Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blogger writes last minute petition to Singapore President to plead clemency for Vui Kong

From Lilyevangeline

Hello, and for all those who do not know about Mr. Yong Vui Kong, he is a 23 going on 24 year old Malaysian-Chinese young man who have been prisoned in Singapore because he was found to be carrying 47.27g of heroin. The Singapore government has sentenced him to death. Please, take the time, to watch this video which should be shared and played again and again all over the world.



This is the letter which I have just wrote to the president of Singapore and the law minister of Singapore.

Your Excellency SR Nathan and Mr Minister Honorable K Shanmugam,

RE: YONG VUI KONG AND DEATH PENALTY IN SINGAPORE

I am writing you a letter of petition in regards to Mr. Yong Vui Kong, 23, which I have just discovered on Facebook.com via FreeAlanShadrake about an hour ago. 

In 2003, I was educated in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia about Amnesty International and what it does for humans in this world. As a fifteen year old student, I was involved in volunteer work in an Amnesty International movement week project in raising awareness and carrying out presentations and speech to raise funds for human rights and freedom to Melbourne Language Centre students, teachers and staff members. I also wrote a letter in petition to plead for a case on the release of a separated immigrant parent and children in Australia to the former Australian Senate of South Australia, Her Excellency The Honorable, Amanda Eloise Vanstone, who is now the current Australian ambassador to Italy. I then received a personal signed reply on behalf of Senator Amanda Vanstone within a few weeks, and the granted release was made known to the public via report on the 18:00 Channel 9 news, Australia’s national TV broadcaster.   

In 2005, Mr. Nguyen Tuong Van, 25, who was a classmate of an acquaintance, was punished to death by your country's law. 

In 2010, Mr. Alan Shadrake, 76, was captured, for publishing a book on his views on your infamous country's law, i.e. the death penalty. Amnesty International Asia Pacific Director, Mr. Sam Zarifi, comments the following on Mr. Shadrake's case:
  • “This judgement creates a chilling effect on freedom of speech, for Singaporeans and foreigners alike,”
  • “Singapore’s criminal prosecution of Shadrake only underscores the country’s poor record of respect for freedom of expression,”
  • “Singapore is answering criticism by jailing its critics,” 
  • “Alan Shadrake’s sentence is a major step backwards for freedom of expression in Singapore.” 
  • “By penalizing Alan Shadrake, Singapore has drawn even greater global attention to its lack of respect for freedom of expression,”


I have no relations to Mr. Yong, Mr. Nguyen, or Mr. Shadrake. I have not read Mr. Shadrake's book, and believe I have no need to because my concern is not on his views but on your country's law, none other than, the death penalty itself. 

Quoting from Singabloodypore, "On 9 May, Singapore's Minister for Law, K. Shanmugam, claimed that the mandatory death penalty is a deterrent that has saved thousands of lives, according to The Straits Times. Speaking with respect to Yong's case, he said, "You save one life here, but ten other lives will be gone." 

I also quote from a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jBagQWcxhc) where Mr. Yong's lawyer said that the law minister made a public statement saying, "But if we say we let you go, what's the signal we are sending?"

The message that I am getting from cases such as the above, is that Singapore does not know how to handle drug related crimes, other than killing the one caught with more than 15g of heroin. 

I acknowledge the fact that you have a good intention in trying to warn people not to do drugs, which ruin lives. I am very proud of Singapore as a great international city and am very proud of its policemen and the army. However, don't you think this way of thinking (death penalty) resembles a terrorist's mindset? Terrorists terror people by killing those found to break their laws, in public, so that everyone in their territory will get their warning and message loud and clear on what not to do. 

I understand that it is not always a pretty world and humans are always going to make mistakes until the end of time, and you are just trying to make the best decision for the majority. My heart is broken and it goes to all who are in line of death penalty wherever they are, and I am truly disappointed and upset to say that, in this case, your best is not good enough for this human race. I humbly say this to you as one human to another, that although we may be different in our roles in this society and cannot exist without the other, please do the job in your role as a government of a nation to come up with an effective and a humane solution to your problems, and please, stop killing humans. 

Not everyone make good decisions in life, not all were born with equal strengths, and not all is a good contribution to the society. But everyone have the right to live, and everyone deserve to be spared and educated. 

My parents always taught me that no one in the classroom will raise their hands to say that they want to be a crook, or a criminal, a thief, or a murderer, a drug addict or a sex addict when teachers ask them, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" But there will always be such people in this world. 

Let us form a stronger, more intellectual society by improving citizens of the world through a higher quality of education and a higher quality of social wisdom and understanding. The amount of good people in the society cannot and should not be preserved in a stagnant way, but the amount should always be improving and moving forward in its very quality. The only way good can increase, is not by stopping evil, but by infusing and raising up intelligence, diligence and human morals, values and virtues, in the power of transforming people's lives who have been rampaged by the leaks and holes in an imperfect society that depends on an imperfect system in an imperfect world in a reality that is every so often far from being perfect, and that includes both me and you. We are never perfect, and never have been. We can only always be improving, and better than yesterday. 

Isn't this how the Singapore I know and love should also be? Majulah Singapura.

Yours sincerely,
Lily Evangelene

Did you know about the story of Mr. Nguyen Tuong Van? He was only 25 years old when Singapore took his life away for trying to carry drugs into Australia, caught while transiting in Singapore.


Please, take your time to write in just as I have. Your voice will change this world.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS TO:

His Excellency SR Nathan
Office of the President
Orchard Road, Istana
Singapore 0922
Fax: 011 65 6735 3135
Email: s_r_nathan@istana.gov.sg
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister for Law:
The Honourable K Shanmugam
Ministry of Home Affairs
New Phoenix Park
28 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore 329560
Fax: 011 65 6258 0921
Email: k_shanmugam@mlaw.gov.sg
Salutation: Dear Mr Minister

AND COPIES TO:

His Excellency Yong Guan Koh
High Commissioner for Singapore
c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tanglin
Singapore 248163
Fax: 011 65 6474-7885
E-mail: yong_guan_koh@cpf.gov.sg

Editor-in-Chief
The Straits Times
1000 Toa Payoh North
News Centre
Singapore 318994
Fax: 011 65 6319 8282
Email: stonline@sph.com.sg

As you can see, I am terribly upset. I have no more to say and all will be said in my prayers. Life is God-given, and each has a right to live. Let God be the judge. Enough said. May God have mercy on all.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

It is sad that a young life would be lost. But my sadness does not go to Yong. Not at all. Instead, my sadness goes much much more towards the many lives lost to drug abuse and trafficking.

Your appeal is conveniently one-sided and has blatantly and completely disregarded the crime that Yong and many other drug traffickers like him had committed:

1) You did not address the pain, sadness, disbelief, sense of loss, anger, despair caused by, and the thousands of lives and innocent families lost and destroyed by drugs and drug abuse.

2) You did not address the number of lives that suffered or are lost under the drug lords and their illegal operations across the world. What about the tremendous costs to societies that have to fight these drug cartels? As a human rights activist, do you feel that the money could have been better used for other purposes as you have propounded like education, etc?

3) As a human, we too have the absolute right to live in a safe, drug-free society. You have studied human rights...didn't they teach you this as a basic right? Surely, you cannot deny all humans this right. People like Yong didn't respect this basic right of ours. Period.

4) In one broad and blind stroke, you labelled those who implement the death penalty as 'terrorists'. The real terrorists are the drug lords, drug abusers. Why? They are the ones who terrorise people with their brutal and sometimes desperate practices, like killing, stealing, robbing, prostitution, basically, breaking the law, etc. You haven't seen their brutality, have you? Well, I do not see you condemning these drug lords and abusers as terrorists. Singapore has tough laws and these are good for the people and the society. We do not worry about walking barefooted on our beach and getting pricked by used 'druggie' syringes as much as we worry about it while walking on Bondi Beach.

5) You asked the Singapore Government to come up with an effective and humane solution to the drug problems. I do not see you providing any effective and humane answers to the drug problem. You can't? You don't have the solution?

Why don't you and other human rights activists appeal to the drug lords, peddlers, runners and abusers around the world to stop their menace? Why don't you tackle them as they are the root of the problem? Tough laws are not the root of the problem.

Why don't you preach to them about human rights and our basic right to a safe and drug-free society? Without drugs, do you think any society would need tough laws against drug abuse and trafficking?

Oh yes. Yong was carrying drugs into Australia, your very homeland. But fortuately for you and your fellow Aussies, he was caught in Singapore. We are doing you and your fellow Aussies a huge favour in stopping a drug menace. You should be thankful for what we did to stop him. If we didn't stop him, one of your friends, siblings, relatives, could have bought the drugs from him and suffered.

Yours faithfully,
George

Anonymous said...

Dear George,

Clearly you have no regard for the possibility that people make mistakes and that there are social factors (poverty, inability to succeed in a purportedly "meritocratic" society due to unequal resources, etc) that compel people to such desperate measures.

I am of the view that moral decisions are not so black and white, and that even the judicial system in Singapore is suspect, due to the number of agents and variables that are involved in such cases (skill of lawyers, ability to solicit skilled lawyers, chief judge involved, public sentiment, sensational reporting by newspapers).

Even the presence of such draconian measures seems to have no apparent effect on the number of people getting involved in these things.

Dear sir, social phenomena is complex. The sense of moral superiority you have displayed is typical of many other Singaporeans I have interacted with, who seem to think that they have the answers to life's complex problems, and that the seemingly "successful solutions" presented to "social problems" (like the death penalty) can and should be transplanted wholesale to other countries that operate in vastly different social conditions. I am not surprised, at all, that you should get on a moral high horse and say that Singapore is doing Australia, a sovereign and equally (if not more) developed country with her own set of rules and norms, a favour.

You unconsciously adopt the stance of a common gangster, hiding behind the bravado of a government that takes pride in "standing up" to "giants" like America (Michael Fay; see http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20104745,00.html) and now Australia. While the British have left so long ago, the Singaporean imagination cannot seem to break free from the legacy of its colonial past, when in reality, Singapore is really past the point where it has to prove itself as a capable nation.

I feel terrified living in Singapore, a place where one is presumed to be fully aware of and conscious of one's actions, which just means there is no room for error and that all error is voluntary and therefore liable for harsh punishment. There is an atmosphere of fear and tension, and people are suspicious of each other and do not feel like they can talk. We are ruled by terror, and it is here that I will agree that Singapore's judicial logic is akin to that of terrorist regimes.

You probably feel very good about yourself, with views that are in line with your government, for that is where you seem to derive your sense of power. Even I, as a university student, do not even feel safe in what is supposed to be one of the safest countries in the world. I do not feel safe to write any essays that might be deemed "subversive" for fear of ending up like Alan Shadrake - I do not even feel safe to think "subversive thoughts", and I imagine people staring into my window. Even as I write this, I am afraid the ISD will come after me. Such is the atmosphere such cold, harsh policies create. (tbc...)

Anonymous said...

(...continued)

Having traveled around the world, I can safely say that Singapore can be considered as an abnormal country. Syringes on beaches, prostitution, drugs, etc, are all common place in cities. It is how a society chooses to deal with such problems that defines it. The absence (or rather, invisibility) of things like homeless people, drug abusers, and prostitution, is just a successful effort on the part of the government to preserve its image, all in hopes of getting more foreign investments, crowding out hardworking locals. It is no surprise that locals thus look for alternative means to tackle overcrowding and a standard of living rising beyond their means.

I am just saying that there are more pieces to the puzzle than you seem to think there are. What we need is not harsher punishment, but more tolerance and understanding among each other, between government and people. The world's most modern and developed countries are also the world's most tolerant, and liberal ones.

Australia is one of them.

One wonders how long Singapore can carry on with such “sustainable” policies...

Peace and love,
ScaredSingaporeanCitizen

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Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,
I do agree with George.The very few
bent on criminal intent ( and the drugs selling is the prime source of
evil ) backed by the equally tiny,but
highly vocal handful of the so called
champions of "human rights" jointly
hijack the smelly system,which they
love to call "democracy" and which is nothing,but hypocrisy...For if we the majority can not decide on
what we want ( and VAST majority of
constituents in Australia and in
England favours the common sense,
eye for an eye solution to crime ),
little wonder,that in Australia crime is like a run away train.In
absence of powerful deterrent such
as death penalty criminal element in Australia gets bolder and we the
vast majority of the decent people
pay the price for the MADNESS of
the judiciary,the politicians and
the big business,which supports them.And all under the banner of
"democracy".And I noticed,that the
situation in Australia in crime
terms gets worse.The so called sta-
tistics,which they release from time to time are cooked,as much of
crime goes unreported.You dwell in
your litany extensively on the pli-
ght of crims,but what about their
victims,who are left to lick their
wounds on their own.Is it fair ?
But do you know who is to blame ?
The answer is the SATANIC system
made up of the snake charmers at
the top,who tell us,the confused
constituents,that the system is
"democracy".But it is HYPOCRISY.I
do agree with the tough,but reflecting
the wishes of the majority,legal
system in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

dear lily,
I do agree with george.After all vast
majority of people in Australia fa-
vaours the death penalty.And surely
we are sick of satanic leniency,which
those at the top impose on us.And all
under the banner of "democracy",which
in practice is nothing but HYPOCRACY.
You shed crocodile tears on criminals,but what about their vic-
tims,who are left alone to suffer.

Lawyers in Singapore said...

we are really sad when we heard about this but in case of drug abuse and trafficking we can't do something.