Tuesday, December 8, 2009

News that won't attract attention:Yong Vui Kong.

(Yong Vui Kong)

I came across this post from blogger "Charles Hector", the extract is as follows:

[Yong Vui Kong was arrested in June 2007, when he was 19, by officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau. He was charged with trafficking 42.27 grams of heroin, and then sentenced to death in January 2009. Yong Vui Kong received a stay of execution on 3 December, but is now scheduled for execution on 11 December. His appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeals on 8 December.
Is it a matter of gender discrimination? Both men and women get duped ....and unjustly end up with the death penalty... not just the 'lasses' or the 'girls' .]

This is the first time I heard of Yong and the news is not good. He is to be executed by the Singapore Authority. And I don't like it. So I googled search "yong vui kong" and found more information from across the causeway.

This is not "news worthy" as far as the main stream media is concerned. Shame on them. A young man's life is at stake.

This is a "copy and paste" from a Singaporean source,
The Online Citizen:

[Yong Vui Kong’s story will now be familiar with regular readers of The Online Citizen and the activist community, but alien to many Singaporeans who will go about their daily lives without batting an eyelid.

This is largely the fault of the mainstream media, which have completely failed in their duty to explain what Vui Kong’s case means for individual Singaporeans. This needs to change.

The justice system distinguishes between civil law and criminal law. Civil law is enforceable between individuals, whereas criminal law is enforced by the State. In the latter case, the State moves to punish acts deemed injurious to society. It acts on society’s behalf, through statutes passed by our elected representatives.

When the State brings its criminal jurisdiction to bear, it acts on behalf of you and me. If Vui Kong is hanged, he will be hanged in your name and mine.

Singapore’s head in the sand

The national media has given minimal attention to Vui Kong’s case and the obvious issues it raises about the fairness of the mandatory death penalty.

While the mainstream media is sometimes unfairly criticized for its conservative reporting and commentary, its’ see-no-evil attitude to glaring defects in our criminal justice system crosses the negligent into the realm of the unconscionable.

Forums and activities conducted by local anti-death penalty campaigners have gone unmentioned, and there is no national dialogue about the whether the mandatory death penalty is defensible.

Why has the national media not initiated a debate into a practice which the UN Special Rapporteur on arbitrary executions says is prohibited by “almost every judicial or quasi-judicial human rights body in the world”?

Our national media has blatantly failed to highlight countries across the Commonwealth that have invalidated the mandatory death penalty. A strange silence for a press that delights in comparing Singapore to other countries when it comes to economic indicators.]

Where is human compassion, justice and fairplay??


Please read this post from
TOC : "President rejects clemency petition for Yong Vui Kong"

Latest with HOPE:

I just came across this posting in another blog, bearing some hope for Yong Vui Kong:

[For the first time ever in Singapore the High Court has granted a prisoner on death row a stay of execution. The prisoner, Yong Vui Kong, 21, was found guilty of drug trafficking. At a High Court hearing just days before the execution was due to be carried out Justice Woo Bih Li allowed the stay pending a hearing before the Court of Appeal to be held this coming Tuesday. Yong’s petition for clemency was rejected by the President on November 20th.Representing Yong, Mr. M. Ravi, argued that executing Yong before his appeal was heard violated his constitutional rights. The Court of Appeal have yet to hear Yong’s case, as it was withdrawn by his previous counsel, who had been assigned by the State. As the Court of Appeal is currently on vacation and unable to convene Mr Ravi asked the High Court to grant a stay of execution for Yong, until his application for an extension of time and a full appeal can be heard. After hearing arguments presented by both the defense and the prosecution, Justice Woo accepted Mr. Ravi’s request.
This case has drawn attention to executions in Singapore which, together with Japan and the US, is the only fully developed country to retain the death penalty. It has created some interest within the Buddhist community also because Yong has converted to Buddhism during his time in prison. That his conversion is genuine is suggested by statements of contrition and his willingness to take his punishment.]

You can read the full article @ Dhamma Musings.
As the name suggests, this blog is a Buddhist blog and maintained by one of my teachers in Buddhism.


A true Malaysian said...

No one has the rights to take away the other one's life, not even God, if you believe HE exists.

Thus, there should not be mandatory death sentence in the first place, however serious one's crime may be.

aah-haa said...

To be fair, one must not see the side of the offender only - that death penalty is cruel. What about the victims? How is justice served? Too many religions talk about love, compassion, not killing, God, etc. but none talked about the victims and the sufferings of their families and loved ones. If no one has the right to take away another's life, what gives the offender the right to take a life or lives by pushing drugs, committing murder, massacre (by Khmer Rouge, terrorists, Japanese in the Rape of Nanking)?

Anonymous said...

That is correct, feel sorry for the murderer, rapist, drug dealer, and gang banger, etc.... it is the duty of every person of faith in the religion teaching to fight and set him free, what kind of religion is that? haha....

A true Malaysian said...

Compassion is what we need in us to be able to forgive and forget. For God believers, you claim or expect your God to be compassionate and merciful, why not you being compassionate yourselves?

True, criminals caused sufferings to victims and their loved ones. They committed crimes because "compassion" simply not in them. In fact, they should be punished for their crimes and hopefully, repented so that can bring back "compassion" in them, and be a useful person to mankind again.

Mandatory death sentence is not the answer and sufferings of loved ones will still be there. Being compassionate is the answer to reduce if not eliminate sufferings.

stephen said...

Sorry Justin,I for one disagree with the contention that capital punishment should be done away with.The world that we live in has become more Godless and people are getting more ruthless.If the punishment does not fit the crime then this will embolden the criminal to commit the crime without fear as some bleeding liberal will look after his welfare.

We should look at the other perspective.What about the victims of crimes,the family left with out a sole breadwinner and left in financial and emotional distress, a wife turned widow overnight,children turned orphans.How do we explain to this people that we have to give the criminal a chance to rehabilitate,did the criminal give his victims a chance or spared a thought?
Snatch thieves killing and maiming for life ,victims for just a few dollars without a care, I can't comprehend having to show them any compassion.

No one can say that the government has not warned the public about the likely repercussions of drug trafficking which is an insidious disease in that it attacks the very fabric of society like the way the british did to the chinese in the straits settlement and in china.It broke the back of the chinese and left them at the mercy of foreign powers.

The person in question knew the consequences and still went ahead with his deed.Consider that and also the damage if we allow drugs to be readily available to our impressionable young.

Take a step back and consider, not everyone has the compassion and rational thinking as we have, that is why we don't kill or murder.We can't rationalize that others have the same frame of mind as we have.

Justin Choo said...

aah-haa and Stephen,

Never on any occasion did I condone crime. It's the severity of punishment and the danger of judgement error that I am conerned with. In addition it is also very dangerous to have "one set serves all" justice. Remember, this involves death sentence. In this particular case, one has to serious evaluate the mitigating factors that the person was very young (19 years old) when the crime was committed, and that most probably he was just a "drug mule" being conned into it.

Another note to consider; the actual perpetrators of this drug crimes are not being caught; and right at this very moment they are roaming free targeting new innocent recruits.

Have you ever thought of the possibility of your loved ones or even you yourself being wrongly accused for crime that your loved ones or you did not commit? For myself, I do, and it's very scary. In this world you never know. On arrival at the terminal, the police/customs/immigration personnel may suddenly find drugs in my luggage which I was not aware of!!

Think and think hard.

aah-haa said...

By all means be compassionate but not dogmatically and without wisdom. The law of kamma works this way: you reap what you sow. A drug pusher, murderer, terrorist must face the music. Why is it that it has to us (non-victim and non-offender) to be so concerned about capital punishment when the offenders themselves don't give a damn to other people's life? I cannot buy the concept of a Saviour or Redeemer who can save one from Hell by mere confession and belief in a loving, commpassionate God. To me, this is so noble, so palatable, so sweet and so easy that only an IDIOT would not buy! Come on, be responsible for your own violent and vile deeds, face the music and accept the consequence. That's right, what kind of religion is that which feels sorry only for the wrong-doers and forget the victims! While death penalty will not restore life to the murdered, it brings closure to the family of loved ones. More importantly, it signal that crime does not pay. Using compassion as a reason for doing away with death penalty is extremely FLAWED. Removing the death penalty gives would-be offenders a blank cheque to do as they liked - killing, raping, robbery with hurt, terrorising, which allows them to live another day of compassionate forgiving so that they may commit another voilent crime if they choose to! Please don't take compassion literally and far too dogmatically. That's the real PROBLEM with religion!

aah-haa said...

Religions aside, if it is about the judiciary & prosecution processes and if those were lacking, then we should be very concern about the application of capital punishment. Again, lets not take compassion too far just because the offender is young, uneducated, poor, naive, not the actual perpetrator and probably being made use of.
It is the job of the defence counsel to bring these up as mitigating factors.
I am not in favour of taking life whether innocent or not. However, I support the need for capital punishment with the attending due processes of proof, defences and appeals.
To those who believed in a compassionate God, let God take care of the one who has to face Death Row.

aah-haa said...

Justin has a legitimate concern - wrongly accused of or even framed for a capital offence. That's surely is scary. Even more scary is the miscarriage of justice. However, if there is a vigorous judicial and review process, miscarriage can be minimised. I should think the law-makers are aware of the ultimate, non-reversal nature of capital punishment.
However, if one should be wrongly accused of drug trafficking and got hang, shouldn't he be compassionate enough to forgive the lousy judge and vile procsecutor, just like those who are apposed to capital punishment advocate that offenders should be forgiven?

Joshua said...


Just touching on two points which you have brought up (the rest, I believe have been argued ad-nauseum, you can find them on the online citizen website.)

"While death penalty will not restore life to the murdered, it brings closure to the family of loved ones."

Interestingly, there are many cases of families of murder victims that would rather not have the murderer hung. (you can read the many arguments here - "Another teenager caught, set to hang" http://www.yawningbread.org/

AS for spiritual masters of all faiths preaching compassion, perhaps they know something that a lot of us have yet to grasp. That the cycle of violence can only be broken by a willingness not to inflict violence - in this case, as a retribution for perpetuators.

aah-haa said...

Indeed, the debate on capital punishment is well covered everywhere. I was in the school team debating on 'should capital punishment be abolished?' Both sides presented their arguments well and convincingly but one thing I could remember for sure - religion was never used in our arguments and rebuttals.
True, there are families of victims who forgive and would rather not see the perpetrator hung but do they represent all? For each given example, I could also give one who wants to see justice be done and closure as such.
As for spiritual masters who know more about compassion than others, I think that is pure conjecture. Animals have as much compassion as these master if not more. While I know the violence can beget violence like American retaliation of terrorist attacks, religious conflicts and many hate-incited violents, capital punishment is not intended to be 'violent', at least in the modern and open societies because executions are no longer carried out in public unlike those gross gore days of old.
It is not correct to view capital punishment as part of the circle of violence. As one blogger said, it is deterrence and the perpetrator knows the consequence (unless of unsound mind). Be mindful of the intention of capital punishment from the point of law-makers. Do not allow emotions (personal like or dislike) to cloud the issue. Then again we are talking of very serious crimes that warrant capital punishment, and I am sure judges and executioners do not enjoy what they do. I have empathy for those in death row but I understand the need and the purpose of capital punishment. This, I believe is compassion with wisdom.

bow said...

Drug mule got himself hang inside Singapore's gallows is nothing new, it had been going on for some time in this state nation. I personally think it is too severe a punishment to put a guilty defendant of drug charges to death, let alone sanity.

The justice system of man sometime can go haywire, and mistake did occur in the process of adjudication and time of judgment while deliver justice. All these factors had never been seriously consider by authority in Singapore as the government officials regard themselves as infallible genius and has a perfect judicial system that is able to deliver swift justice in today world in par with standard of advance nation.

aah-haa said...

Death sentence is not something we love and if I have to face death row I would go insane before I actually die. However, if a loved one is murdered or poisoned by drug, my view about death sentence would be different. I may not wish the perpetrator death in the first place but I would be ambivalent about the death sentence meted out. To me, it is fair. A murderer takes a life and pays for it. The same for drug-pushers for we know that drugs kill.
Miscarriage of justice should not be confused with the intention and purpose of capital punishment. I see hatred or being prejudicial about the Singapore judicial system, its officials or authority and even to compare with other countries as immature and short of objectivity. I am not saying they are perfect. Could 'bow' think of a perfect system of justice?

aah-haa said...

First, my apology for hijacking this blog to express a view so as not to offend ‘Buddhists’ in dhamma musings blog. Death sentence, taken on its sole and confined context is of course revolting. Those who object have many good reasons, amongst which include compassion. Buddhists take compassion further and literally into stratosphere claiming all humans have Buddha-like nature, capable of repentance, deserving second chance, and invoking the First Precept. Nothing wrong with all these but also not completely right. Only thing wrong is to hold on to compassion dogmatically, limiting to strict doctrinal interpretation. Buddhists should know that other religions prescribe death as the punishment (wages) for sins (which of course include murderers though drug-traffickers did not exist then). The rationale for capital punishment has been well debated, so will not be discussed. Neither will I touch on perfect judicial system or miscarriage of justice. The focus is on compassion. Compassion like death sentence cannot bring the victim back to life. But compassion for offender saves his life. This is very noble and surely would be welcomed by those in death row. Jesus Christ said he died for sinners - to save them from Hell (next life) not this life. And Jesus too have compassion and capital punishment was accepted because two other convicts were also nailed to the cross.
No one need to agree with me: capital punishment has built-in compassion. As deterrence, it discourages people from taking lives by killing or drug-poisoning. If one fear death (because there is death sentence), one would not be liberal about committing murder, drug-trafficking or violent crime. So TWO lives are saved: the potential victim and the potential offender! This is how I see compassion but Buddhists in dhamma musings think I am nut! But I am learning the dhamma which tells me many Buddhists are wrong!

Joshua said...

Ok now you are making Christians think you are nuts too...

aah-haa said...

It does not matter what people think of me. What matters is their WRONG or LIMITED thoughts. And you have just shown it. Thanks!
You should argue from solid ground, not throwing tantrum.

A true Malaysian said...

I do not mean criminals should be let go of their crimes committed under Criminal Laws, they ought to be owned up their crimes like what Yong Vui Kong did and be punished by other means lesser than mandatory death, and give them chance to repent.

It is easy for us to comment here that Yong should not be pardoned until and unless we are in Yong's shoes.

I still maintain my view that "No one has the rights to take away the other one's life, not even God, if you believe HE exists".

Compassion starts from oneself, if we expect others to be compassionate to us.

Unless you expected your God (for God believers) not to be compassionate to you for the sins you committed), then, let it be.

Li Li said...

Anyone who commits a crime, already knew there are punishments !

At 19 years old, this young man cannot be so naive.....

Everytime, the SIA aeroplane is about to land in Changi, there is an announcement made On Board that Drug Trafficking is a serious offence and there is capital punishments.

I have been listening to MAS & Air Asia annoucements too when the plane landed in LCCT or KLIA. They even translated the warnings in Cantonese and Mandrin (if the flight is from China).

Recently when I was travelling in Europe & London (two months ago), each time the ticketing officer asked me if I have packed my bags myself. They also asked me if I have received or are carrying any bags that do not belong to me !

Drugs Mules & Drug Syndicate = Death Sentence !!!!.

Snatch Thieves = I hope Malaysia change our law to Death Sentence to all Snatch Thieves as well !!!!

Justin Choo said...

Aiyoh, Auntie Li Li,

I didn't know you are so hard hearted, given your nature to save lives.

aah-haa said...

Belief and reality are on opposite sides. If they are the same, there is no need for belief (when something is real, there is no need to believe). I like to believe that everyone has Buddha-nature (no desire to do evil, was not evil), capable of reforming (many scriptural examples) and as such should be given a second chance. But what is the REALITY? Strange as it may seems, the objection is not punishment but CAPITAL punishment. I do not recall the phrase 'face the music' as 'face only soft music'. Bloggers have rightly pointed out that drug-traffickers and crimes that attract capital punishment are well publicised and warnings are everywhere. Trafficking acts are conscious and deliberate acts whatever the motivation, i.e. the perpetrator chooses to commit it but hoping not to get caught. If compassion is applied here, don't you think you are condoning the harmful act? Also, by your 'compassion' you put at risk an innocent person or child. The argument that 'no one has the rights to take away life' seems to be one-sided. Then, what give murderers, drug-traffickers and terrorists the rights? By all means be compassionate but expecting others to be compassionate in return is like I give you but you give back! (what have I give?) I can’t comment on whether God is compassionate or not. Please ask Him.
Between a society that has in place a legal system that deters and makes crime pay (no matter how heavy) and one based on ‘compassion’ that let off lightly offenders of serious/ violent crimes, which would you choose for yourself, your parents, spouses, and children?

Joshua said...

Auntie Li Li

Yong came to Singapore by car...

Joshua said...


Interestingly, I am reading a book now on how families of murder victims do not find closure still long after the murderer has been executed.

I also read another book before, about forgiveness from the Christian perspective (but it won't concern you since reality and beliefs are very different), which explains how forgiveness ultimately is not for the wrong-doer but ultimately for you.

As for your view that beliefs and reality are opposite sides, I find it strange then why do you bother to study the dhamma if not to apply your beliefs in your everyday life as much as you can?

A true Malaysian said...

I am not able to ask the God whether HE is compassionate or not simply because HE is not existence, so far as I am concerned. So, I cannot ask HIM, aah-haa. I am not sure whether you are a God believer of not, but I am not interested to know either.

It is a well-known fact that the Criminal Law is getting tougher and tougher, which include mandatory death for drug traffiking like in Yong's case. Even Auntie Li Li is suggesting to have death penalty on snatch thieves. But, do you ever ask yourselves, why crimes still getting more serious from day to day with these tough laws? Why such death penalties still won't be able to deter crimes from happening?

I let you all ponder on this. There are truths out there to discover that many choose to brush aside or place more emphasis in pursuing material wealth, due to greed, delusion to the extent they forget "compassion" that should be in them.

As I said, we need to be compassionate to forgive and forget so that the sinners repent and be compassionate themselves. Many expected their God to be compassionate (at least to their selfish self) but funny thing is that, why they could not be compassionate themselves? This is what I, a non believer of God cannot understand.

A true Malaysian said...

How I hope Yong Vui Kong has the chance to read this posting and corresponding comments. Better still, has the chance to comment.

Think again on compassionate ground. You can think better if say, Yong is you, or your loved one.

A tooth for a tooth is not the way to have a better world.

Li Li said...

Reality + Survival are very Real.

Maybe, my recent encounters with a snatch thief who grab my handphone + I look at him straight into his blood shot eyes; convinced me that it is a matter of my survival & I need to protect my young 5 years old child from possible insane drug addicted youths !

What is the whole point of being compasionate for a drug related person; when I don't even feel safe to walk along my neighbourhood ?

Can i watch from heaven knowing that I might have been dead & no one is taking care of my daughter ?

Drug Mules are being used to distribute drugs.

I don't care if the drug mules are above 16 years old; they should be tried as an adult . I believe at above 16 years old, they should already know the disasters caused by drugs. The negative info on illegal drugs are all over the country. (malaysia + singapore).

We should go after the drug lords + drug mules. It is better to have "less one person" than to put a whole generation of our teenagers + young adults who could be exposed to drug addictions.

The court have found the youth guilty.... It is not a case that he is not given a fair trial.

I still believe that at 19 years old; he is not naive. He is not a helpless baby. . . .

aah-haa said...

I have mentioned this before, death sentence itself is revolting. There are many valid reasons for objecting. Here I wish to comment on the Buddhist perspective. The objection is based on (1) the First Precept – not taking life, i.e. no killing, (2) by not taking life, one demonstrates the virtue of compassion, and (3) every human has the capacity to repent and reach Enlightenment (thus should be given the chance and be forgiven). Also, karma is cited in the context that killing is bad karma. To quickly dismiss the invalidity of karma: how can it be bad karma for the judge and executioner but not for the offender? Shouldn’t drug-traffickers be warned about bad karma not just death penalty!
Not taking life (killing) is a noble virtue. This should be applied to all living things without exception. And this begs many questions: do plants, bacteria, cells, pests have life? Isn’t plucking vegetable out of the ground killing the plant? Doesn’t antibiotic kill bacteria? Doesn’t radiation kill cancer cells? Doesn’t spraying pesticide kills insects and worms that feed on plant, fruit or vegetable? Buddhists have no objection to killing vegetable, plant and pests. When cancer strikes Buddhists, they have no objection to using radiation to kill cancer cells. Isn’t this an oddity?
Buddhists practice calls for the demonstration of compassion. By objecting to capital punishment, Buddhists are seen to be compassionate or rather practise compassion. However, compassion can be misplaced, malpractised or applied wrongly. Compassion can also be abused, taken advantage of. Buddhists don’t know that the primary intention of capital punishment is not killing per se. Yet Buddhists know that is the intention (volition) that counts, not so much the act. In dhamma talks, I heard that police can shoot a criminal but that is not killing because it was not the intention of police to kill. Capital punishment is a combination of deterrence, protection and equity with built-in compassion to save the lives of both potential victim and offender. Buddhists see one-side only: the offender being severely punished by a cruel act of ending his life, deprived of a chance to repent or more correctly the chance to reach Enlightenment or Buddha-hood. Buddhists forgot what they have been taught, that there are many rebirths and it takes several ‘life-time’ to reach Enlightenment! And some never despite living a long life! So, it as thought or wrongly assumed that sparring the offender’s life mean he will definitely achieve Enlightenment! For sure?
Many Buddhist literatures quote the sutta and its many discourses to support abolition of capital punishment. However, the discourses are not consistent in objecting to capital punishment per se but to killing. As I said before, capital punishment cannot be viewed narrowly as just killing. Wrong view is a defilement in Buddhism, yet Buddhists holding wrong views cannot see where they are wrong. Merely sticking to doctrine was discouraged by the Buddha in the Kalama Sutta. That was what I meant by being dogmatic, one-sided and holding wrong view in previous posts.

bow said...

With Justin highlighting this young man's plight and his limited life span staying alive in Singapore death cell, may be senior mentor Mr.LKY in Singapore will take notice of it after come across this blog, who know may be he will lend a helping hand to effect a stay of execution at the last moment of his life, we just have to wait for that miracle to happen. Sigh and roll eye!!!

Joshua said...

Sheesh Aa-haa,

surely you know the Buddha doesn't teach you to think of things either as simply wrong or right... and there you go insisting your intepretation is the right one and everyone else's is wrong...

Li Li said...

I don't understand why everyone is rushing to save a 21 years old boy (young man) who is link to triad , secret societies, bad company - all in the name of Buddhisme ?

These boys who are "recruited" into the the secret societies are already brain washed to "deceive" all of us.

Do you think these young desperate boys care "two cents" about us ?

Most of us are human being who has a decent job + working our bones to feed our families. And whenever there are SOS calls, we make home visits to poor families that needs help. I stress my friends do not give money. We buy rice, milk powder, bread, flour etc..... to send to families in need. We collected used items and pass them to the poor. These are temporary measures.

Call me "cold heart, hard heart, stone heart, non compassionate, non Buddhist".......... I totally accept the title.

Back to secret societies + triads. Worse -they do not have a heart !

They will slash anyone of us in cold blood - if these young recruits are instructed by their "Taiko".

I have seen too many teenagers that are trying to con me. I have grown wiser ..... These poor kids at the low cost flats are much smarter than me (I must admit). They are good in acting "kesian" looking ! I think they should be given Anugerah Filem Malaysia for most natural acting.

Do I believe this "Yong Vui Kong " adult ? You bet right - I don't at all his conversion to Buddhisme. It is just plain "acting".

Put him back to the streets; he will be a more "dangerous man" to you & I.

A true Malaysian said...

Are you a God believer, aah-haa?

What do you think God's stand in Yong Vui Kong's case?

Is HE is favour to the death sentence?

Please give your answers, Yes or No.

Joshua said...

"Put him back to the streets; he will be a more "dangerous man" to you & I."

Erm... auntie, nobody say put him back in the streets leh...

As for reforming hor... I know a person who spent her entire life reforming crooks and ex-secret society members some of whom have done worse deeds than this boy...

Li Li said...

Erm.... young man Joshua.

Nobody here wanted to 'release the boy {Yong Vui Kong}' to the streets?

All of you believe that it will make your heart feel better, if we put dangerous man inside cages ? Without killing them ?

Don't forget we are just talking about one "Yong Vui Kong". Are you able to track & re-habilitate the rest of the unfortunate "Yong Vui Kong" as the number of these unfortunate triad members are growing ?

I must admit I don't know anyone who are in volunteer service for ex-crooks or ex-secret societies or Chow Kit Road re-habilitation centres etc.

I will prefer to stay away from these people. ( crooks, petty thieves, drug carriers, triads etc).

Joshua said...


Reading a few posts here, I'm starting to understand that there are a few misconceptions of what the law is supposed to do.

(yes, moving away from the compassion angle)

What do you think really, is the purpose of law?

Li Li said...

Erm.... young man Joshua.

I am just a common citizen of Malaysia and the Law stated clearly, there are capital punishment for Drug Trafficking... which carries the maximum penalty of DEATH sentence if found guilty.

Joshua said...

So, you're saying, the man die die has to die because the law says so, doesn't matter if it's a just, appropriate law or not la.

aiyah, say so earlier mah.

aah-haa said...

Dear true Malaysian & Joshua
I don’t mean to be rude, is there such a thing as false Malaysian? Let me say that I express empathy for Yong Vui Kong and feel a sense of loss that a young man will be sent to the gallows. This piece of news does not make me happier or less compassionate whether I know him or not or whether I am him. He had his days in court and has access to religious help. I am not sure whether reading our postings or commenting in respond is helpful to Yong. It is also not right to speculate how he feels or thinks. For these reasons I have refrained from talking about Yong. We should confine our comments to capital punishment – for or against.
If a loved one has to face capital punishment, I would have to feel the same way for him as well as his victim. I cannot display compassion for one and not the other. Sure, I wouldn’t want my loved one to die but what gives me the moral high ground to ignore the fact that the other life was lost? If this question is asked, then it should also be asked: what if your loved one is the victim?
“A tooth for a tooth is not the way to have a better world.” So does it mean letting the offender off the noose leads to a better world? Crimes have been increasing but do we have the statistics or study to show that capital punishment is not effective or in fact is the cause of more crimes?
I give the benefit of doubts that families of victims may not find closure after many years. Did the book reveal why? Is it because they cannot accept the loss? Then, again for those who did not find closure, there are those who find comfort in knowing the offender is put away for good. As I said before, be compassionate but don’t carry too far as to be lop-sided. Reality does not need belief. Learning the dhamma is to find the truth not the belief! The Rev Dr K Sri Dhammananda in his book published by the Buddhist Missionary Society of Malaya said “…. read the book and see for yourself whether there is anything in Buddhism to believe”.

Li Li said...

I am a 40 year old mother with a 5 year old young child.

There is a proper law in Malaysia + Singapore to protect us from Drug Trafficker or Drug Syndicate or Drug Pushers.

Joshua, if you are a Malaysian citizen and you feel that the Malaysian law on Drug Trafficking are too strict; I strongly suggest to you to put all your efforts and strength to lobby the Malaysian Courts to change the law to exactly what you feel is appropriate.

This will be my last post for this issue. I am one of those people who believes in capital punishments. We need to catch the "small fishes " + "big fishes" as well.

Joshua said...

Hi Aa-haa,

Yes, from the victim's angle it certain looks like quite a unfair deal.

Here's a question - should the Law act on behalf of the victim or family?

And I also realize we are dealing with many different things here-

a) Capital Punishment pe se
b) Mandatory Capital Punishment for Drug offenses.

perhaps you may want to narrow down to something more specific.

A true Malaysian said...

You still haven't answered my question aah-haa.

Before I go further, could you please answer my questions? After all, they are not difficult to answer, just answer Yes or No to the questions.

aah-haa said...

True Malaysian .... you did not answer my question on whether there is such a thing as false Malaysian.
Basically, I don't understand your question about God. That's why I said you have to ask Him.
Also, I don't think it is this blog to ascertain anyone's faith. This blog is about capital punishment (period).

aah-haa said...

Somehow all the arguments advanced by Buddhists seemed to be one-sided. Taking the life of the victim does not matter that much compared to taking the life of the perpetrator. The perpetrator deserved to be forgiven by the victim’s family and the State has no right to take his life. But perpetrator 'somewhat' has the right to take the life of his victim! Capital PUNISHMENT has been wrongly viewed as KILLING (dogmatic) without understanding its true purpose and the need to protect society. The primary intention of capital punishment is not killing per se. Buddhists should know that it is the intention (volition) that counts, not so much the act which may follows intention. Buddhists believed that a policeman who shot dead an armed criminal has no intention of killing. Why this double standard?
Buddhists would quote the Tipitaka to support abolition of capital punishment. However, the suttas are not consistent in objecting to capital punishment per se but to killing. Actually, the Kalama Sutta discourages strict adherence to doctrine. Yong’s case attracted more following by Buddhists because it was reported that he converted to Buddhism whilst in prison. As such, they surmised that Yong deserved clemency. This is self-centred.
The correct approach to adopt (in my opinion):
1. do not view capital punishment as capital killing (keyword is punishment)
2. understand its intention, is capital punishment for protection or harming?
3. do not follow doctrine dogmatically
4. temper compassion with wisdom, understanding, equity
5. feel for the victim as much as for the condemned
6. be warned that crime does not pay (it is not tooth for tooth) and spread this warning rather than mere compassion
Finally, the Buddha said “One is one’s own master.” The perpetrator controls and decides which path to choose. If he knowingly and consciously chooses a path that leads to death, why are we so concerned (out of misplaced compassion or person agenda)?
Allow Yong Vui Kong to deal with this eventuality with all the help he can get, just as we have to deal with ours when the time comes.

Joshua said...

hi Aa-haa,

thanks for elaborating. I'll to explain, however inadequately given the short time and space i have, how you may have misconstrued the origins of compassion.

Firstly, you have the misconception that when (some) Buddhist talk about having compassion even for the vilest criminals, you think it's dogmatic. You see 'compassion' as a 'conduct', a 'thinking' that has to be applied with wisdom and equity.

Let me ask you - is Buddha wise because he is compassionate, or is he compassionate because he is wise?

Does it not cross your mind that the conclusion that Yong deserves to be spared is not arrived because of some doctrine, but very careful reflection on the subject?

Do we not feel the pain of the victim as well?

Can we not see that in this cycle of suffering, everyone is a victim?

And that everyone includes not ONLY the victim, BUT the perpetuator's family as well? Are they NOT innocent?

Studies have shown that there is no closure for many families long after the criminal has been put to death. In this case, why make the criminal's family suffer too? Is it necessary?

Are we simply killing perpetuators so as to free our guilty conscience at not being able to bear the pain of the victim's family? Is that not self-centred?

Which is the more simplistic thinking?

Joshua said...

And on a seperate note, you have to make a distinction between capital punishment and MANDATORY death penalty. Do you know the difference?

bow said...

I have never see so many comments in Justine's blog, seem like you are getting famous after this highlight, Justine... :-)) :-) :-))


aah-haa said...

Buddha was both compassionate and wise. These are two of the many paramitas (Perfections), not compassion alone only. That's why I suggested compassion with wisdom.
Perhaps, you can explain mandatory in your own term. I don't wish to suggest that sentences can be optional, up to perpetrator to select but I think this is what you have in mind? Maybe, there should be a buffet of sentences and perpetrators can freely choose and decide for himself, not the law-makers or judges?

Joshua said...

Mandatory means no mitigating factors are to be taken into consideration.

In the case of heroin trafficking in Singapore, it means that once you are found guilt of trafficking more than 15g of heroin, its automatic death. The judge cannot sentence him to a lighter sentence.

A justice system where discretion is not allowed is no justice system at all.

Consider the case of Amara Tochi who was executed in 2007 in Singapore.

High Court Judge Kan Ting Chiu sent Amara Tochi to his death even though he found that "There was no direct evidence that [Tochi] knew the capsules contained diamorphine. There was nothing to suggest that Smith [the man who set him up] had told him they contained diamorhine, or that he had found that out of his own."

Notwithstanding, Justice Kan found Tochi guilty, stating that "Tochi SHOULD have known and therefore he is guilty".

Now, considering that there are inconclusive evidence, if there wasn't a MANDATORY sentence, the judge could have given him life instead.

The problem with mandatory death is that there is always a chance that sometime later new evidence may emerge to prove that Tochi really didn't know the contents and released, but killing him takes that chance away.

Joshua said...

And perhaps you have mistaken my question -

is Buddha wise because he is compassionate, or is he compassionate because he is wise?

We all know that he is both. I'm asking - which comes first.

Anonymous said...

When a Chinese trying to smuggle heroin into Singapore, he is caught and hanged, then all Chinese will get the message clearly that never mess with Singapore anti drug law anymore. Go some other places for your heroin business deal. Got it!! may be do it in Malaysia or Indonesia.

A true Malaysian said...

If you read through my comments again, my arguments are purely based on ground of "compassion" and not "Buddhism" as I am not a scholar in Buddhism that I can speak on behalf of Buddha. Don't get me wrong here, aah-haa.

Perhaps if Yong converted into, let say, Christianity instead of Buddhism, the comments of certain people here might be different.

Anyway, I still hope to see your God is being "compassionate" to Yong even he doesn't has faith in HIM.

If you can't even understand my simple questions, let let them be. I am not being petty here even if you want to address me as false Malaysian.

My stand still the same. No one has the rights to take away the other one's life, not even your God, aah-haa.

aah-haa said...

Your question is similar to asking which comes first - chicken or egg? We know that no one has come up with a satisfactory answer. The Buddhists would say, both are dependent and happens together. If Buddha possessed both wisdom and compassion, then what he demonstrated was compassion with wisdom, not wisdom with compassion. A lay or ordinary person would say compassion comes from the heart and wisdom comes from the mind. And both mind and body come together, interdependent. However, a closer look at your question not only suggest dependency but also on sequence of arising. I suggest you read or ask someone knowledgeable about Dependent Origination or Dependent Arising. Sorry, I am still dependent on a good teacher to arise before I can give you an answer!

aah-haa said...

I am trying to second guess why you brought up a) Capital Punishment per se
b) Mandatory Capital Punishment for Drug offenses.
Per se means considered alone and not connected with other things/matters. In other words, capital punishment is punishment in intention (nothing else is to be connected with it). If I say punishment is not punishment per se but revenge, then I don’t think you will see punishment as just purely punishment. For capital offences, I prefer the term penalty rather than punishment because punishment carries an implied purpose ‘to correct’. For an example, if you are late for school, your punishment is detention (to correct your tardiness). I am not too sure if a penalty like fine will make you come to school on time if you have deep pocket.
If the word capital is removed you have no difficulty with punishment because in your mind the penalty takes the form of fine, jail, probation, work orders, caning. The objection is death as punishment just like many who objected to caning as punishment. No one has issue with punishment or penalty (though no one loves it) because it is generally accepted that a wrong-doer or violator has to be punished or penalised. The issue is usually the form of punishment/penalty. Don’t you think all along, the postings here were about the form of punishment? If drug-traffickers are fined, nobody bats an eyelid, right?
All sentences are mandatory. If not, there is no need to serve. A jail sentence is mandatory. Fine is mandatory. However, your meaning of mandatory is not quite right when you mentioned mitigation. I am not a lawyer or law-maker but what I know is that for drug-trafficking to attract mandatory death sentence, the amount of drug must exceed certain weight. Less than that, no death sentence, jail time but not fine. Mitigating factors include age, mental condition, health, etc. There are instances of death sentence being commuted to life sentence or clemency granted (here and in other countries though I must point out that it is very rare). Hope this helps.
The mode of punishment or range of penalties is laid down by law-makers and the judges prescribe the appropriate sentence according to the merit of the case or befitting the crime. In very serious offences, there is only one form of punishment, in this case - death. So, we are back again to the fact that all along our arguments were about death sentence.
There is no doubt that death sentence is irreversible and therefore must be applied very carefully and all avenues are exhausted. That’s why they usually go all the way to clemency unless the accused does not want it. Let’s put it this way, we are outsiders trying to throw in our 2 cents worth when so many people in law and justice are better placed to know the details and workings. Your concern about the no return and miscarriage of justice were what we debated about in school. I salute your sense of compassion but I ask that you temper it with wisdom and equity. Take this exercise: if you have 100% of compassion, and assuming there is no capital punishment, what proportion of your compassion would you give to the victim and the perpetrator?

aah-haa said...

True Malaysian …
I gave the Buddhist perspective for all and no one in particular. Compassion was the major theme discussed and I said we should have compassion but apply it with wisdom and equity. It can’t be compassion for the perpetrator and none for the victim. Whether God has compassion or not is not the issue here because no one in this blog believes it is God who is taking Yong’s life! Actually, I didn’t even raise any thing about God though I did mention Jesus Christ, but you were rather insistent about whether I believe in God or not. As for Yong converting to Christianity, then I think the Buddhists may not be very interested in Yong’s case. The Christians may but they are not known to be dead against capital punishment.
The issue is death sentence and the State metes that out according to law. As for rights to kill, none has. The death sentence is a penalty for a serious or violent crime. If you perceive capital punishment as killing, then in the Buddhist perspective, you will notice that I took to task the First Precept – not taking life.
By all means keep your stand. But I don’t want to live in your neighbourhood where serious crime offenders know they can get away with little consequence and live to terrorise or drug people again and again.

Anonymous said...

Our dear blogger friend Justin must have a very reliable source to substantial his claims that this Chinese dude is a mule, not a "Taiko" drug dealer from China. If that is the case, chances is he could be an unwilling partner in this heroin trafficking gone bad case in Singapore and was duped by international heroin syndicate to run drug for them. It is time for Justin to do somethings for him.
:-) :-) :-)

Justin Choo said...

Anonymous (2.17am)

This post is not meant to be a joke.

I think it is time that readers stop commenting on this topic.

Joshua said...


Like a good student of dhamma, you have provided the model answer on wisdom and compassion.

Now go back and re-analyze your presumption that Buddhists who talk about compassion for people like Yong are 'dogmatically' applying compassion, merely following scripture without the use of wisdom or equity. And see if you are guilty of accusing many Buddhists of having one without the other.

Being able to regurgitate complex terms does not mean you truly understand the meaning behind them.

Joshua said...

As for capital punishment.. sigh.. you can sugarcoat with any name you want, but deliberate killing is still that. You can tell a death row convict he's not being killed but punished and he'll still soil his pants the day the guards take him to hang.

You are right that you are not a lawyer or law maker, because your replies on mandatory death sentence clearly shows you utter and complete lack of understanding in that respect from the legal angle.

As for clemency, the President of Singapore has NEVER granted clemency for the eight(?) years he's in office. During those eight years probably 200 people had been hung. Without a single person pardoned. Don't tell me all are cold-blooded evil people.

That's what happens when you take discretion away from the judge.

On compassion, you have conveniently ignored the fact that we have made more people suffer unnecessarily when we take into consideration the perpetuator's family. So now instead of having one family griefing, you have two. Somehow that seems alright to you.

Your asking of whether there is enough compassion to go round out of 100% goes to show that you don't even know compassion is not quantifiable.

There's a saying that Buddha has INFINITE compassion. He has enough compassion for everybody. If we aspire to be like him, it is our duty to cultivate INFINITE compassion instead of calculating how much to give.

But there's one thing I do agree with you. You need a good teacher to arise to teach you because what you have now is nothing but book knowledge which you regurgitate without comprehending. Before you start telling people they are dogmatically following scriptures, you should look to yourself first.

Finally out of respect for Justin, this is my last posting on the matter.

A true Malaysian said...

It is usually the case for certain believers to "chicken out" by not being focused. That only reflects their insecurity in their beliefs, where even in doubtful of their beliefs, they still hinged on the "THING", as without it, their foundation of beliefs are gone. That is to say, they lost their destiny to be with the "THING".

Out of respect of Justin Choo, this comment is the last for this posting of Yong.

Yong, if ultimately hanged to death, is his own affair. Under man-made laws, he knew it, he breached it and he got it. For Singapore, they are tough on this matter and very likely, Yong will be hanged, I have no doubt about this.

But, many commentators here seem to loss their mercy on Yong, which I think will not benefit mankind in the long run with such attitude. We must be compassionate to Yong even if he is ultimately hanged to death.

The point that I brought up for all to ponder, i.e. why laws getting tougher, crimes still in increasing trend invite no response. This only shows the weakness of mankind and existence of religions bring us nowhere.

Religions taught us to be compassionate, but honestly ask yourselves, are you being compassionate yourselves in this matter?

Being compassionate in this case doesn't means we let the criminals scot free, doesn't means we let them continue their crimes. This is totally different matter altogether, by you know who, and for what reasons know best to them.

My stand still the same, even if Yong converted into Christianity. We should show mercy and being compassionate to all, irrespective he or she is of same belief and religion. If you cannot do that, ask yourselves why. I have no answer for you.

aah-haa said...

The issue of death sentence has been thoroughly debated before with participation from the lay, religious, academics, medical, social, and law enforcement. All the pros and cons were considered, research done and interviews made. In my school debate religions or beliefs were not used as arguments. Phrase like ‘no one has the right to take away life’ was used instead of quoting scriptures or religious doctrines. Values such as compassion, forgiveness, equity, etc. were mentioned. Rationale, purpose and justification for capital punishment were advanced. Concerns like ‘no return’, ‘no second chance’ and miscarriage of justice were expressed. For every ‘for’ there was a rebuttal, and for every ‘against’ there was also a rebuttal.
Debaters don’t gravitate to calling each other name because that will surely solicit a penalty call by the umpire. Demerit points will be awarded. The audience will take the name-callers to the cleaners!

aah-haa said...

Social values and virtues are universal, not unique to any particular society or religion. Invoking a compassionate God and a Buddha with infinite compassion is unnecessary. Compassion is compassion, no such thing as different categories of compassion like hotel room – standard, superior and deluxe. I have only ‘standard’ compassion, others give me the impression they possess ‘superior’ compassion and their God or spiritual teachers have ‘deluxe’ compassion. It is either no compassion, or some compassion or full of compassion.
In a blog, participants have their own agenda; as such they adopt certain stand. If they are associated with a family member, relative or friend sentenced to death, they are ‘likely’ to be against capital punishment. Vice versa for those associated with the victim. Being a member of a particular religion that forbids killing does not permit one to take a differing view. Having said all these it doesn’t mean that if one is none of the aforementioned (no association with death sentence and is a free-thinker) he has no stand ‘for’ or’ against’. In a debate, judges have to be neutral, unbiased, learned and consider all views, in order to deliver a fair and balanced verdict.
Apart from religious doctrines and universal virtues, there are many other considerations. Deterrent and protection head the list. To these, arguments like people have Buddha-nature, able to recant, repent, and rehabilitate were given. Also, forgiveness and compassion is demanded or expected by the perpetrator and sympathisers. But who should actually do the forgiving - family and relation of the victim? No one can, except the victim! And the victim is dead!
Death sentence is said to cause suffering for families of both victim and perpetrator. But who is actually the first and effective cause? The law of karma works in mysterious way, I was told. Unfortunately, family members of perpetrator who are innocent have to suffer.
I may not have answered all questions adequately or to the satisfaction of the questioners. I was in a catch-22 situation. If I didn’t answer, I was given name. When I answered, my answer was “clearly shows you utter and complete lack of understanding”. I was told I need a better teacher. And my lack of understanding of the dhamma comes from reading books. But these books were written by monks.
I am curious when people give themselves the ‘true’ label. To me, it means others are untrue. Those who are against capital punishment see themselves as compassionate to a grand degree. So, those who are for death sentence has none or don’t understand what compassion is about.
‘Crime does not pay’ doesn’t ring with the highly compassionate. Violators or perpetrators need not face the music or just face ‘soft’ music (imprisonment?). Everyone, regardless of religious faith or gender MUST show compassion and be merciful. I can’t understand the logic. The person who poisoned your kid with drug does not have to face punishment befitting his crime. He had no compassion or mercy when he carried out the act. Yet, he should be forgiven and let to live another day while your kid lay in the grave. Assumptions (don’t know on what basis) are made that the perpetrator can reform. Reform what? Bring to life the dead victim?
I have said: by all means be compassionate but temper compassion with wisdom and equity. The heart and the mind must work together, not just compassion alone and certainly not some altruistic, grand noble, infinite compassion.
I thank all who have engaged me in this blog and to the host.

Justin Choo said...

To all visitors,

Thank you for the comments. Everyone has the right to express his/her views in this blog. As cultured and educated people we must allow this freedom of expression, although we need not have to agree with the comments.

Just to clarify one point; when I posted this article, I did not know that Yong has "converted" to Buddhism. Actually there is no such thing as "conversion to Buddhism". If anyone fels that he/she wants to follow the teachings of the Buddha, then he/she can just practise them.

As with any controversial issue, no party is ever willing to change its views. So let it be.

And to be fair I shall allow one last comment from anyone who wishes to do so. After that, please have peace within yourselves.

Joshua said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joshua said...

Thanks Justin,

I shall be the last one then.

To aah-haa,

If you have ever spoken to anyone given a life sentence, you will know that the punishment is hardly soft at all.

The objective of the law is to keep society safe. By isolating the prisoner from the general public it would have served its purpose.

Do you really believe the first and effective cause starts from the perpetuator? Such a simplistic view shouldn't even have been uttered by a self proclaimed student of dhamma to begin with.

Just because books were written by people much wiser than you doesn't mean you understood them correctly. When you started using Jesus's crucifiction along with the two thieves as acceptance of capitial punishment, it is abundantly clear you are using religious texts out of context to suit your argument.

Support death penalty by all means, but please don't try to demean and distort others' faith when you have very little understanding of them.

I repeat again, goggle 'death penalty as deterrence' and you will find many evidence to support the view that crime rates DO NOT show a significant drop after death penalty is removed.

Ask yourself - do people really feel significantly safer as a result of death penalty?


Again I repeat - the times where the spiritual masters lived are not too far different from ours. In their times, capitial punishment is a stark reality that they witness everyday. (it was public). The same arguments of deterrence and protection would be thrown up all the time. And yet they still stand by their views on compassion.

In your view then, they certainly must be most unwise and lacking in equimity!

So why bother being a student of someone who doesn't know how to balance his heart with his mind, I wonder!

There are indeed many other considerations beyond the religious views, that is why there is such a thing as a secular sphere - and I'm more than glad that decisions on public matters are not made based on religious grounds.

Having said that, you started this whole debate when you brought in God and religion. (see post #2) and also jumping into the 'dharma musings' blog and telling people their thinking is wrong.

Your argument that the victim is dead so no one can do the forgiving is nonsensical. By your line of thinking, does it therefore mean that no perpetuator should be forgiven, since all his victims are dead?! Then where at all is the forgiveness?

Karma is a law unto itself. It is not up to you to render onto people. You feel compassion for the victim and family, and none for the perpetuator's family. It is alright, in the name of karma for them to suffer. This is your 'wisdom' and 'equimity'.

To sum it up, I think there's a word that describes your idea of 'compassion tempered with wisdom and equimity'.

It is called 'revenge'.

May you find peace within yourself.

aah-haa said...

I thought this post is closed and I had peace. I do agree with Justin, visitors to this blog have their views and stands. I did not dismiss their stands but gave my rebuttals to their views as much as I received them. I have said killing is vile and at the same time said that we practice double standards when we say ‘putting to death’ a perpetrator is wrong or unacceptable or uncompassionate but said nothing about killing plants, cancer cells, chickens or cockroaches. Worse, Joshua said that capital punishment is ‘revenge’ when I said so clearly that capital punishment is not intentional killing or revenge. The State must protect the vulnerable and deter would-be violators. There are laws and sentences for those who transgressed. Nobody says anything about detention as punishment but raised hell over capital punishment. I see punishment as just punishment and read nothing more to it than to say that this form of punishment is severe and is meant for very serious crimes. Joshua tried to stir up the religious angle when he said I quoted biblical account of capital punishment at the time of Jesus Christ and also I demean other religions. Didn’t I say that I prefer not to use religion as arguments? Because Buddhism and (Christian)God was mentioned, I had expressed my views or answered questions. I was not supporting any religion but somehow Joshua alluded that I demean other religions, that I am a bad student of dhamma, cannot understand, had poor teachers, and even ‘self-proclaimed’. What is meant by self-proclaimed? I detect a sinister implication! Also, Joshua gives me the impression that he is a Super Buddhist who knows the dhamma better than even HIMSELF, has ‘superior’ compassion and ‘attas’ understanding.
Interestingly, Joshua said: …. goggle 'death penalty as deterrence' and you will find many evidence to support the view that crime rates DO NOT show a significant drop after death penalty is removed. So, why does he advocate abolishing death penalty?
The phrase ‘first and effective cause’ is used in legal and insurance circles. It is not exclusive to those who know the principle of karma. And even those who knows can be mistaken.
“Ask yourself - do people really feel significantly safer as a result of death penalty?” I can ask myself: yes, I do feel safer in a society where violent crimes attract death sentence. I don’t think I need to ask other people because common sense tells me that feeling are conditional, not permanent. Some feel safe, others not, some have no feeling!
And Joshua summed up: “I think there's a word that describes your idea of 'compassion tempered with wisdom and equimity'. It is called 'revenge'.
I think Joshua has revenge in mind, I don’t. I have peace but peace like everything is also conditional and impermanent. That condition is: this post has closed. Thanks.

Joshua said...

Sorry, should be 'crime rate' DO NOT rise significantly after abolishment of death penalty.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Soe am i said...

Just as i wish upon myself, so too i wish for you and others, that we shall find peace when we truly seek it.

aah-haa said...

Sorry Joshua, you have changed your statement quite ‘significantly’: from “crime rates DO NOT show a significant drop after death penalty is remove” to “should be 'crime rate' DO NOT rise significantly after abolishment of death penalty”. Like I said before, one study can be countered by another. I encountered this line of argument in my school debate.
I have to add that compassion has to be shown for all kinds – animals, plants, and humans of all background regardless of race, status, vocation, religion, gender, wealth, innocent, guilty, victim, loved ones who has to suffer. That is what I mean by compassion tempered with equity. Again, having to put down a serious crime offender for good is cruel and uncompassionate in the first instance. However, one has to considering all aspects and if you want to talk about ‘safe’, death sentence means there is no second chance at LIFE but also no second chance at TAKING life. An alternative sentence like imprisonment whether for term or life does not guarantee that offenders will not re-offend. I just read a report that terrorists in Philippines broke a jail and imprisoned terrorists escaped. It does not take any intelligence to guess what they will do next.

Justin Choo said...

To all,

Thank you for the comments.

This post is closed for comment.

Li Li said...

Hi Justin,

It might be a good idea to re-open yr comment section for "Mandatory Death Sentence for Drug Related offences".

Today, 29/12/2009, The Star reported that a Briton, 53 years old will be executed for smuggling 4 kgs of Heroin into China.

Even though the British goverment request/appeal for a more lenient sentence, I doubt China will change the verdict/sentence.

It is reported that they are now saying he is not mentally stable when he brought the drugs into China. Just imagine - 4kgs of Heroine. How many lives are addicted as compare to 1 captured drug mule ?

Age, Skin Colour or Nationality for me is not the issue when a drug smuggler has been caught. Once caught, they have to face the tough drug sentence of that country.

A true Malaysian said...


This case surfaces again in media, the last attempt to save Yong's life.

Really shameful to be a human being sometime. People forget about 'Compassion'.

My stand remain, "No one has the rights to take away the other one's life, not even God, if you believe HE exists."

Sad, sad, sad.

Justin Choo said...

A true Malaysian,

What's the latest news? I am sure it's bad news.

Singapore is what it is today by virtue of its strict adherance to rules and regulations. I suppose you have to be brutal at times to maintain a good level of discipline. Otherwise look at pathetic Malaysia.

A true Malaysian said...

Go read Malaysiakini. Yong's lawyer, Ravi, final push for Malaysian government to interfere, but the sicko Nazri never heard of the case at all.


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