Sunday, July 10, 2011

Letter 11: Pay It Forward

Letter from death row: Pay it forward
Yong Vui Kong
Jul 4, 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.

This morning my brother brought the Buddhist books and amulets that Ely sent from America. I was elated.

Ely is, like me, someone who once had been rebellious. She was confused too and didn't know what her goals in life were, and she almost lost her life because of drugs.

But today Ely is a very positive girl. She said my story changed her outlook on life. She now actively participates in counselling and humanitarian programmes, and hopes to help other lost sheep like herself.

This is a letter she wrote to me, and I was very touched by it:

"You have given me lots of thing in the little time I've known you, but one thing you've given me that I never expected, and not many can do, is Life.

I don't think I ever had one till I heard of you. I only hope I can help get you yours back in return because nothing else is as valuable as your gift to me. I thank you for all that you did.

You have given me guidance and I will use it well and live it through till my very end. You opened my eyes, mind and heart and shown me what living truly is and that life is worth living.

You are my guide and I will pay it forward in your name for eternity. You will not go unheard. Indeed, I would take your place in a heart beat.

Your name is, and will always be, worth something to me. I will not let you down.

Thank you, Vui Kong. I love you.

Sincerely, Ely

I am very grateful and also very happy that my story can change others.

I am glad that I came to know Buddha and my life has changed greatly since then. I never imagined I could change Ely too. And this kind of fated mutual benefit is one of the most precious blessings between people.

From the time I was at Singapore's Queenstown Remand till now, my knowledge has grown. Apart from the opportunities to meditate in my cell, sharing views and feelings with my fellow inmates and wardens are also an important experience for me. We often talk about our views on life and Buddhism.

I often counsel my fellow inmates, the reason we don't have the physical freedom today is due to our choices, decisions, destiny and actions in the past, and now we are facing our self-inflicted fate.

To be happy is a choice

I often tell them to cherish the moment. To be happy is a choice that they can make. Take care of yourself, and also choose to be happy and do good. I also encourage everyone to study Buddhism and study the most difficult philosophies.

Buddha is really wise, he understands and knows all.

If a person's mind and soul does not have something real to rely on, he will have no hope in his present, future and next life, and will not be able to be at peace. Although I am ignorant in many things, I rely on Buddha's teachings and I do not feel that there is any problem that cannot be solved.

vui kong petition and letters 1Wisdom, compassion, morals and culture do not discriminate between race and age; as long as you study hard, you will get results. If you have a good view and principle in life, after a long time it will develop into your own concept, and with a perfect concept, your future will be very bright.

Lastly, I would like to share with you my favourite Buddhist hymn from 'Three Life Karma'.

"If you would like to know what happened in your past life, then look at what are your sufferings are in this present life.

"If you would like to know what are your fate will be in your future life, then look at what you have done in the present life."

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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