Yong Vui Kong is a death row inmate in Singapore. He was arrested at age 19 with 47.27g of heroin, convicted of trafficking and sentenced under the Mandatory Death Penalty. His final appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on 4 April 2011. He can now only plead for clemency from the President (acting on the advice of the Cabinet).
If the President does not grant clemency to Vui Kong, these will be the last 12 letters he will ever write.
The following is the sixth letter:
他叫伟忠，我最后一次见面的时候是他的生日庆典上，没想到那时竟然是最后一次的见面；在我叛逆时期，他是我身边最亲的朋友。来到吉隆坡的时候，有人还因为我们的样子和体格相似，以为我们是亲兄弟 – 15年了，我们一起住过，一起认识新朋友，一起吃饭走街。
生活在社会许久，却不比伟光监狱里的4年修行，他的冷静看待世间事，和成熟看待自己的案件，对于教育别人的执著 – 我承认自己是做不到的。
每次听到运良转诉伟光的言语，我都强忍着自己的心情；本来我想批判新加坡的狠心对待，但伟光却不停的督促我不要以恨处事 – 到底有谁能够好像他这样？
难道一条忏悔过的生命就要如此结束？被陷害运毒的人 = 死？
The Sixth Letter : Friendship and Hope
Today I would like to talk to everyone about my hopes, and about a friend who is as close to me as my own brother.
Actually, when I first entered prison, “hope” was something that I thought of often. At that time my hopes included:
Hoping to be able to see my family, friends, godfather and others.
Hoping that I will be able to leave prison.
Hoping that I don’t have to be able to die.
But now my wishlist has changed.
My greatest hope is to be able to tell everyone that if they have the chance, they should adopt the right faith, and to understand and learn: I am a student of the dharmas, learning from the basic philosophies up till a certain level before studying more!
To learn how to gain inner peace, and to learn to help my fellow man.
Of course, I hope that I can really be ordained as a monk.
I really hope that the drug trade can disappear from the world, because drugs harm many. Perhaps drug dealers are reading my letters, perhaps they think that I am trying to spoil their market, but what I want to say is, even if you can obtain happiness from drugs now, drugs will cause you to lose your senses, and because of drugs you will feel pain and unhappiness, and end up in the same situation as I am in.
Drugs are a type of ever-changing symbol: they symbolise a happiness that is short-lived.
Drugs are things that hurt people: it ruins lives, families, societies, faiths, etc.
I also want to say that although I am a death row inmate, I hope that society can use me as an example. I want to say that even thought the death penalty is an old law, we don’t know if the death penalty can really control crime.
If I have the chance to meet everyone even just once, I would like to tell everyone about Buddhist philosophy.
This is my hope.
Yetian, in the previous few letters I never mentioned my friend. Please let me tell you about my “brother” and his case.
His name is Wei Zhong. The last time we met it was his birthday celebration, and we never thought that it would have been our last meeting; at the time of my sentencing, he was my best friend. When I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, people used to think that we were really brothers, because we look alike – for 15 years we lived together, made new friends, ate and wandering the streets together.
Knowing him is my greatest honour, or perhaps one can say that it’s my good fortune earned through many years: just like many people have good friends and brothers, my “brother” is him.
But many people have mistakenly befriended the wrong sort of people, just like how I met the wrong “friends” at the time, leading me to my current situation.
If there are any mothers or fathers reading this letter, please tell your children, “Don’t be like Yong Vui Kong, don’t follow a path that you will regret.” We need to have the right sense to differentiate between what we should and should not do. In the past I was confused, with no rules in my life. Now I am very clear about what I should do.
Actually, as I’ve said before, you are both a stranger and a friend, like many others are strangers and friends to me: I have never seen them nor met them, but everyone is still willing to help me without complaint, and so I treat everyone as my brothers and sisters.
All right, today I will stop here. I am looking forward to next Monday. I want to tell society more about my story.
Note from Yetian:
Vui Kong and my letters have shown Vui Kong’s understanding of his case, as well as his calm. As his penpal, I feel very guilty.
I have lived in society for so long, and yet I am unable to be as calm, enlightened and mature as Vui Kong, who has been meditating in prison for 4 years.
Every time I listen to Yun Leong passing on messages from Vui Kong, I have to control my emotions: at first I wanted to condemn Singapore’s cruel treatment, but Vui Kong always tells me not to approach anything with hate – how many people can be like him?
Should a repentant life just end like this? Being manipulated into smuggling drugs = death?