Ladies and Gentlemen,
Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's Minister Mentor; for those unfamiliar with this designation, it means his job is going around mentoring the elected government politicians; has repeatedly said, and claimed in a book that he wrote; that he had brought Singapore from being nothing more than a mangrove marshland to that of a first world country.
Personally, I don’t think it is first world at all. At best a very bad case of third world, is my judgment.
I base my judgment on the extreme brutality inflicted by the Singapore government on its citizens, in the name of the law, which should be unacceptable for any civilized country in this day and age.
First you have the hangings. Even though I am against hanging absolutely; there are quarters who claim that for certain egregious crimes such as serial killers, death penalty should be justified. The argument is that the victims have to be gratified by the death of these monstrous killers. Even though I am against death penalty as I said, perhaps some support can be made for this case.
Singapore on the other hand executes not only serial killers. They also execute petty drug moles even in cases where the amount is minimal in comparison. No justification can be made in modern jurisprudence that such executions have either rehabilitative effect; for obvious reasons since the man is dead and dead men cannot be rehabilitated; and neither is there any evidence that such executions amount to a deterrent, since most will agree that a long prison sentence is a much more effective deterrent than an execution; especially since we have been told that the Singapore executioner Mr. Darshan Singh has had so much experience in his gory work; that using the drop method, his prisoner will feel no more pain than a pin prick in death!
Lee Kuan Yew and his ruling People’s Action Party should stop claiming to be a first world country and admit that his country's proper position is somewhere between the ranking of Iran and Saudi Arabia; who by the way have the decency for not claiming to be first world countries; where they torture, maim and execute their citizens.
A recent case of execution for trafficking in drugs was the Australian Ngyuen Tong Van last year, just as hundreds of others like him. Ngyuen was a 23 year old Australian flying via Singapore airport en route from Phnom Penh to Melbourne. His body, when searched was found to be strapped with some heroine. There is not a single first world country that executes people for trafficking in drugs, the reasoning being that the death penalty is reserved only for murder, and not for property or regulatory offenses such as drug trafficking; since no one has been killed.
It is impossible to name a single first world country that resorts to this kind of punishment. The punishment clearly does not fit the crime. Nyugen did not kill anybody. Abstract arguments put out by the Singapore government to justify this legitimized barbarity; such as, drugs destroy the population and so on is nebulous and remote. Since there is no direct nexus between the severity of the punishment and the wrong doing, there is no legal or moral justification in killing in such a case. In any case, it offends the ordinary citizen's sense of decency. It certainly offends mine.
The late 23 year Ngyun has been put to death. He will never be rehabilitated. Had he been given a prison sentence and let off; perhaps one day he might have become the Mayor of Melbourne, if there is such a title there. That we will never know.
Had he been given a chance, Ngyun, the young man would be 24 today. What a pity.
Singapore, this so called first world country has the highest rate of executions in the world. They hang you for murder, for drug trafficking, for using a firearm and hurting someone even if they were not dead, and a series of offenses. At the rate that they hang people in Singapore; it is no wonder that the Singapore hangman has perfected the art of killing people without inflicting much pain on the victim. He obviously has had a lot of experience!
There are other forms of state sanctioned brutality too. In this self proclaimed first world country, they whip, or in Singapore parlance, “cane” offenders too. You will be caned by a professional caner at the Singapore Changi Prison for a series of offenses including such minor one's as overstaying in Singapore as a visitor and trying to illegally enter Singapore without permission.
Another minor offense, minor in the eyes of civilized people the world over, is vandalism, that is, writing graffiti on walls and other properties. In California, a boy who does this will get a fine and will have to undergo some correctional classes and promise not to do it again. But in Lee Kuan Yew's warped illogical thinking, it is not enough to merely give him a fine or even send him to prison. He has to be brutalized. He has to be caned. Extreme pain has to be inflicted. And it does not matter even if the boy was a mere teenager; as was the case with the poor boy Michael Fay who was whipped for this, vandalism!
Other more serious offenses where you will be caned are rape or molestation of women, robbery and other violent offenses.
For those who think caning is a mere spanking of the buttock to shame the offender; you cannot be more wrong. The intention is to inflict excruciating pain on the victim. The “caner”, if we could call the person administering the punishment by this term, is a professional who has undergone extensive training and specially selected for this purpose. On the day when the pain has to inflicted, the prisoner who is incarcerated, is brought from his cell, handcuffed, told to fully undress and naked, told to wear a towel to cover his genitals alone, then handcuffed again, and brought to a prison officer, who is seated next to a wooden contraption or a trestle, where the subject is to be caned.
This officer then announces to the prisoner that it is the court order that he be caned, perhaps 24 times. By the way, Michael Fay was caned 4 times. The number of strokes cannot exceed 24. The prisoner is then asked by the officer whether he understands this. After the prisoner responds in the affirmative, a number of prison officers then walk him to the wooden trestle where his towel is removed, and he is now completely naked. His wrists are tied above him to the wooden trestle, his feet slightly separated and tied to the trestle.
Some cloth padding is put over his thighs, hips and waist leaving only his buttocks exposed. Now the professional caner, with a rattan cane, that has been immersed in water the previous night, to keep it supple, the cane being about 6 feet long stands next to the prisoner.
Now the unimaginable brutality and cruelty begins. The idea is to inflict the maximum pain on the prisoner. An officer shouts out loudly "one" at which time, the professional caner raises his cane high over his head and strikes it hard, with maximum force across the bare buttocks of the prisoner. A single stroke has the effect of breaking the skin which causes immediate laceration and severe bruising and thereby drawing blood. After that the officer shouts out "two". The caner strikes again with full force, not caring whether his strike lands in the same line as the earlier stroke. The skin begins to tear even further and blood begins to flow. The prisoner cries out in pain and struggles to be free but there is nothing he can do. He is securely strapped. Then the officer shouts out "three". By this time, the prisoner's buttocks are thoroughly bloodied. Blood begins to flow freely down his legs. Need I go on to stroke number four, let alone stroke number twenty four?
And this punishment, mind you, in this so called first world country, is inflicted even for such offenses as overstaying your visitor visa in Singapore! You may be surprised, but it is true!
And by the way, the scars of those who have been brutalized at their buttocks so, remain for life, with some improvement only with surgery. I suppose Michael Fay, the hapless American boy, unlucky to have been at the wrong place at the wrong time; Singapore that is, has these scars on his buttocks, even today.
And all this for what? Has anyone got any better by all this brutality? I doubt it. It has only made those who have been subjected to such cruelty even more bitter and who eventually begin to hate this so called first world country, even more.
My advice to those who are intending to come to Singapore is to think twice. Singapore has more to it than meets the eye. If you really wanted to go to a first world country, go to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, because you never know what may befall you or your children.
Singapore does all this brutality within closed doors within the prison, hoping that people outside will continue with a false sense of security. Well sorry to Lee Kuan Yew because I and others like me are determined to let not only Singaporeans but the world know, what sort of unimaginable state sanctioned cruelty goes on behind your closed doors, behind the dreaded Changi Prison.
And lastly, don't forget. Singapore does not have a jury system in criminal trials. And furthermore, the impartiality of judges there is very much suspect!
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914