died, and his video included insults to Jesus, Lee and Margaret Thatcher. The reaction to the teenager’s subsequent arrest, court appearances and remand in detention highlights the risks in violating the set limits on socially acceptable subjects and views. This paper explores these issues of youthful protest within the complicated nationalism of an affluent but controlled society.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Singapore, youth, Lee Kuan Yew, media, social media, freedom of speech, “Asian values”, political asylum, nationalism, Amos Yee
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Cultural studies
Research Field:Asian cultural studies
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
UTAS Author:Hudd, S (Dr Sandra Hudd)
ID Code:124971
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2018-03-21
Last Modified:2019-01-11

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