Sunday, July 10, 2011

Letter 4: A Missed Mother's Day

Fourth letter from death row - a missed Mother's Day
May 12, 11 9:38am

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.

Yetian, without even noticing it, we have already exchanged four letters. Please let me express my gratitude to you, a kind-hearted stranger, for granting my wish. I may not have much more time to write, but I shall continue writing until my very last moment.

Today, let me share some of my experience in studying Buddhist philosophy.

I feel that every young person needs faith. Only with faith can you save yourself because a good religion, no matter if it's Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism, teaches you what is right and what is wrong. This, to me, is extremely important. When I was a rebel, I didn't have faith, and so I went astray and followed a path from which there is no return.

When I first got into prison, my sister gave me three books on Buddhism. These three books are a great help and are making a great impact on my thinking and my life.

Wisdom, compassion, morals, cultural enlightenment do not differentiate between race or age. If one works hard to learn, one will be able to reap the benefits.

Buddhism teaching has 84,000 dharma. If you wish to understand where I've started, let me tell you I began with the Earth Buddha, the scripture entitled 'Earth Buddha vows'. I started with the most basic scriptures, and I wish to reach a certain level of understanding before adding more. I am learning about being happy with what we have in life, learning about helping others.

yong vui kong buddha paintingI am not sure if you have seen my drawing of the Earth Buddha (right). At that point in time, I dreamt about the Earth Buddha and I was so calm. Since then, I am even more determined to learn Buddhist philosophy.

We can read a lot of books related to Buddhist teaching, but if we lack faith, we will not truly understand.

From that day on, I wake up early every morning to study the philosophy of the Earth Buddha. When I read about filial piety, my heart aches, because I have not been filial to my mother for so many years. I don't know if I still have a chance.

Mother's Day has come and gone

Mother's Day just gone by, right? Did everyone have a good meal with their mothers? My question is the same: "Will I have a chance to go home for a meal?"

NONEI do not have the chance to talk to my mother to calm her mind. My mother is ill, I cannot tell her about my impending punishment. That's why, Yetian, we have to cherish our family and friends.

Yetian, you told me that there was an Internet forum which discussed about me and some said that I wrote all these letters because I was afraid to die and that I wanted to save my life. I know you were angered by it, and so were many who have helped me. Don't be angry because it will cause us more grief.

Even though I am an inmate about to be executed, I wish to say that I am not an inmate who wastes time. I hope to use this time to educate more people. This is my hope, that in this last bit of time that I have left, I can do more meaningful things.

Studying Buddhist teachings allows me to understand about gratitude, and about what courage is. To me, this is the biggest experience I gained.

Do you still remember that in the first letter, I mentioned about my beads? They are made of flour and I have used them for a long time. When I use them I take good care of them because they are fragile, and might break if I squeeze too hard.

When I think about it, if a person is weak, and he takes good care of himself without being influenced by others, then this person can stay strong for a long time.

That's what we have to do in life. We have to be strong.

Before I stop, I would like to say a prayer for everyone, hoping that everyone is healthy, safe and happy.

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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