When I was in Form 5, I was part of a 3-girl debating team. One of the standard topics was 'Should The Death Penalty Be Abolished?' I was always against the death penalty. But now I'm not sure. Some of the murders and horrific cruelty that humans inflict on others make me think that there are people who deserve to be hanged. My stint in the debate team? It was short-lived; we lost the semis to a Form 4 team. Enough to turn me away from wanting to be a lawyer.
But this is not about me at 17. This is about a boy who was 18 when he was caught 4 years ago in Singapore with 47 gm (about 1 tablespoonful) of heroin, hard drug. The punishment is death, to be carried out anytime after 26th August 2010.
As I read his story, I struggled to keep my emotions. Vui Kong was raised by a single mother in poverty. His mom became depressive and Vui Kong left school after Primary 4 (grade 4) to work. He said that he wanted the money for his mom's medical expenses. This is not a hard-core drug runner. He had a hard life. He was 18, young and misguided. Look at his photos here, read about him and read about his case. He's just an under-priviledged , uneducated boy who grew up very poor in a broken home. We all had a much better childhood and opportunities than he did. I believe that he has learnt his lesson. The Singapore Law Minister has said to the press that they do not want to let him off as a warning to others. Death penalty as a deterrant is cruel, especially if the offender is young and has a strong case for reform. The case should be judged on its own. When Vui Kong was found guilty, the presiding judge felt that it was too harsh to charge the 18-year old boy under a law that carried the death penalty and asked the prosecutor to charge him under a different section of the law that carried life imprisonment. The prosecutor refused and the boy was sentenced.
The Singapore government is notoriously strict about drugs, as is the Malaysian government. However, the President of Singapore has the power to grant clemency in special cases. Vui Kong's first appeal for clemency was turned down a few weeks ago. His second and final appeal is to be handed in before 26th August. I beg you to help save him by signing the petition. He deserves another chance.
Sign the petition here NOW.