The 21-year-old Sabahan, Yong Vui Kong, sentenced to death by Singapore’s High Court for trafficking 47 grammes of heroin had his Singapore lawyer Ravi taking his own initiative to visit Sandakan to meet up with Yong’s mother. So nice of Ravi and all the Singaporeans who came along with him for the visit.
Who said Singaporeans are like machine and heartless? I have my cousins from my mothers side who are Singaporeans and they are beautiful people and so is Ravi and all other Singaporeans who have taken special interest in Yong. Before I forget, need to give a word of thanks to Rachel Zeng the activist from Singapore, who is so passionate about dignity of human life and has taken so much interest in Yong’s predicament and she has put a lot of us to shame for not doing enough for our fellow humans. I too like Rachel believe that the death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights and it is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state and its cruel, inhuman and this degrading punishment is done in the name of justice, it violates the right to life.
See below Ravi’s meeting with Yong’s mother in Sandakan.
We visit on our third day in Sandakan. She looks surprised to see so many of us. But we’re even more taken aback by the state of her little two-bedroom flat. Vui Fung had told us earlier that she lives alone. We’d half-expected her home to be gloomy and untidy. But the place is immaculately kept. Clean, and bright and airy. There are photos of her children and grandchildren everywhere. A large, framed family portrait takes pride of place in the living room.
We’re all nervous about meeting her. Terrified we’d somehow let slip what she must not be told – that Vui Kong, her youngest son, sits on death row. We’d all heard her heartbreaking story. We know of her mental illness, her struggles as an impoverished single mother, her visit last year to Changi Prison, to see Vui Kong just two days before he was originally scheduled to hang. He had told her he was going away to seek penance for his sins and that he would never ever return.
That narrative had confused me back then. Did she really buy the story? Surely, a mother must know?
Meeting her now, I finally understand why Vui Kong felt he had to protect his mother from the truth. It is impossible to have a conversation with her. She hardly says a word. Doesn’t acknowledge anyone’s questions. It is as if she’s living in her own little bubble, a bubble you dare not burst. Vui Fung blames it on anti-depressants.
“They make her sleepy and slow.”
But her older kids don’t want to wean her off the pills – they’re afraid she might sink back into depression and try to kill herself again.
The previous day, we’d visited their old house, a two-storey building in the middle of an oil palm plantation. No one lives there now. It’s where the family keeps their unwanted junk.
Inside a room full of odds and ends, Ravi (Vui Kong’s lawyer) found an old cupboard full of children’s things. Her children’s things. Vui Kong’s mother had carefully preserved his old textbooks. Primary 1 to Primary 4. He’d dropped out of school after that, to find work in the city.
We found Yun Leong’s report card. He was an excellent student. If only he had kept on studying. We found an old school t-shirt and tiny shorts. All meticulously packed away.
See the rest Here