Thursday, June 02, 2011

A letter from Death Row - Sabahan Yong Vui Kong

Abolish Death Penalty - one of the 7 letters written by Sabahan Yong Vui Kong who is on death row... (Go to Malaysiakini to see the other letters...)

Yong Vui Kong
Jun 2, 11

Sabahan Yong Vui Kong, 21, is on death row in Singapore for drug trafficking. Malaysiakini is publishing Yong's final letters to Yetian, a member of the Save Vui Kong Campaign, in the next few weeks as he faces death.

Entering June, some of us must be looking forward to celebrating Father's Day. Even though everyone maybe hard at work, I hope that all of us will find time to go back and visit our fathers.

In 1993, while I was still very young, my father left my mother. All of us siblings were very angry and upset because my mother was left alone to fend for herself.

We blamed dad for being so cold-hearted in abandoning our family. We harboured hate, resentment and anger in our hearts. But we were young and there was nothing we could do, but feeling bitter about my father's action.

NONEI remember that back then we heaped all blame on my father (left). Only my eldest sister, Yoke Yin, understood, so apart from her, my father was estranged from the rest of his children. But even though we were young, we also knew that these were grown-up matters, and it was not easy for us to judge.

To me, my father's leaving was unfair to my mother, because from then on my mother had to take on the burden of supporting the family alone. She had to take care all of us, and because of that, at a young age, we siblings had to be separated.

I still remember one morning before class, my mother failed to wake me up and I overslept. Because of that, my mother got a beating from my grandfather. I hid in a corner and I was very afraid, but I really wanted to use my body to shield my mother. I cried and vowed to go out to work as soon as possible so I could take my mother away from this harsh place.

I believed that if my father had been around, my mother would not have been beaten. But this was so long ago, and things have changed - studying and learning Buddhist philosophy has enabled me not to be angry with my father and grandfather.

Parents are very important. Everyone needs their parents, who are bound to us by blood.

I don't know how my father sees his marriage with mother. Perhaps he thought that it was a mistake from the beginning, or he just felt that it was a responsibility on his part. But in the eyes of the children, without him we would not have been born into this world.

My dad came to see me

NONEAfter entering prison, my father (right) came to see me a few times. He looks much older now. He cried often when we met. I know he blames himself. As for me, I have let go of the past resentment. In my heart, I only have gratitude.

I also have a godfather. He is a good friend of my father. He pitied me and took me into his home for about two years. I am also grateful to him. I heard that because of my case, he was very upset and wrote an open letter to plead for leniency on my behalf.

To them, I would like to say “Happy Father's Day”, and please forgive me.

My brother, Yun Leong, came to see me after he went back to our hometown in Sabah, and I kept asking him to tell me how our mother was. My mother must have thought, “Vui Kong is in prison to search for enlightenment.”

I hope that she will always think this. I hope that she will be well for the rest of her days. I remember that I promised myself to give my mother a good life. I have failed. This responsibility must now go to my sisters and brothers.

Yun Leong told me that mother's illness has improved recently - that she did not need to take so much medication and she was always smiling. I was very glad to hear this.
NONEAlthough I could not see my mother (right in photo) smiling, I am happy to hear this from my brother. Whether my mother will find out about my real situation in the end (that I'm on death row), we will let things take its course.

Yetian, the Singapore's president will make his decision soon. Whether it is good or bad, I hope that everyone will accept it. We must work hard not to let the next young person walk down the path I have taken.

Of course, I hope that the Malaysian government too can help other death row inmates because some of them do not deserve to die.

My family must be very upset as I have let them down. Because of me, they are going through a lot of pain. Yetian, even if you are working hard, remember to at least make a phone call to your family.

YONG VUI KONG, a Sabahan, was sentenced in November 2009 to death for drug trafficking. He was 19. On April 4, Yong lost his final appeal against a mandatory death sentence. He will be executed in three months unless he is granted clemency by Singapore's president.

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