Happy Birthday, Vui Kong
By Rachel Zeng
About 80 friends gathered at Speakers’ Corner on Sunday to celebrate Yong Vui Kong’s 24th birthday with campaigners from We Believe in Second Chances and Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign. It was a good crowd comprising of both familiar and new faces.
Through his lawyer M Ravi, Vui Kong thanked everyone for coming together to celebrate his birthday and expressed that he would be meditating at the time of the event to be with us in spirit. In his speech, Ravi also told us that Vui Kong might have only a few more weeks left – a piece of news that was received by many of us with a heavy heart.
However we still hope for the best and will continue to commit to fighting against his (mandatory) death sentence as much as we can, along with our advocacy work for the abolishment of the death penalty in Singapore.
The following is a letter we have written to Vui Kong. It was read out by Damien from We Believe in Second Chance and signed by the attendees.
Dear Vui Kong,
Your story has touched us all and we have you in our thoughts. We are all gathered here today to celebrate your birthday. But we are also here to remember your life and what you have done, the good and the bad.
Vui Kong, no one here denies that you have made a mistake in life. It is a mistake that is grave, and it has probably affected the lives of others in ways that we cannot imagine.
But we simply cannot accept that the punishment you deserve is death.
Many who do not understand our cause will think that we are advocating for your release. That cannot be any more untrue. The second chance that we want your to have is a second chance at making things right. What can be better if you can help us prevent many others from stepping down the same path as you did. What better way to solve the drug problem than to educate, and to make people aware. This you have promised to do. And we want to help you fulfil that promise.
To those who think that executing you, and the many others on death row, would help solve the drug problem, we can only hope that they can place themselves in your position, and realise the difficulties you faced which eventually led you to make that horrible mistake. If they could only know you and your story, maybe they will change their minds , maybe they will think again.
Its is a difficult road to go through, but we are all behind you.
We also want you to know that your love for your mother has touched us all. Vui Kong, do not worry, we have her in our thoughts as well.
Happy birthday Vui Kong.