Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yong's Story

Yong's Story aired on Al-Jazeera English's Witness strand today. It shows us the desperate efforts of his family and lawyer to save his life.

In the course of the fight for his life, important legal questions have been raised; questions that will have an impact beyond just his case. His story has also triggered large campaigns in both his home country of Malaysia (especially in his hometown Sandakan) and in Singapore. People who have never even met him have come forward, volunteering time and precious resources to the campaigns to save his life.

With this documentary, hopefully more people will be made aware of Vui Kong's story, and think about what we're actually trading just so we can fool ourselves into believing that we've solved the drug problem in Singapore.

Does Vui Kong really have to die for us to be safe? Doesn't he deserve a second chance? What would it say about us, if we let him go to his death without a word of protest?

Monday, January 17, 2011

A smile to say, "Thank you."

The court had adjourned for 15 minutes while Vui Kong's lawyers prepared some documents for his case. People stood up and began milling about, talking in low voices or answering messages on their phones.

I sat next to Vui Kong's brothers, Yun Leong clutching the messages and birthday banner I had handed over to him just a moment ago. We were both looking over at Vui Kong, sitting with head bowed in the dock, flanked by two policemen.

Lynn came over to chat with us. "Are you going to show Vui Kong the banner?"

"Can we do that?" Yun Leong looked unsure. There were quite a few police officers standing around, all looking stern and businesslike.

"Just go and ask them!"

Lynn went up to the policemen and Yun Leong followed with the banner. They stood by the glass panel separating Vui Kong from the public and got his attention. He looked over, a little confused at what they were doing. Then Yun Leong unfolded the banner and held it up for him to see.

For those of you who were at Second Chances in the Park, you know how big the banner is. As Yun Leong held it up, you could see all the signatures, all the well wishes, and the Second Chances heart right in the middle with the message "Happy 23rd Birthday Vui Kong!"

From where I was I could see him mouth a silent "wah!" as he looked at all the signatures and took in the size of the banner. Then a smile lit up his whole face, and he looked exactly like what he is: a young, scrawny kid. He pressed his palms together and bowed.

He didn't get to see the banner for long, because the court security guards said we weren't allowed to display banners. But the important thing was that he got to see it, and know that people support him.

When Yun Leong goes to visit him next week, he will also get to read the letters and messages everyone has sent to Second Chances.

So on behalf of Vui Kong, we would just like to pass on his thanks to everyone who signed the banner or sent a message, or supported the campaign to save his life in any way.

- kirsten

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Blog-A-Thon for Vui Kong.

This is the blogroll of entries related to Vui Kong as we kick off our Blog-A-Thon today. We will keep adding articles and entries as and when we come across them, so if you would like to be listed please add your link in a comment! If you don't have a blog, send your message to webelieveinsecondchances[at]gmail[dot]com!

Huibing: For the Second Chances Blog-A-Thon
Kirsten Han: A Letter to Vui Kong
Seelan Palay: Yong, please don't die
Mark Tan: Second Chances
Ushnisha: Happy 23rd Birthday Vui Kong! :)
Sarah: "You're not alone."
bookjunkie: Vui Kong, You're Just A Child to Me
Stephanie Chok: Dear Vui Kong
Jarrod Luo: Living on Borrowed Time
Lianain Films: Happy Birthday, Yong Vui Kong
Rachel Zeng: Let the boy live
Kim Lian Rolles: My letter to Yong Vui Kong

Amnesty International: Happy Birthday Vui Kong: May the candles of life continue burning
Jacob George: Petition for clemency of Yong Vui Kong (a timeline)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blogging for life!

Hello all!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year, and that 2011 is treating you all good so far.

Yong Vui Kong's hearing has been scheduled for the morning of 17th January 2010, the week of his 23rd birthday. He has heard from his brother about Second Chances in the Park and the birthday banner, and was very touched to know that there are so many people who care! So thank you to everyone who showed up, and everyone who signed the banner and sent him well wishes of hope and compassion for his birthday.

And now, it's time for the next Second Chances event!

The Second Chances Blog-A-Thon!

This one is not so much an "event" like Second Chances in the Park, but something that anyone and everyone can do from the comfort of their own home/office/school/friend's house/grandmother's house.

Here is the plan...

On the 16th of January (i.e. the day before Vui Kong's hearing), write an entry on your blog about Vui Kong. It can be as long or as short as you like, made up of words or photos (or even video), as long as it is related to Vui Kong's case.

That's it. That's the plan. Easy, right?

We are hoping that with as many bloggers as possible writing about Vui Kong on the day before his hearing, we would be able to generate more exposure and attention for his case and the issues surrounding it, as well as reinvigorate debate and discussion in Singaporean society.

But what if I don't have time on the 16th?

That's no problem, just write your post when you have time and schedule it to be published on the 16th of January!

What if I don't have a blog?

No worries: you can write a Facebook note, or just post a message on our Facebook wall. You can also send messages to us at webelieveinsecondchances[at]gmail[dot]com, and we'll post your entry for you as a note on our Facebook page.

So that's it, a simple plan, and may the blogging begin (but publish on the 16th)!