Amos Yee

Why I’m Back in Prison

I’ve been to prison 7 times, fought 4 different cases, and have done 4-and-a-half years in prison total in both Singapore and America. All of that, and I just reached the age of 25. I’m writing this from prison, and I’m in prison again because I violated my parole.

For those who don’t know what “parole” is: I just served 3 years in prison for exchanging nude photos with a 14-year-old (for details of that, read here), after that I’m supposed to serve another 3 years of “parole” where I’m let out of prison, but have to obey certain rules or I’ll be imprisoned again. Most parolees have restrictions like: you can only be out 12 hours a day (for me it was 8am to 8pm), you have to wear an electronic device on your knee which tracks your location, you can’t drink alcohol or smoke marijuana etc.

However, if your case like mine is a “sex offence”, as in raped or molested someone, or you have a consensual but legally not consensual relationship with someone underage, or you’re on a dating site and a 15-year-old lies about their age and you have sex with her and her parents find out and oh dang gee whizz that’s 8 years in prison (I have talked to 4 people where something like that happened), the parole restrictions for sex offenders are much worse: you have to go to sex offender class weekly, you can’t use the internet, you can’t go to places like a library or church because children are there. What the fuck?

So naturally I decided to break all the rules, I went to the library to use the internet 5-10 hours a day, I posted a blog post on the internet, I went to about 8 different churches knowing that Jesus definitely wants my attention and definitely wants me to break the law. After spending 3 years in prison, I managed to stay outside for 1 whole month before getting arrested again.

I’ll have to serve my 3 years of parole in prison, but because I’m in prison I’ll have to serve just half of that so 3 years becomes 1-and-a-half which means I’ll be out on April 24th 2025, after that I predict I’ll probably be out for about 2 years before getting arrested again (many people might probably bet the under on that).

Of course even with all the terrible parole rules, I’d still prefer to be outside (also you can just secretly get a phone to use the internet and never get caught which obviously, obviously… most people don’t do). If I just cared about myself, I’d have remained outside. But because I care about other people, I deliberately chose to get myself arrested again to protest these ridiculous rules towards sex offenders, out of a moral obligation as a Pedophile Rights’ Activist. There’s definitely a necessary relationship between going to prison and creating political change. It’s hard to find a time in history where political change occurred without political activists being sent to prison (or if you’re in a better country that doesn’t arrest you for stupid reasons, you’d probably have to be attacked or suffer deeply in some way). It’s simply not enough to speak out defending your case, you need to voluntarily suffer to show a commitment that will move people’s hearts. Gandhi did it, Martin Luther King did it. You get lots of thousands of protestors overcrowding the prisons, you have the police and anti-protestors beating up thousands of protestors, constant headlines of these atrocious acts every day, until Ted from Ohio who always stayed away from politics and seemed comfortable with his white-collar job and taking care of his kids, he suddenly goes “wow, this is terrible, I have to do something!”, then he gets himself arrested too, and soon there is so much pressure that politicians have to change laws, they would lose popular opinion and lose the elections, and voilà. This happened to Black people, it happened to gays, and it will happen to pedophiles.

I think much of my life I understood the power of voluntary imprisonment as a weapon for protest, which is why out of the 7 times I’ve been arrested, only twice I hadn’t planned for, and those were the first two imprisonments in America.

For a while I was sick of being imprisoned in Singapore for criticising the government, so I moved to America, but it seemed like God did not want me to stop going to prison. My first day in America was spent in a jail cell because I didn’t know that immigration would treat me like I’m illegally trying to cross the border and had to spend one whole year in jail fighting a court case before I was released. I repeat: I was trying to escape going to prison in Singapore by escaping to America, so America responded by putting me in jail for 1 year (as of then), which was 4 times the amount of prison time I had in Singapore (though to be fair, American jails are way, way, way better than Singapore prisons).

After finally being let out, I did not want to get arrested anymore! I just wanted a comfortable, stable life creating videos, writing and making enough money to enjoy myself. And yet, unlike most adults who had a relationship with someone underaged, I just had to get myself caught (you could say I should have taken more precautions to not get caught, but I think it’s a testament to how much I didn’t care about returning to prison that I did not take more precautions).

Looking back, this all seemed like a message from God telling me: the path you need to take is not comfortable, because the truth is never comfortable. You need to go to prison to unlock your fullest potential, to help the most people, to follow the path that I, God, want you to take. And you know what… I agree. I can see myself in the future: 2 more years in American prison for breaking a stupid sex offender registry rule, 3 years for doing it again, maybe I’ll go back to Singapore when I’m 40 years old and then it’ll be 3 years in prison for skipping the military, 2 years for conducting an illegal public protest, 2 months for chewing gum, 5 years for I don’t know something… By the end of my life I might break the world record for number of times someone has gone to prison for politics.

Now I understand, for most people reading this, this all might sound insane. But even though I’m just following whatever the best political activists in history did, if I succeed I’ll not be considered “insane” but “revolutionary”, so I’ll just go ahead and succeed. And if I fail, well… Buddhists believe in reincarnation, so whatever I’ll just try again in my next life. I will not stop going to prison until the sex offender registry is removed, the age of consent becomes 0, and pedophiles are able to freely be sexual with children, without being seen as child molesters or rapists (see my full opinions on the topic here and here).

Maybe your biggest concern is: what about those political activists who got sent to prison and are completely forgotten? Who spent 10, 20 years behind bars, came out, and having wasted much of their life are stuck with a low-paying job and eventually die in poverty and misery.

Well, whats’ the difference between those who fail and are forgotten versus those who succeed and change the world? It’s love.

Many people go into politics out of hate towards people, the government, the world. These people needlessly insult their opponents and might even get violent. Though they say they fight for a good cause, they are motivated by fear and insecurity, the traits of the devil, and eventually nobody wants to follow the devil.

But if you’re motivated by love, and you fight for political change out of a concern for humanity, to lift people out of suffering, to try not to destroy your enemy but to convert them, because you know if they continue on their path of evil it will only lead to more of their own suffering. That is using the power of love, that is becoming God himself. Far from being forgotten, you can’t look away. If you don’t care about me now, you will soon never be able to forget me.