29 Nov 2005

Singapore denies Van Nguyen chewing gum as last meal

The following article from The Chaser is a spoof/satire/not real... It does however show Singapore in an extremely legalist light. One that tends to show itself in a number of the commentators attempted rejoinders to the death penalty being 'barbaric'. The "law is the law is the law", to quote one commentator. I am of the opinion that yes laws are necessary but they are not cast in 'absolutist terms' like the laws of physics can claim to be. Sometimes the law is an ass.

Tuesday, 29 November 2005

Van Nguyen risks being hanged a third time if authorities discover the graffiti he left on his cell wall Singapore has refused Nguyen Tuong Van’s request for chewing gum as his last meal, saying that to grant the condemned man’s wish could harm Singapore’s international reputation as a brutal but litter-free nation. “We’re more likely to give him clemency than the chance to litter,” said the superintendent of Changi prison Gong Chok Lee. “Besides, chewing gum is most uncivilised, even on death row.”

The superintendent says Nguyen’s request put authorities in a difficult position. “If we gave him the gum and he littered, we’d have to hang him twice” Gong explained. “And when someone is about to be executed, capital punishment is even an even less effective deterrent than it normally is.”

Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew has applauded the decision on Nguyen’s last meal, saying he hoped it would show the world that Singapore’s justice system is not just excessive and rigidly inflexible in relation to drug offences. Mr Lee also said the Singapore government should introduce the death penalty for criticism of the death penalty, threatening to sue anyone who disagreed with him for defamation.

Meanwhile in Australia, John Howard has been criticised for planning to attend the Prime Minister’s XI cricket match on the day Nguyen is scheduled to be executed. But the PM relented earlier today, formally asking the Singapore government the delay Nguyen’s execution until the lunch break.

Although Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has ruled out taking Singapore to the ICJ over Nguyen’s case, the PM is considering a last minute request to the ICC to change the schedule for the day’s cricket.

As the execution date nears, Nguyen’s supporters have made a last ditch effort to save him, engaging Michelle Leslie’s legal team to try and buy the condemned man out of trouble. Nguyen’s family have also appealed to Leslie’s millionaire boyfriend Scott Sutton to provide $AUD300,000 in “immediate emotional support.”


Anonymous said...

One man's death or the lives of hundreds?
Dear parliamentarians of Australia, .Many of you are concerned with the impending execution of Nguyen Tuong Van. You have also appealed to our Government to spare him. .Many Singaporeans understand your concern and compassion for him and his family. .I would like to share with you my personal observations after having served for nine years as president of the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting a drug-free Singapore and running both preventive education and rehabilitation programmes for drug addicts. .I have personally witnessed the scourge of heroin addiction destroying the lives of not only the addicts, but those of their spouses and children. The 396g of heroin that Nguyen Tuong Van carried would destroy hundreds of lives if sold in the drug market. .In the past, before we launched our concerted efforts against drugs, some drug pushers were caught "promoting" drugs outside the gates of some schools. We used to have to deal with heroin addicts as young as 12 years. But to drug syndicates, smugglers and pushers, they are only doing "business". To them, that innocent children and innocent people are hurt is incidental. .Today, the problem of drug addiction has been substantially eradicated from Singapore. Our children are able to walk our streets safely, without being offered drugs. We have been able to achieve this outcome and have a virtually drug-free Singapore because the community and the Government have been working together relentlessly to stamp out drugs. .We have a "zero tolerance" attitude towards drugs. .Reviewing our progress, we realise that one of the most important and effective measure adopted was the policy of dealing firmly and sternly with drug smugglers and pushers. The strong probability of being interdicted, coupled with the certainty of stern punishment, have served as strong disincentives and deterrence to drug traffickers. .The fact that our law imposes the capital punishment on drug traffickers caught with more than 15g of heroin discourages traffickers from carrying out their illicit activities, as they know they will lose their lives when they are caught. .This policy of capital punishment for such drug trafficking is widely communicated; every airline announces this to all passengers as their planes approach Singapore. .While many Singaporeans sympathise with the family of Nguyen Tuong Van, we also sympathise with and grieve for the many innocent spouses and children whose lives have been destroyed and made living hells by the drugs trafficked by people like Nguyen. .Nguyen has exhausted all his avenues for legal remedies, including his appeal for presidential clemency. It is a sad end for him and a sad outcome for his family. But we should all remember that he walked down this treacherous path voluntarily and of his own accord. He knew the danger. He took the gamble. .I hope this letter helps you to understand the feelings of the people of Singapore. .We maintain this anti-drugs policy to protect our society, our families and our children. It is not intended to insult or cast contempt on anyone. Australians and Singaporeans can and should remain close friends despite this unfortunate episode.
Dr Loo Choon Yong
This letter was sent by Nominated Member of Parliament and president of the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association, Dr Loo Choon Yong, to the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia via the Australian High Commissioner in Singapore yesterday. Dr Loo is also the executive chairman of Raffles Medical Group.

Anonymous said...

Article is not satirical..but rather..distasteful

Think Singaporean said...

Yes, nobody is disputing the fact that drug is harmful to beings. But if that is the case, why the sg govt is or perhaps was interested to invest such a huge amount of money in BILLIONS OF DOLALRS WITH THE DRUG LORDS IN THE FIRST INSTANCE if they jolly well know that it is so harmful?

And then, impose such a mandatory death penalty on small drug traffickers?

WHAT SORT OF PRINCIPLE IS THIS? How could they expect the citizens and others to respect such policy? It is an irony to me.

Inorder to clarify the whole matter, perhaps the govt could be more transparent and reveal their books since 1990 onwards to the citizens.