The following was first posted on webelieveinsecondchances blog.
Yong Vui Kong is a death row inmate in Singapore. He was arrested at age 19 with 47.27g of heroin, convicted of trafficking and sentenced under the Mandatory Death Penalty. His final appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on 4 April 2011. He can now only plead for clemency from the President (acting on the advice of the Cabinet).
If the President does not grant clemency to Vui Kong, these will be the last 12 letters he will ever write.
The following is the third letter:
当时，我真的无知的认为“被捉也罪不至死”，所以就把“礼物”送进了法治国 – 新加坡。这都得怪自己。
The Third Letter – A Changed Heart
I would like to tell you a story.
I have been worrying about someone for quite a long time.
This person has a good nature. But when he was growing up he was led astray. He did not respect his parents and followed others to get involved with drugs. He was petty, bad-tempered, proud, vulgar and self-centred. He was very selfish and proud.
But this person has now changed all his bad habits, all his bad acts. He is sincere about changing.
I will use an example to prove how he is determined to change.
A person in the forest saw a big fruit tree, and was tempted to eat the fruit. He did not know that the fruit was poisonous, and was then poisoned. This person greatly regretted eating the poisoned fruit, and in that moment, that regretful heart would be his first sincere emotion, right?
Yetian, if you knew this person had been poisoned, and at the same time, knew how to cure him, would you cure him?
This person is now about 30, with no home, no car, no freedom, no family, no kids, no friends, not many clothes, no experience, no education, no correct way of thinking, no chance to leave his country and no love from his parents and siblings. This person does not have anything. But he has a small hope… that his family and society will forgive him, and let him change his life.
I used to be bad, and would always quarrel with people. I had no aim in life and only wanted to earn money to live a good life. I also wanted my mother to live well. I was greedy, and was thus poisoned. I have repented before the Buddha, and I heard that over 100,000 people have signed the petition to forgive me. I am very grateful. My life began when I started learning Buddhist philosophy. Before that I was not really living.
If a person has made a mistake, he must then suffer the consequences under the law. I understand that. So, if he wants to be cured of the poison, he can only repent to the Buddha.
In here, every person has been poisoned. If I could, I would like to help cure them all.
Let me go back to the topic of drugs and I.
For me, drug is something far way from me, yet it changed my life. I know that when my brother Yun Leong wrote to the President to ask for clemency, he mentioned my involvement with drugs.
At that time I was ignorant and really believed, “Even if I get caught I won’t die.” So I delivered these “gifts” into a law-abiding country – Singapore. I only have myself to blame.
Over these two years, thanks to my lawyer who explained to me the law in relation to drugs, I have finally understood how serious this is. I am now studying English, so I can better understand the lawyer’s submissions, and also the relevant law. I thank the prison department for giving me a dictionary.
There are many young people who are willing to deliver drugs because drugs can earn you a lot of money. They are like how I was; because I could get a lot of money, I agreed to do this.
At the time our minds are ignorant and naive. We did not realise that when you deliver drugs, you will not get money in exchange. When you get sent to prison, what you get in exchange is a mother’s heartache, a family’s worry, society’s judgement, the punishment from a government, and the world giving up on you.
This situation is the same as what I am in. I am a real life example.
In here, I am deeply repentant. Luckily, it is not too late. Luckily, my mother has seen the new me. Luckily, my family does not have to worry about me anymore.
It takes three years to learn to be good, but three days to be bad. Turning over a new leaf is more precious than anything.
All right, I will stop here. In writing these letters, I have grown more confident in my teachings, and I hope I can continue to share them. I laugh at myself for thinking that I can indeed be an educator, it must have taken a lot of “blessing” from others for me to do that.
Thank you. Amitabha.