I first saw Yong Vui Kong on the 15th of March 2010, when I went to his appeal hearing on the constitutionality of the Mandatory Death Penalty (MDP) for drug trafficking in Singapore. I had read up about his case, just to get some background information before the hearing, and I already had a list of logical reasons why I disagreed with the MDP. But it was that day, seeing him in the flesh, a slight young boy flanked by two solemn-looking policemen, that I decided to go all in with the campaign to save his life.
Since then, it has been a total roller-coaster. Like everyone else involved, I have been hopeful, desperate, angry, upset, frustrated, exhilarated, encouraged, discouraged, depressed… you name it. We have seen distressing verdicts from the courts, such as the Court of Appeal’s ruling that the Singapore Constitution does not prohibit “inhuman punishment”, or the High Court’s decision that the President does not have discretion in granting presidential clemency. We have come together to voice out our support for Vui Kong at Speakers’ Corner, and cried with the family as they submitted their petition signatures to the Istana. We wrote articles, we took photos, we blogged… anything and everything we could think of doing, we did, in the hope that it would all count for something, and that a boy’s life could be saved.
I have written so much about Vui Kong and the campaign against the mandatory death penalty that there is barely anything more that I can say. A lot of work went into the making of this documentary, and I believe his story speaks for itself.
At the end of it all, it just boils down to this: is it really right for us to kill this boy? Will it solve anything? And what would his execution say about the sort of people we are?
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