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'Then and Now' Series, Yong Vui Kong

"A person who has a heart gives second chances."

I share something in common with Vui Kong. I have run afoul of the law before.

I will spare you the details of what happened to me, but I’m admitting this fact so that those who are reading this will know that I’m not shooting my mouth off.

Yes, I did not face the death penalty, but like Vui Kong, I went through the whole process of going to court for hearings and the whole mambo jumbo nonsense of the legal system.

I’m sure Vui Kong will agree with me that the process is very tiring and exhausting.

But I cannot imagine what is going through Vui Kong’s mind when he’s going through this whole process with the word ‘death penalty’ hanging over his head.

I remember vividly the fear and nervousness whenever I have to stand before a judge. I wasn’t there for Vui Kong’s hearings, but I am also sure he shares the same feeling with me.

The toll that the trial took on my family was laid bare for all to see when my parents broke down after my sentencing.

It is different for Vui Kong’s family because of the media’s interest and spotlight on this case. There is no private moment for them to grieve after every hearing. One can only imagine how much they are suffering.

3 years is a long time. Unlike Vui Kong, I didn’t have to wait so long to hear my sentence. I was in a way given a second chance with a relatively light sentence.

3 years on, I’m thankful for the second chance that I received.

Because as a Cell Leader to a group of very young teenagers in my church, I’m able to teach them what is right and what is wrong to prevent them from walking down the path that Vui Kong and I once took.

I changed because I was given a second chance. We need to believe that Vui Kong will change too, after going through what he has gone through.

Is giving him a second chance too much to ask for?

To the judges, lawyers and whoever is involved in this case, all I can say is: A person who has a heart gives second chances.

Written by: Shawn Lim


This piece was written as part of We Believe In Second Chances’ Then And Now series, where people share their personal experiences and reflect on how they have changed from when they were young (or younger), or how second chances have helped them.

If you would like to share your own story, please do. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you live or how “boring” you think your life is – everyone has his or her own experience and everyone has a story. There is no word limit, and don’t worry about your language/writing skills – this is not a composition test!

Please send in your pieces to webelieveinsecondchances@gmail.com.



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