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Chieng Vui Leng
17th January 2006, 06:57 AM
I have studied in Australia for a year, and one of the electives I did in my Foundation Year was Environment and Development, which is an evolution of Geography. Human Rights is a very big chapter there, and my esteemed lecturer, Ms Rose De La Cruz, highlighted its importance in this day and age.

The recent Nguyen Tuong Van saga in Singapore, which was covered extensively in the media last year, highlighted to me how Human Rights is being undermined, even by developed countries.

Nguyen was hanged on 2 Dec last year in Singapore for drug smuggling. He was arrested while in transit in Singapore in December 2002 for carrying 396.2g of heroin. He is not a serial drug smuggler but was only trying to help his twin brother, Khoa, settle his legal debts.

I, who studied in Singapore for ten years, was saddened and shocked by this whole episode. Singapore, a first world country, still practises the death penalty. No doubt what Nguyen did was wrong, but two wrongs don't make a right. Put it this way: killing is wrong. It is just so wrong.

I quote from Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person," and Article 5, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." The death penalty contravenes these both.

Don't get me wrong here; I do not condone drug smuggling, but life is too precious to be taken needlessly, on the gallows, a throwback to less a civilized past that degrades all involved. This grotesque, anachronistic method is consistent in suiting the authoritarian mindset that Singapore's modern rulers are yet to break free of. As a deterrent, it is a failure.

The death penalty is wrong, no if's, no but's. Today, with the outragreous exception of the USA, nations where political power depends on the electoral assent of the governed are likely to have abandoned capital punishment.

The Singapore government has shown to be brutal, pitiless and inhumane. This case has been made particularly monstrous by the appearance in the newspapers of the hangman himself talking merrily. Even without these hideous elements the execution would be repungant; with them it becomes unspeakable.

Nguyen's execution is the outcome of an extremely warped legal process, an act sanctioned by a stubborn, hard-hearted oligarchy. Even two popes, namely Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II could not move the Singapore government.

On the other hand, John Howard did not make much of an effort. He and his government could have done much more to help Nguyen. According to Robert Richter QC, "We all know that the Singapore government is susceptible to pressure; it has not been pressured at all." Howard flatly refused to impose trade sanctions on Singapore, and he even had the nerve to attend some damn crikcet match on the day of Nguyen's execution.

Some people have the cheek to claim that the amount of heroin Nguyen was carrying is enough for 26000 doses. But you can't compare it that way; It is the drug addicts' choice whether they want to take the drugs or not. Nguyen was only trying to help his brother.

"I'm just moved for his mother," one woman told the Sydney Morning Heald through tears. "I can't imagine the pain, the devastation. Not having been able to hug him for the last time... I wish they would go after the big fish of the drug trade, instead of these poor desperate young people."

Van Nguyen is beyond whatever suffering he has gone through. We live with the legacy of the most horrible, brutal and obscene killing which takes the name of law, but which will never bear the name of justice.

I attended the service at St Ignatius Catholic Church at the day and time of his execution, and at the end of the service, the lady sitting next to me saw that I was upset, and put her arm around me, saying "This is the beginning of the end; we will now push for the abolition of the death penalty in Singapore and the rest of the world. This is the beginning of the end."

Rose, my E&D lecturer, told me that she was very proud of me for showing my support for Nguyen, and encouraged me to join Amnesty International as a volunteer, and campaign for the rights of fellow human beings.

Though we failed to save Nguyen from the atrociousness of capital punishment, his death may be the turning point towards the end of judicial murder throughout the world.

I swear to do my part to fight for this cause.

--

Discuss this and other related issues here.

Silver_Persian
18th January 2006, 03:22 AM
The world is overpopulated. Culling is the only way the human race will survive.

MToolen
18th January 2006, 07:59 AM
I believe he's trying to say that, although death's going to happen, no one should be in charge of whether someone should live or die. If such power is asserted, it becomes attributed to that person and history has shown, currently shows, and will show that power corrupts.

Unfourtunately, though, it was right there in front of him. Nguyen knew that what he did was greatly illegal and that getting caught would result in the charge that was executed against him. As pure as his motives were, I know that there might have been better options for him to have chosen. So, in review, killing=bad but Nguyen knew it would happen and did it anyway.

Chieng Vui Leng
19th January 2006, 06:30 AM
Nguyen knew that what he did was greatly illegal and that getting caught would result in the charge that was executed against him.

Lots of people have told me this. But, Nguyen was desperate. His twin brother Khoa had incurred huge legal debts for attempted murder, and Nguyen only wanted to help.

The law itself is screwed. If Nguyen did murder someone brutally, fair enough. But 396.2g of heroin? Preposterous. The law should at least be made more flexible and open to debate i.e. not so rigid as to have mandatory death penalty for 15g of drugs or more. If they must kill, they should at least do it by lethal injection, not by hanging.

As a Malaysian and Singapore PR who has studied there for a decade, I feel that capital punishment for drug smuggling is very wrong. It is just so wrong. I can't believe some people, mainly Singaporeans, still show support for their government in this case. I know for a fact that they are brainwashed. Even in school we learned about how wonderful the PAP (ruling party) is. So wonderful that they make it very difficult for the opposition, such as not granting them any access to the media.

We need change.

Roy Karrde
19th January 2006, 02:40 PM
Well for one I wouldn't call it brainwashed, that is insulting to several of our members here that live in Singapore, and it is a very narrowminded view to take on someone that has a opposite view point than yours. Second I think we discussed this topic before just a month or so ago and came to a consensis that it is a deturent to drug smuggling in that country since drugs are almost non existant there.

Now finally onto the reason I am postings. You obviously have strong feelings about this law, and you must know that it most likely will not go down in Singapore with out outside influence. So would you support a embargo of imports and exports to and from your country from Singapore to try and strike down this law? Or maybe a freeze on all Singapore assets in your country? My point is how far will you go to basically inforce your beliefs on a people who do not share those beliefs?

phaedrus
19th January 2006, 05:26 PM
The world is overpopulated. Culling is the only way the human race will survive.


you're quite malthusian. you know how shortsighted that is?

well, on this issue, obviously that was wrong. the only thing that can happen is to only hope that there will be change. i personally think this is a case of douchebaggery on both parts (strict law, not even obeying it [i.e. just smuggle in 14.9 g, etc])

i can't say the government did the right thing, but i can't say that the executed did the right thing either.

Heald
19th January 2006, 05:51 PM
Now finally onto the reason I am postings. You obviously have strong feelings about this law, and you must know that it most likely will not go down in Singapore with out outside influence. So would you support a embargo of imports and exports to and from your country from Singapore to try and strike down this law? Or maybe a freeze on all Singapore assets in your country? My point is how far will you go to basically inforce your beliefs on a people who do not share those beliefs?How do we know that these are the true beliefs of the people? For all we know, they are just following the crowd because the penalty for opposing government policy is death, and people would rather be sheep than corpses.

But anyway, sure, lets leave people to their own devices. Look at Burma (now Myanmar), it has been taken over the military who are imposing their will. What if they think they have a population problem and start killing all boys under two years old? Sure, an infringement of human rights, but never mind basic human ethics, these people believe slaughtering innocent infants is fine, so we shouldn't force our beliefs on them.

Yes, the UN or the US shouldn't go around acting like world police, but then again, measures should be taken against countries who are abusing their own people with the threat of death. Remember, Hitler did this, no one interfered, and look where that led to.

Roy Karrde
19th January 2006, 06:04 PM
If you want to know how the people of Singapore view this then I suggest that you talk to Dark-San, Heald. Some of the things that he brought up in the last topic and I quote.


Let me say a few words regarding this incident. As a Singaporean, I find it nothing wrong in our judgement. Harsh penatlies are there to be held in the first place to make the its citizens as well as foreigners to think twice before acting out the crime.

and


I am a Singaporean and I've been here for 21 years. Long enough to see that it is the harsh sentences in our law system that contribute to the fact that we have one of the lowest crime rate around.

For more information I would suggest taking a look at the original topic, in which this exact same thing was discussed. I'll post a link at the bottom of my post. Now these people truely believe that their law is keeping drugs off the streets, and the facts back that up. It is their decision to debate it and they choose to embrace it from what Dark-San says. And in reality he is the only one here that should even have a valid opinion on this topic since it effects him and none of us.

http://www.pokemasters.net/forums/index.php?topic=43244.0 <- Original Topic.

Razola
19th January 2006, 11:14 PM
I believe he's trying to say that, although death's going to happen, no one should be in charge of whether someone should live or die.Says who? You? I didn't realize you had such authority in such matters.

I wonder how many lives Nguyen Tuong Van would have ruined with those drugs.

EDIT: I love how you all just say the Death Penalty is wrong. No reason; it just fucking is. Well, I say being locked in a cell past the prime years of your life, with the possibility of being released only when old and useless, is cruel.

GET RID OF THE IMPRISONMENT PENALTY.

Razola
19th January 2006, 11:23 PM
Remember, Hitler did this, no one interfered, and look where that led to.I invoke Goodwin's Law.

Heald
20th January 2006, 11:57 AM
I invoke Brannigan's Law.

Also, Godwin's Law is stupid as hell. It implies that Nazi Germany was the only evil regime in history. What about Stalinist Russia? Saddam's Iraq? Rumsfeld's Iraq? The fact that it was brought to the Internet by sad internet nerds on Usenet merely dilutes its effectiveness.

Godwin's Law is overruled, due to the fact it is stupid as hell.

Also, my comparison was just. Godwin's Law only applies if you say something stupid such as 'Hitler had a moustache' in reply to someone saying they had a moustache. The Singapore government locked up dissenters; Hitler locked up dissenters. That is just.

Anyway, Raz, no one is saying the death penalty is wrong, per se, but that in cases such as opposing the government or drug trafficking, the death penalty is not entirely appropriate.

Magmar
20th January 2006, 04:18 PM
If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Anyone wanna argue with me?

Razola
21st January 2006, 12:28 AM
Anyway, Raz, no one is saying the death penalty is wrong, per se, but that in cases such as opposing the government or drug trafficking, the death penalty is not entirely appropriate.
The original poster has explicitly stated that the Death Penalty is flatout wrong.

And the nice thing about Goodwin's law is that it ends threads.

Chieng Vui Leng
24th January 2006, 05:55 AM
And in reality Dark-San is the only one here that should even have a valid opinion on this topic since it effects him and none of us.


Excuse me, Dark-San isn't the only one. As I mentioned earlier I am a Singapore PR and studied there for ten years, which is slightly more than half my life at present (No prizes for guessing my age), and the only reason why they are so supportive of the hanging is because most of them only read their local newspapers. I would have taken that stand too, had I been in Singapore at that time. But I was in Australia. The other day I spoke with my friend, who is Singaporean and a psychologist, and she told me that the media in Singapore is very biased. When she read the Australian papers online she found a totally different story.



I wonder how many lives Nguyen Tuong Van would have ruined with those drugs.


Like I said, you can't compare it that way. If the drug addicts wish to take drugs it's their choice. Nguyen was only trying to help his brother settle his legal debts by being a mule. Just because he wasn't able to bring the heroin into Melbourne doesn't mean other people won't.



The original poster has explicitly stated that the Death Penalty is flatout wrong.


Well yes, in a way. Look at Australia, even a murderer only gets 25 years. But if the death penalty MUST be imposed, in exceptional circumstances for, let's say, a serial murderer, it should be carried out by lethal injection, not by hanging. It's painless, at least, rather than death by strangulation.

Honestly....

Magmar
24th January 2006, 06:38 AM
I guess it doesn't matter how they kill him though. Once he's dead, he's not going to care, right?

Gavin Luper
24th January 2006, 07:01 AM
I think there is a pretty decent argument for saying that the Death Penalty is, in essence, wrong; after all, if one argues that it is morally wrong to kill another man, then surely the death penalty is simply murder masquerading under the guise of justice?

I remember we had a discussion on this when it was current, about two months ago now, and I remember thinking it was incredibly unfair that Nguyen's mother wasn't allowed a goodbye hug. And that he was hanged, as opposed to some kind of so-called "humane" method. These things, I think, reflect some kind of lack of compassion in the governments of countries that still employ these barbaric measures; these things, I believe, need to change.

On the whole, I have to say I am against the Death Penalty - largely because of the moral dilemma of killing another man, but also because of the innocent plea: I mean, you can't repeal a death sentence once it has been carried out on an innocent person, and there are mistakes like that made every year in the world. (Having said that, though, I cannot help but think that some cases do warrant an execution, however contradictory that sounds; however, I suppose this is not an issue to worry about until the time comes.)

Having spoken about the injustice of this case, Nguyen made a foolish error. No matter what he thought he was doing to help his brother out, he would surely have known the consequences. It was a really stupid move to smuggle drugs, especially with all the publicism of Schapelle Corby's case and the like. (Speaking of Schapelle, she's recently had her prison sentence reinstated to 20 years from the reduced 15 ... tough break for her.)

Anyway, I am certainly hoping that, somehow, people can all make a difference to this cause by putting pressure on the governments of these countries. I, for one, think it is necessary to do so in order to put an end to this kind of disproportionate sentence.

Dark-San
24th January 2006, 08:26 AM
Excuse me, Dark-San isn't the only one. As I mentioned earlier I am a Singapore PR and studied there for ten years, which is slightly more than half my life at present (No prizes for guessing my age),

[b][size=3]I am choosing to remain quiet. But I could no longer stand this anymore. Firstly you are a Singapore PR and here only for 10 years. As of now, you are only based in Australia so there are many things you cannot presume. I am a Singaporean here for the last 22 years. I too cannot presumed anything that the Australia media writes about. Besides there are also like 2 more Singaporeans here and I hope they could air their views. First is our very own TCG mod, Roarkiller and the other is Jess who is also another TCG regular.



and the only reason why they are so supportive of the hanging is because most of them only read their local newspapers. I would have taken that stand too, had I been in Singapore at that time.

[b][size=3] I admit I do buy and read the local newspaper mainly because of the in-depth editorals they have written in their sports section. However I usually only get my main news from CNN websites. So I belong to the minority.



The other day I spoke with my friend, who is Singaporean and a psychologist, and she told me that the media in Singapore is very biased. When she read the Australian papers online she found a totally different story.

[b][size=3] Everyone is entitled to their own views. Even CNN have a different version.



Like I said, you can't compare it that way. If the drug addicts wish to take drugs it's their choice. Nguyen was only trying to help his brother settle his legal debts by being a mule. Just because he wasn't able to bring the heroin into Melbourne doesn't mean other people won't.

[b][size=3] Like I say in the previous topic, he made the wrong choice and would have to pay the price.

The general elections are going for your information. If you are asking me, I would say I will still vote for the same party. After all, there is not any opposition party yet at the moment that had prove to me that they are capable of managing Singapore and protecting her interests.

Chieng Vui Leng
24th January 2006, 09:46 AM
[b][size=3]I am choosing to remain quiet.

By posting a reply, you are not remaining quiet.



[color=chocolate][b][size=3]But I could no longer stand this anymore. Firstly you are a Singapore PR and here only for 10 years. As of now, you are only based in Australia so there are many things you cannot presume. I am a Singaporean here for the last 22 years. I too cannot presumed anything that the Australia media writes about.

10 years is a decade, and that is a long time. I am turning 18 this June, and 10 years is 55% of my life. Long enough to know the culture in Singapore. And I'm not exactly based in Australia, I have only been there for a year and I still return to Malaysia and/or Singapore during the holidays.



[b][size=3] I admit I do buy and read the local newspaper mainly because of the in-depth editorals they have written in their sports section. However I usually only get my main news from CNN websites. So I belong to the minority.

[b][size=3] Everyone is entitled to their own views. Even CNN have a different version.


Well, I respect your opinion, even though I don't agree. So yeah.



[b][size=3] Like I say in the previous topic, he made the wrong choice and would have to pay the price.


Like I said, two wrongs don't make a right. And capital punishment is not proportionate to drug smuggling.



[b][size=3]The general elections are going for your information. If you are asking me, I would say I will still vote for the same party. After all, there is not any opposition party yet at the moment that had prove to me that they are capable of managing Singapore and protecting her interests.


Yeah, but I didn't ask you.

Dark-San
24th January 2006, 09:58 AM
[b][size=3] Yeah Chieng, I can understand your disappointment in the political scenes in Singapore.

However in life, you always have to learn to take and give. You have to keep in mind that the political stage in Singapore is still in it's infant stage (Singapore is only in her thirties). As of now like I mentioned in my previous post, presently the government may be strict about certain rules but what had they given us in return?

A world class airport that matches the world's best, the world most busiest port and also probably the most efficient education system. These are some of the benefits that the present government had gained based on the system that they had built on.

There are not any oppositions that can really prove to me that they can manage Singapore better than the present government or at least protect her interest.

Give us some time, we will change and go forward with the global trend. If we rush into these changes, in the end we will bound to make mistakes. And we have noone but ourselves to be blame for these mistakes.

I certainly hope I have make myself clear. If you have any more issues, you can pm me directly.

Chieng Vui Leng
26th January 2006, 01:42 AM
The original poster has explicitly stated that the Death Penalty is flatout wrong.


Yes, the death penalty is flatout wrong. I reiterate, from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Artcle 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person; and Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Check this out:
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/189948/1/.html.

I am currently in Singapore, and I read their newspapers this morning, going against my principles. And I was extremely saddened at what I read.

Mr Took has a wife and three-year-old son, and they and his parents are extremely devastated. You should have seen their tear-stained faces in the papers. The sad thing about it is that he didn't even do it, according to him. His father now regrets advising him to turn himself in, as he didn't think it would turn out this way.

Only people without compassion for a fellow human being would ever think of imposing the death penalty. At any rate the law shouldn't be so rigid. Or if you look at Australia, the penalty for murder is 25 years behind bars. Even if he did murder Huang Na, two wrongs don't make a right.

It seems to me that in Singapore, there is no such thing as compassion nor pity.

Magmar
26th January 2006, 06:48 AM
Fate is cruel. Life is not worth living.

*slits wrist*


Don't... take this the wrong way, but if you're against it so much, do something about it. Protest it, organize something. There's a whole 2 (maybe 3 or 4) active TPMers from Singapore, and you're one of them. We can't do much. Your opposition of the death penalty rather contradicts what you posted in your 'pain of rejection thread', which is quoted right above this.

Chieng Vui Leng
26th January 2006, 08:28 AM
Don't... take this the wrong way, but if you're against it so much, do something about it. Protest it, organize something. There's a whole 2 (maybe 3 or 4) active TPMers from Singapore, and you're one of them. We can't do much. Your opposition of the death penalty rather contradicts what you posted in your 'pain of rejection thread', which is quoted right above this.


I was just upset then okay? Is it a crime? And protesting is illegal in Singapore. I guess I'll have to wait till I return to Australia.

Razola
1st February 2006, 03:44 AM
Yes, the death penalty is flatout wrong. I reiterate, from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Artcle 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person; and Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment....and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the ultimate authority; neither infallible nor prone to change.

Yeah...

EDIT: Now, protesting being illegal. That's several flavors of fucked-up.