Sunday, July 10, 2011

Letter 6: My Greatest Hope

Letter from death row - my greatest hope
Yong Vui Kong
May 26, 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.

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:
  • To be able to see my family, friends, godfather and others.
  • That I will be able to leave prison.
  • And that I don't have to die.

But now my wish-list has changed.

My greatest hope is to be able to tell everyone that if they have the chance, they should have 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. I hope to learn to appreciate life and to help others.

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 destroy 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 happiness that is short-lived. Drugs are things that hurt people: they ruin 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 though the death penalty is an old law, we don't really know if the death penalty can really help to control crime.

If I have the chance to meet everyone even just once, I would also like to tell everyone about the Buddhist philosophy.

This is my hope.

Wei Zhong, my friend

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 be our last meeting.

When I first arrived in Kuala Lumpur, people used to think that we were really brothers because we look alike - and for 15 years we lived together, made new friends, ate and wandered 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 he, Wei Zhong.

But many people have mistakenly befriended the wrong sort of people, just like how I met the wrong 'friends', leading me to my current situation.

If there are 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.

I will stop here. I am looking forward to next week. I want to tell society more about my story.

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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