Why David Bothers Me

As a mature Christian, I find it unsettling that after all these years, the biblical David still really irritates and annoys me, and I would daresay even outrages me.

As much as I try to put this conflict in my heart to rest, I still find it very difficult to accept that he has such a place of honor in Biblical history.

Why doesn’t Daniel (of the Lion’s Den fame) get more airtime? He was so much more committed to God, and humble and consistent overall. His testimony is so much more consistent and courageous.

I find it shocking that David committed adultery and was a murderer, yet so many people all over the world see it fit to name their sons after him. Do they know that he willfully inflicted himself on Bathsheba (a woman who just happened to be taking bath in her private estate)? Do they know that he connived to kill off her husband, Uriah, a devoted and loyal servant of his own kingship when Bathsheba told him that she was pregnant with his son, by intentionally asking his military commanders to put Uriah in the frontline?

Does it bother them that David was so unscrupulous? Or do they like the fact that he was able to transgress on such a phenomenal level and yet still be considered ”a man after God’s own heart,” be crowned King of all Israel and have almost half (73) of all of the 150 Psalms in the Bible to his own name?

I came away today from a discussion on this topic with a good friend who has a Master’s in Biblical Counselling. She said that the difference between someone like David and someone like his son, Solomon, was that his heart was turned towards Christ in repentance. Solomon evaded being honest and laying his heart bare before Christ by continually indulging in worldly things, like wine, women and song, and lots of $$$.

David returned to the Lord again and again when he realized that he had strayed.

So can I ask something else?

Where was David’s heart when he was in the midst of conniving to kill Uriah? Where was his heart when he was bedding Bathsheba? Was his commitment and relationship to Christ something that he could compartmentalize and shut-off?

What happened to his conscience?

According to Freudian psychoanalytical theory there are three components to our psyche: the ID, the Ego and the Super ID.

The ID consists of our natural instincts – aggression, sex-drive and the will-to-survive, it is concerned with immediate gratification, the ego is concerned with manipulating the material world and reality as we see it in practical and tenable ways to get the things we want, and enables us to delay gratification, (think ’the blue pill’ in the Matrix) and finally, the SuperID which is concerned with being ’good’ and meeting ideas of morality and respectability within the socio-cultural frameworks we are embedded in.

I daresay, having had a very close look at David life, he was not governed by the SuperID AT ALL. He defied social-norms again and again, refusing to let others define him or social expectations govern his actions. He boldly came forward to offer his services against Goliath, when he was deemed as a lowly and weak shepherd boy. As the crowned King of Israel, he danced in a such a spontaneous and undignified manner to the extent that he inspired contempt from his own wife. He pretended to be crazy to get out a life-and-death situation with the enemy, he worked as a mercenary for many years and killed off many innocent women and children in his line of work. The lows in his life are glossed over for the most part. But David definitely was a social deviant in many ways.

His life was rather defined by a close relationship with God – not someone he viewed as a distant and moralizing deity, but rather as a close friend, companion and provider of all of his needs. Someone that he owed his life to, but someone who would stand by him through the good, the bad and ugly.

Basically someone that he did not need to hide anything from.

Therein lies the rub.

David trusted God completely, even in those moments when he willfully chose to go against God’s will, (or when his SuperID was asleep), when he was confronted with the truth about his own actions, he was not afraid to turn back to God in repentance and truth.

For many of us, even Christians, we like to hold on to the illusion that we are ’good’ or can be ’good’ on our own terms – we try so hard to win people over, to win God over and to live respectable lives – however, trying to be ’good’ goes against the grain of true Christianity. The heart of Christianity says that we are all decidedly ’not good.’ If we were capable of being good on our own, then Christ would never have had to die, and his death on the cross would be utterly redundant.

Our conscience can rest easy because Christ died for all of our sins, past, present and future. But does that give us license to sin more? No, but it does mean that it gives us a freedom from a guilty conscience and the ability to live without a cloud of guilt and condemnation hovering over us. We can stop trying to be ’good’ and we can start living from our truest selves.

We do not have to run away from those internal voices that keep on reminding us how ’bad’ we are. Instead, we can just kindly tell those voices to leave our head. ’Get out, I don’t need you anymore’ we can say nicely to our harsh internal parents, especially if we didn’t grow up in an environment that felt supportive and understanding of our inner child.

Having said all this, I think my conclusion about David is… it was never about him, rather about how much God’s grace was poured out on his life in spite of his abysmal failures as a leader.

Sure, he had some amazing successes, but it is hard to look past the fact that he was a murderer and adulterer.

It is hard to look past his hypocrisy and pig-headedness on so many levels.

Maybe that is why people name their sons David, because it reminds them of how God’s grace was poured out again and again on David’s life because he kept turning to God in spite of all of his failings.

It is telling that the name David means ’Beloved.’

When we are willing to embrace our ‘inner David’ (Belovedness), we come closer to the heart of Christ.

We come closer to the very heart of love itself.

McLeod, S. A. (2019, September 25). Id, ego and superego. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/psyche.html

deviance (social deviance)

The Cathedral of Your Mind

What do you build in the Cathedral
Of your mind?

Garbage in, garbage out
What are you watching
These days?

What images play in your mind?
How do you like them?

Does your spirit sense
Something’s amiss
Or is it like sleeping beauty

Waiting for true love’s kiss

Do you feel like you were
Made for something more
Than just another day
Of going through the motions

Which parts of yourself
Do you sell
So you can runaway

Have you considered
That you don’t need
Anyone else

To own your own reality?

Have you realized
That it’s okay to love

Yourself well enough

To let go and ask Jesus for what you want?

Not what you think you should?

Now,

What will you build in the Cathedral of Your Mind?

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Jesus said “Unless you turn to God from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore anyone who humbles himself as this little child, is the greatest in the Kindom of Heaven. And any of you who welcomes a little child like this because you are mine, is welcoming me and caring for me.” Matthew 18:3-5

For years as a Christian I couldn’t pray truly honest prayers.

I thought I was being honest, but so many emotions were buried deep within me that I couldn’t access them and articulate them in my prayers to Jesus. A deep sense of shame and unworthiness kept me from accessing my true feelings like fear, happiness, sadness, anger, surprise and disgust that were hidden under a general sense of ‘stress and defectiveness.’

As a result, my prayers to Jesus felt wooden, empty and rote. I felt like I was going through the motions and it felt like a wall was growing between us.

As I have learned to draw near and depend fully on Jesus through this time of testing, I have learned to let go and live as a child, to get in touch with my true emotions and to accept myself unconditionally as a beloved child of my my Heavenly Father.

This means trusting that He is working all things out for me even if I don’t understand how. This means having the peace that passes all understanding even if there is a long-list of things to get done, trusting that I’ll come to each of those items as the Holy Spirit enables and empowers me. I get those things done from a spirit of rest rather than that of worry and anxiety.

This also means not depending on the approval, opinion or validation of others for a sense of internal peace and security, because all I need is God’s approval, and I already have it.

This also means listening to Him and writing down the things He’s saying to me, and also taking steps of faith to do the things He’s asking me to do day by day, even though some of these things may seem difficult and daunting to do.

I do not have a lot of courage or confidence in myself.

I never have, but with the assurance that I can come to Christ as I am, with all of my foibles and peccadillos and be completely accepted and loved, fully as I am, not as I think I OUGHT TO BE, I can find the courage to keep moving forward with honesty and integrity in spite of all the challenges and opposition I face.

In addition to this, I am encouraged to pray boldly for myself, as well as those God has put in my life.

Praise be to God for allowing me to pray freely and live in the fullness of faith!

I do not pray because God is going to necessarily do everything I pray for, but I pray because I know God’s heart is good and He has put it on my heart to pray for myself and others and, as a result I can live in simple obedience to His call on my life. There is so much joy that comes from being able to pray honestly and boldly while releasing the outcome to God’s sovereign will.

In the book of Hebrews, it is boldly stated, “Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22”

We can approach God in our prayers like little children asking honestly for the things we want. We can also tell him how we really feel about things, like if we feel hatred for someone or wish someone were dead – all these are things that David the Psalmist earnestly and openly shared with God without any shame.

Jesus meets us where we are at and wants the real us, not the ‘good’ (read ‘contrived’) us. Trust God to be big enough to handle you in all your shades and trust Him to bring you to repentance and right-mindedness even as you pour our your heart to Him. So come boldly and ASK.

Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask and it will be given to you; 

Seek and you will find;

Knock and the door will be opened to you. 

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 

Matthew 7:7-11

I love the Lord because he hears my prayers and answers them. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I breathe.

Psalm 116: 1-2

Epitaph

As if life wasn’t hard enough
You and I danced a beautiful
Dance of dysfunction

As I look back
There were all these signs
But why did I ignore them?

Was it because I was
Drawn to the fire
As a moth is drawn to
The flame?

You told me life was precious
But you didn’t know
Just how precious it was
Until you walked out on me

You sang a song of freedom
But there is no
Freedom without surrender

I’m tired of running from the pain
My love
So I’m letting you go

The story you wanted to
Write of a nuclear family
Tight and close knit
Constricts my soul,
Like a vice around my neck

Because that’s not what I was designed
For
I fought so hard for us
But now it’s ashes in the dust

Hot coals in the fire
The forgers fire
Is calling out to me

I must surrender to His call
And you must reckon with
Your creator

Broken eyes
Broken heart
Broken soul

I’ll see you again on the
Other side

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
17     no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

Isaiah 54: 16-17

Everything

Everything I am
You see it all
There’s nothing
I can hide

Nowhere I can go
Which you
Do not already know

Everything I think
You see it all
Even at my worst
You love me still

How great is your love
So deep I cannot fathom

Even when I fail
Even when I feel far from you
You are here with me
You draw near to me

You never stop knocking
You never stop seeking
You never stop asking

Your love for me
Knows no bounds
You love for me
Is deeper than I
Can ever know or understand

Your love for me
Exceeds all expectations
Your love for me
Is deep, real and
True

How I long for you
How I love you
How I need you
And adore you

This is actually a piece I wrote planning to turn into a song.

I have not put any music to it yet, but I wrote this when it struck me how there is absolutely nothing I can hide from Jesus.

He sees all of my thoughts, feelings and actions and loves me, absolutely, completely. He embraces me and sings over me.

He knows things about me that I do not even know myself. That is the deep mystery of His love for me, He knows me better than I know even myself.

I am His beloved, His creation and I am created for Him, and Him alone.

25 To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
I trust you, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame.
Do not let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who waits for you will ever be put to shame,
but all who are unfaithful will be put to shame.
Make your ways known to me, O Lord,
and teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me
because you are God, my savior.
I wait all day long for you.
Remember, O Lord, your compassionate and merciful deeds.
They have existed from eternity.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my rebellious ways.
Remember me, O Lord, in keeping with your mercy and your goodness.

The Lord is good and decent.
That is why he teaches sinners the way they should live.
He leads humble people to do what is right,
and he teaches them his way.
10 Every path of the Lord is ⌞one of⌟ mercy and truth
for those who cling to his promise [a] and written instructions.

11 For the sake of your name, O Lord,
remove my guilt, because it is great.
12 Who, then, is this person that fears the Lord?
He is the one whom the Lord will teach which path to choose.
13 He will enjoy good things in life,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord advises those who fear him.
He reveals to them the intent of his promise.

15 My eyes are always on the Lord.
He removes my feet from traps.
16 Turn to me, and have pity on me.
I am lonely and oppressed.
17 Relieve my troubled heart,
and bring me out of my distress.
18 Look at my misery and suffering,
and forgive all my sins.
19 See how my enemies have increased in number,
how they have hated me with vicious hatred!
20 Protect my life, and rescue me!
Do not let me be put to shame.
I have taken refuge in you.
21 Integrity and honesty will protect me because I wait for you.
22 Rescue Israel, O God, from all its troubles!

Scorpio Revisits The Mirror

Boxed in a living, brooding black
Hot, crackling fury enraged in the vacuum
I crave, I thirst,
I am on my knees

but

Your words break me
like
shattered glass
and the screaming hammer
against the door

A child, blithely
Bouncing, up and down
Up and down
on the mattress.
Even as the world
Crumbles and implodes in the universe of
Her heart

and

The door is marked
With the deep round imprints of unmitigated
Rage.

Give me space not
Broken nights harnessed
By the gnawing, nameless
Certainty that

Tomorrow,

I’ll see the image
Of your back
Walking out on us again

Brother, when you read the news
At the dining table, sunlight filters
Thru’ my mind

You sit quietly,
Unperturbed, in silent enjoyment
That picture fills my heart
And the noise clears my head.

I travel through the
Amazon,
a myriad maze,
My jungle book.

Those yells,
Those lusty, knowing voices that
Insist, persist on telling me
With such intense glee

“You’re Wrong
That’s your name
You’re Wrong
You’re Wrong

Wash the dishes
Clean the house
Scrub up, work hard,

Smile

Even harder,
Slam down the competition
With your grades,
if you can…

Shut your mouth
Be good… and maybe
Just maybe
Things will get better

But only
if you can
Learn how to be good,

This house of cards
Will stand maybe
If you shaped up
you sick,
fuck up,
you little piece of..”

ARE SILENCED

I stumble out
onto a vast green field

Blinded by sudden sun,
assaulted by
A fistful of daffodils
dappling the green, green grass.

I breathe in deep,
I pluck one out
And kiss its face
Something that feels like
Sheer relief
rushes in

With reservoirs of tears,
To quench the numbing ache.

Gaslighter

Over and over again
It goes
In my mind
And my thoughts
My soul

Who was he?
Who were we?

Quiet memories of
Evenings spent watching LOTR
And your favorite animes:
Full Metal Alchemist
Death Note
Naruto

I lived for these
Moments of connection
With you
Where I could catch a
Glimpse of the
Worlds in which you lived
The tropes you operated on

How many times
Did we fight
And all I ended up
Feeling was a sense
Of abject failure?

How many conversations
Did we have
As to where I felt
We were stuck in
A holding pattern?

I got zero no matter
How much
Energy I expended

How many confrontations
Were deflected
And how many promises
Undelivered

There’s a word that’s
Coming up a lot in my mind
These days:

“Gaslighter”

I lived in your reality
For so long
I thought your barbed words
Were ‘cute’
You passed off hurtful words
And actions
As ‘jokes’ even though
They formed a consistent
Pattern

Gaslighter
For nine long years
I lived with
You and endured
So much self-doubt
Shame and blame

You found me when
I was vulnerable
And twisted my reality
For yours

I kept feeling
Afraid you’d
Leave me one day

The day came

You beat me up
And said
“This is it, you fucking
Bitch, I’m getting
A divorce”

As I sat in the
Corner of the couch
In a foetal position
To protect myself
From your blows
Raining down on me

Gaslighter

I loved you

In the end
All of these affections
Ended in such
Violence

Gaslighter

I hurt you

I kept apologizing
For losing my temper
And yelling,
Being controlling,

You called me a bully.

I thought you were joking

Gaslighter
I thought I needed you

But all this while

I was running
Away from Myself

How Our Brains Trick Us

If I told you that we all are living in some kind of delusion to differing degrees at any one point in time, would you believe me?

The reality is, each one of us lives in the world of our mind and its perceptions of our personal histories, situations and events; this narrative we build in our minds encompasses stories we tell ourselves about people, and our relationships with them. We make sense of the world and the objects in them through the way we think about them; the bad news is that our minds often trick us.

Yet, Mother nature has her reasons for allowing humans to evolve the way we did. If we lived completely free of delusions, we would either want to end our lives, (just because our brains could not take the painful realities we would need to face up to) or we would be unable to survive and adapt to our environment.

Either way, let me unpack this rather intriguing concept.

Our brains are designed to be efficient, so we expend the least possible energy in making decisions. This is a practical evolution: we make many decisions every single day, so if we had to deliberate over every single decision we would be left completely incapacitated and overwhelmed.

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman states that we reason at two speeds: System 1 (fast) which relies on heuristics (or rules of thumb). You make decisions on the spur of the moment with broad strokes, relying on rules of thumb and generalities. This is a rather shallow approach to thinking, but it is the level at which we function most of the time, because it saves us time and energy and is adapted for the hectic pace of life many of us move at. However, the quality of the decisions we make are poor.

Such poor decision making affects our society in profound ways: a 2011 analysis of a thousand decisions made by eight Israeli magistrates revealed that their decisions were contingent on their blood sugar levels.

After a lunch break, or even a short recess, magistrates approved 65 percent of parole applications and gradually became less forgiving until they turned down practically everything. This pattern repeated itself following the next recess where their approval of parole applications went back up to 65 percent. This pattern of behavior was consistent throughout the course of the study. While these poor decisions may not affect those who make them, it has profound implications for the justice system in Israel, the prisoners petitioning for parole and the future of their families.

System 2 (slow) offers a more powerful, precise, and subtle, way of making sense of the world. It is capable of flights of mental gymnastics. It focuses, pauses, and proceeds at a slow pace. It burns up great amounts of energy, and takes a lot more time, but the quality of this sort of thinking is higher and much more precise, so if you are trying to make an important decision it is best to rely on System 2 thinking, even if it costs you more time and energy.

Even then, you almost never come close to pure logic and rationality. Herbert Simon, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1978, suggested that while we are rational creatures, our rationality is riddled with bias and limitations, and counterintuitively, this is precisely what has permitted us to survive as a species.

As the psychologist Jean-Francois Marmion states, “If our ancestors had assumed the pose of Rodin’s The Thinker every time they had to decide whether to flee a predator or an enemy, humanity would have become extinct a long time ago. It was necessary for System 1, however flawed, to exist.”

Another strong precursor for flawed reasoning is the drive to conform. The social psychologist Solomon Asch has demonstrated that the impulse to conformity leads us to deny our own perceptions. If you are the only one in the group who recognises that two lines are of the same length, you are likely to go with the group’s perception rather than maintain your own for the fear of appearing crazy or wrong-headed.

If you think this is a purely rational decision and that your actual perception remains unmoved, but is merely kept private, consider this same experiment that Gregory Berns, of Emory University in Atlanta, repeated using MRI scans.

He found that when the brain itself refuses to accept external evidence, the neural area that comes into play is not the specialised section that deals with cognitive conflicts, it is the part that controls spatial perception.

In other words, other people’s judgements transforms our perception of lines. The error is not merely due to superficial thinking, it literally distorts our vision.

How does this happen? It happens because of the need to resolve cognitive dissonance: the mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. Our brain is amazing, but it is also lazy, so the easiest way to resolve the difference between our perception and that of the group’s, as well as our intrinsic need to feel a sense of personal integrity i.e. that we are not liars, is for our brain to trick itself into thinking that the two lines are the not same length as everyone else is saying when in fact they are.

In case you are still not quite convinced of the veracity of this claim, I will share with you personally how I found my own brain to be full of biases in the perception of spatial relations and lines. It started last year when I took up drawing.

I was working in a motion graphic company as a Creative Project Manager and had to get hands on with a project as we were short-staffed. I decided to take it as a challenge to improve my drawing. Subsequently, I did some research on Reddit and saw that the book ‘Drawing on the Right Side of The Brain’ was highly recommended.

The author, Betty Edwards, talks about how we are often unable to draw accurately because our true perception of space, lines and the relationships between them have been hijacked by symbolic thinking, a heuristic pattern of conceptualizing the world that is shaped by words. This system comes into place when we are children as we start to acquire the basics of our native language.

Edwards posits the question, “what prevents a person from seeing things clearly enough to draw them?”

The left hemisphere has no patience with this detailed perception and says, in effect, ‘It’s a chair, I tell you. That’s enough to know. In fact, don’t bother to look at it because I have a ready made symbol for you. Here it is: add a few details if you want, but don’t bother me with this looking business’

This system of symbols comes from childhood which becomes embedded in your memory ready to be pulled out whenever you chose to draw your childhood landscape.

All of us as children have drawn some kind of landscape like this, representative of a home. The windows, roof and rectangular structure of the home are all symbols, not actual reflections of reality.”

It is this mental heuristic that dominates our thinking because words have reduced our perceptual understanding of houses to that of “rectangular structures” and windows to that of “squares with crosses on them” and roofs to “pointy triangles” – which makes sense, from a simplistic point of view, but this sort of thinking obscures the reality and form of these objects.

One of the exercises she uses to overcome this mental bias and access the right side of the brain is to turn the reference picture upside down when you draw it. This is meant to help you access the right side of the brain more easily, as the logical left side is unable to produce symbols for the upside down picture which looks altogether foreign.

Here is the reference picture:

This is the first time I drew the tiger with the reference picture right side up. As you can see there were many corrections and it was hard for the drawing process to “flow”

This is the 2nd time around I drew the tiger, but with the reference picture upside down. Drawing the tiger upside down “tricked” my logical left brain to cease and desist from ‘fixing’ the ‘problem’ of drawing and allowed my right brain – intuitive, perceiving and in tune with spatial planes and linear relationships to take over.

This time around when I drew there was a natural flow and my drawing and line work was so much more fluid and confident. I was not starting and stopping, neither was I second guessing myself. It is almost as if something took over and did the work for me. I just had to let it happen.

I believe that most of life can be lived in this state of flow. How do we get to it? That is a topic for another day.

But for today, I think it’s enough to recognize that

1) Our brains trick us into accepting false realities because of the mental heuristics it defaults to most of the time.

2) Being aware of this mental pitfall, we can in turn ‘trick’ our brain into embracing reality, so as to work with it instead of against it.

As we ponder all the ways that our brains could be tricking us, here is a little cartoon to enjoy:

Do you want to see Amos Yee convicted?

Those who want to see Amos Yee being sentenced for the ‘crime’ of plainly stating his personal opinion should ask themselves what is the kind of society they’d like to live in. Many Singaporean citizens who reacted to his video expressed much more malice and hate on social media than Amos ever did. He was violently threatened by a PAP grassroots member and physically and publicly hurt by a vengeful citizen, yet none of these individuals are being dealt with nearly as harshly as Amos. Is this just?

Thousands of Singaporean Christians, including myself have signed the petition to free Amos Yee and have stated that they are not offended, so how has he wounded Christian feelings? None of the citizens who reported him to the police for being offensive are willing to take the stand in court and testify against him. Why?

I don’t agree with what Amos says about Jesus Christ, in fact I believe that Jesus Christ is rather the opposite of LKY. Unlike LKY, Jesus Christ sought out and deliberately spent time with the ‘sinners’ and outcasts, the rejects of society. He also said the first will be last and the last will be the first. From what I gather, LKY basically said that the first will be paid obscene amounts of money, and the last shall not even be worthy of getting a minimum wage. (I am paraphrasing this of course, it’s part of his legacy that Singapore is now the most expensive city in the world and yet still does not have a minimum wage, while the Prime Minister and his ministerial entourage are drawing salaries amounting to millions of tax dollars )

But Amos is entitled to having his opinion and stating it plainly, just as I am entitled to navigating away from the video he posted if I am offended by it. I may not like the manner in which Amos stated his opinion, but I must say I admire his courage, integrity and his willingness to stand on his convictions. He was as vulgar and jarring as he was precisely because he wanted the video to go viral. He wanted us to think about about the issues he was raising.

Like the little boy who called out the emperor’s nakedness, Amos has been the only one who has dared to state what he sees plainly and publicly, without mincing his words. That is what freedom of expression is. You may not like or agree with what other people say, but that doesn’t mean that they should be fettered and thrown into jail like Amos has been. In many other democracies, most people wouldn’t be too bothered by the likes of Amos’s video, and those offended would either 1) ignore it and move on 2) engage and state their own opinions. They wouldn’t be calling out for his blood and running to the authorities to arrest him for speaking his mind. In Singapore it seems, one can be arrested for bluntly expressing one’s opinion, especially if one’s opinion runs counter to prevailing sentiment.

If we are to live in a just and free society where there is openness and accountability, we must consider why numerous other people who have made public threats against Amos and his family aren’t being similarly curtailed for their hurtful and violent statements and actions.

At the tender age of 16 years old, Amos is making us think. That’s much more than can be said of our leadership which has shackled mainstream media and silenced public dissent for years. Unlike Amos, our leadership thrives on our ignorance, apathy, and fear.

In my opinion, as much as we dislike being called idiots, we should be thanking Amos for having the guts shout the painful truth from the rooftops and not, like the intelligensia, dress it up with sophisticated froufrou, which is usually lost on most of us anyways.

Why are we Singaporeans so angry, vindictive and petty? Because we are a very unhappy lot. And why are we so unhappy? Because we subscribe to the values advocated by our leaders, and so many others in the world, that our worth depends on our income, achievements and good behavior. We try so hard to toe the lines, obeying these rules to earn a false sense of self-worth, when in fact our value is intrinsic. It is hardly surprising then, that we get outraged when a seemingly obnoxious little teenager thumbs his nose at these self-imposed rules and pronounces us stupid for subscribing to them. We angry Singaporeans have been looking for the first person to crucify, and Amos has kindly offered himself up as the sacrificial lamb.

Thankfully, Amos’s lawyers have made a water-tight case for Amos’s innocence, based on clear and simple logic. They have also backed it up with sound evidence, whereas the AGC’s retort is even worse than what you’d expect out of a primary school debate. The AGC has no witnesses or convincing evidence to prove Amos has broken the law. Anyone who has respect for truth and justice will know that if Amos gets convicted, it signals a social-malaise so deep that it corrupts our our political and judicial system, and indeed our very own minds and hearts if we allow it to.