Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Misery run to waste

Tze Ming has a piece on Nguyen Tuong Van, the Australian sentenced to death in Singapore for drug trafficking. Quite apart from being flat-out wrong, Nguyen's execution seems singularly pointless. As long as there is addiction, as long as there is fear, as long as there is poverty, there will be people scared enough or desperate enough to work as drug mules, no matter what the risk. Killing them doesn't make a blind bit of difference, and it certainly doesn't act as a deterrent. Their masters will simply shrug their shoulders, lament the loss of the cargo, and find someone equally scared or desperate for the next load. Killing Nguyen Tuong Van then is simply a pointless cruelty, misery run to waste. But I guess it allows the Singaporean government to look tough, even while it bankrolls and launders money for the very people sending mules like Nguyen to their deaths.

Nguyen Tuong Van will be executed on Friday. It is now almost certainly too late to save him, but if you'd like to make a last minute impotent protest, Amnesty International Australia is running a reach out campaign. Or, you could contact the Singapore High Commission:

17 Kabul Street
Phone: (04) 470-0850
Fax: (04) 479-4066
Email: shcwlg@xtra.co.nz

If anybody wants to organise any actual protest action outside the High Commission, let me know and I'll publicise it.


Seeming that John Howard has copped more crap than ever over the Nguyen Tuong Van saga what else can he do? These are 3 steps in making the PM more PC.

1: The PM should not only not attend the PM X1 Cricket match but to rename it The Nguyen Tuong Van memorial X1.

2: Why just 1 minutes of silence? Make it a national day of mourning plus make it a national holiday called Nguyen Tuong Van Day. That would give us time during the day to protest outside Singapore airline or Singapore Embassy.

3: Start calling Nguyen Tuong Van a Martyr so the Vatican can speed up the Benediction process for St Nguyen Tuong Van to be the first Patron Saint of Drug Smugglers. Miracles could be attributed to smugglers who pray to Nguyen Tuong Van who help them get through Singapore customs with large quantities of smack.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/29/2005 05:57:00 AM

The Mexicans already have a patron saint of drug runners. He's the folk saint Jesus Malverde.

There's also the official patron saint of condemned prisoners, St Dismas. He was the repentant thief who was crucified with Jesus. Here is a prayer that someone might like to say for Nguyen Tuong Van, because I don't think that the Singaporean government will act with mercy.

Dear Saint Dismas, you cooperated with the grace that was yours in suffering the same fate as the Divine Master. You repented for your sins and believed, and you heard the Savior say:"

"Today you will be with me in paradise."

Obtain for prisoners the same grace to repent of their wicked ways, and obtain the same reward - eternal life with Christ.

I hope that the international community can pressure Singapore over it's ties with Burma.

Posted by Muerk : 11/29/2005 10:08:00 AM

Email sent. Hang the drug barons and their accountants, not the mules.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/29/2005 11:33:00 AM

Hang 'em all

Posted by Anonymous : 11/29/2005 11:49:00 AM

Nguyen Tuong Van's real crime is not being white, female and pretty. He is the wrong kind of Australian and the wrong kind of victim. Of course he is guilty, but so were the other white, female drug runners.

Added to which, a lot of people in the West admire Singapore, because it will not stand for nonsense. Singapore banned chewing gum and birches hooligans. It's tough kid, but it's right (as the Dead Kennedys said about another Asian regime).

Posted by Paul : 11/29/2005 12:08:00 PM

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. Posted by andrewfalloon : 11/29/2005 12:27:00 PM

I'm sorry, but irrespective of whether there is a moral argument against the death penalty or not, the fact remains that the law in Singapore states quite clearly that the punishment for this crime is death.

Nguyen was caught with Heroin on his person. Not in his bags, actually attached to his body. The law in Singapore says that if found guilty (which he was) he would be put to death. He has exhausted his appeals. There is no excuse for what he did.

I don't care about the moral argument. The LAW is definative on this. He broke the law, he pays the price for breaking the law. Why should he be treated any differently from a Singaporean citizen because he's an Australian citizen? You commit a crime in that country, they are well within their rights to punish you to the extent their law allows.

Everyone has a choice to run drugs. When you're running drugs through Asia, its extremely well known that pretty much every country in Asia will issue the death penalty for drug running. There is a ZERO TOLERANCE of drugs. Why should the poor tax payers in Singapore pay to keep him in prison for the rest of his life?

Hang him and the crime has been punished. The message sent to more people overseas that there is no tolerance of this. Anyone dumb enough to take their chances faces the same risk as he did.

Pity he got caught in Singapore and not Indonesia, Thailand or Vietnam. You get the firing squad there. Considerably quicker death I guess.

Posted by Steve : 11/29/2005 06:37:00 PM

Steve: You're a compassionate and merciful person...

Posted by Muerk : 11/29/2005 07:24:00 PM

State approved murder is still murder. We should oppose it on moral grounds, and only moral grounds. Laws are not moral codes: they may be derived from them but they do not supersede them. I don't believe we have any right, ever, to kill another human being. I can understand that murder happens, but it cannot be sanctioned, even by the state on our behalf.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/29/2005 09:24:00 PM

It is a sad comment on Australia that the only way a non white lawyer can see to make enough money is to become a drug mule. Yes he knew the risks but the fact that he could not loan the money from a bank with his earning potential says soooooooooo much about white Australia (not that I think that white NZ would come off looking any better off).

His real crime is not being white & able to cry prettily on prime time. Unfortunately the Bali nine have the same crime - which is why there is no night by night TV stories about them either. Never mind when it's their turn to die Howard may squeak about them too.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/30/2005 08:43:00 AM

About time we legalised all drugs so no death penalties would be necessary.

Posted by Hans Versluys : 11/30/2005 11:58:00 AM

All the countries that have the death penalty for drug smuggling also collect large scale bribes (at all levels) from drug gangs.

A cynic would suggest that the death penalty is just to ensure that no-one quibbles about paying off cops and politicians.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/30/2005 01:56:00 PM