Appealing for a Compassionate Singapore
August 24, 2011
Dear Presidential Election candidates,
We are the family members of death convict Yong Vui Kong. We are writing this letter to you because you may be the face representing all Singaporeans as the president.
We are extremely guilty and sorry that Vui Kong has harmed Singaporeans for being tricked into drug trafficking. After embracing Buddhism in jail, Vui Kong has since repented. He has vowed to dedicate the rest of his life to counseling prisoners and educating the public about the perils of drug trafficking. He wants to contribute to Singapore’s battle against drug trafficking as his redemption.
The pious Vui Kong sees death penalty as his karma and is not afraid of dying. He however cannot let go of our mother who has suffered depression for years.
We however don’t have the wisdom as Vui Kong does. We are just normal human beings. We cannot see our loved one walking to the gallows in calmness. We want him to live. Every morning, we are grateful that Vui Kong is alive for another day. However, every day, we are also worried that he may just leave us the next day.
Dear PE candidate, like you and all the Singaporean, we hope our loved ones can live in a peaceful and happy life for as many years as possible. Vui Kong’s wrong could have harm the loved ones of many Singaporeans.
If executing him can best protect the loved ones of every Singaporean, we will not dare pleading to you and Singaporeans to forgive and pardon Vui Kong. However, the execution of so many drug mules before Vui Kong did not prevent him from doing the same. He simply did not know that trafficking drug could cost him his own life.
Executing Vui Kong may deter some people who already know of death sentence as the mandatory punishment for drug trafficking. However, Vui Kong living to tell his life lesson and regrets can educate more who are ignorant of the consequences. Commuting Vui Kong’s death sentence is not letting him go scot free. He will have to spend the rest of his life being barred, deprived of freedom while his peers pursue their life dreams.
Will lifelong imprisonment be an incentive for people to commit crime? Will people not learn from a young man who has to grow old in prison and tell his regrets day in day out? Vui Kong’s vow to live a new life has moved more than 110,000 in Malaysia and Singapore. Why are we so adamant that he cant touch more lives and save them from the peril that destroys his own?
Dear PE candidate, some people says Singapore’s achievement and prosperity are built on an un-compromised upholding of laws and rules. We fully appreciate Singapore’s success and fully respect Singapore’s sovereignty.
But let us say this out loud: executing a fully repentant person is not about protecting Singaporeans from the peril of drugs. It’s all about asserting authority. It’s all about telling the world that Singapore’s law will not bend to the extent the constitutionally-enshrined right of seeking pardon is effectively non-existent.
Dear PE candidate, such Singapore will be feared but not loved.
Such Singapore protects elites with good up-bringing, but denies the unfortunate subalterns hope.
Such Singapore may triumph in the race of Globalisation but will also land the losers in such race in despair.
Such Singapore does not allow you to make mistake.
Such Singapore cannot afford the luxury of giving an unfortunate life a second chance.
Such Singapore smiles with the winners but shies away from the losers.
Dear PE candidate, the Singapore that will execute Vui Kong is an efficient but cruel Singapore, perfecting Social Darwinism. We hope you represent another Singapore – a Singapore that is both wealthy and compassionate. We hope you will pardon Vui Kong if you are elected as the President.
A wealthy but compassionate Singapore will give Vui Kong, who was driven to drug trafficking by lack of education and love but who now does everything he can to prevent others from making the same mistake, a second chance. The same second chance that ordinary Singaporeans who lose out and err in competition need and deserve.
Vui Kong is embodiment of both human imperfection and the hope that we can improve.
Dear PE candidate, if you are elected as the President，please don’t execute this humanly hope with your signature.
The families of Yong Vui Kong