Friday, August 27, 2010

Yong Vui Kong and Death Penalty

Referring to Yong Vui Kong's plea for clemency to the Singaporean President, here's my opinion. According to Buddhism, human life is very precious and must be allowed to live on until its natural death. And what I say is true regardless of our nationality or the nationality of the criminal. So, it does not matter if Yong is not a Malaysian. My opinion would still be the same. There are other ways to deal with crime and convicts than imposing the death penalty right away. I think the death penalty should only be considered as a last resort instrument to control hardened and repeat criminals/offenders that would pose serious harm to the lives of many others should he not be put to death.

If you need to punish, give him a public caning and that will give people the fear of pain. Should consider even showing it on TV. Vui Kong may fear death but other criminals may not. Look at so many suicide bombers. They are so willing to die. So, for these people, death penalty may not be always the answer. However, punishing a person for their crime is one thing, but we also need to give people a chance or space to repent if it is sincere. We must not be so inflexible until there is no chance at all for anyone to repent and be allowed to turn a new leave. For Vui Kong’s case, of course he deserves punishment due to what he had done. But I think a life sentence and public caning will be sufficient to shame him for life. We must not be so obsessed with punishing a “criminal” until we forget to give him the opportunity to turn and transform him into useful persons.

In Buddhism, during the Buddha’s time, quite a few criminals were turned into good persons. For example, the notorious Angulimala. The Buddha converted him into a good person and taught him to do good deeds. He wasn’t obsessed with punishing evil people. But of course, in the end Angulimala still suffered his own karma, but that is after he got his chance to achieve liberation. He achieved Arahantship.

So let’s give Vui Kong a chance to transform the evil deeds that he had done first. Even a murderer like Angulimala got a chance from the Buddha. And even Milarepa, who is a murderer, got a chance to turn over and eventually he become an enlightened yogi of Tibet. By becoming a good person, it is actually a better way to repay the sins he had committed to others. It does not truly help by sending a person to the gallows. The criminal learned nothing and evil will not be reduced. In his next life (since there is rebirth in Buddhism), he might turn out to be evil again. So, evil will not be stopped until the person is positively transformed. Not hanged. Hence, only if he turns over a new leave, will evil be truly reduced. And with the right kin of transformation programme in prison, criminals in varying degrees of crime can truly changed positively from evil to good. By hanging Yong, this tranformation cannto be achieved. Only by converting his death sentence to life imprisonment can Yong truly have a chance in transformation.

If only there is a Buddhist jail for Buddhist prisoners.... where there is no death penalty but they need to show their sincerity, just like Milarepa had to work hard to carry those bricks up the hill to build the house. Once finished, to tear it down and take all those bricks down the valley. And to repeat the process many many times. People may regard that as punishment, but it is truly purification. Had Milarepa been sentenced to death, he would not have had the chance to purify his evil deeds. He would have been born in hell an suffer for aeons. So, the next time you support the death penalty, consider carefully where the person will be reborn into. If it is lower realm, it is better he/she stay alive to repent/purify. If it is higher realm, we have no worries whether he lives or dies. Of course, if they still show no remorse after giving them a chance (they must be monitored), they have themselves only to blame if the death sentence is impose as a final resort. But only as a final resort to hardened criminals. Is Vui Kong a hardened criminal? I don't think so. Is he a repeat offender? The answer is no. Hence, he still need to be given a chance. :)

So, please support Vui Kong’s clemency! If you are not sure what this is all about, just google "Yong Vui Kong" and you will know.

For further details, check out this link:

For goodness sake, the authorities should go after his former boss, i.e. the drug kingpin. If there's anybody that should be hanged, it's him! Vui Kong was only his sacrificial pawn. And one wonders how many other young boys who had been victimised by his former boss. Catch the real culprit. The drug kingpin is clearly unrepentant and hardened criminal, if there had been a history of him victimising young boys into drug trafficking. If such a hardened criminal is sent to hell with the death penalty, he will suffer more than any punishment or pain on Earth. If he can learn his lessons on Earth, he better learn it here, for the fire and torture in hell knows no mercy. But there is a clear need for hell as these people need to learn their lessons. If there is a clear need for hell, there will be similar need for the death penalty. But as I said, it need to be used only sparingly and only after evaluating that it is more compassionate to send him to hell to learn his lessons, after having failed to learn them after having been given a few chances and/or if life imprisonment fails to contain him/her. If such persons still pose a serious threat to many others, then the choice is clear. However, Yong Vui Kong clearly does not fall into this category of hardened criminals yet. Let's give him a chance!

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