At 3.30pm yesterday, Kho Jabing was executed in Singapore soon after the Singapore Court of Appeal dismissed his eleventh-hour application to stay the execution.
“…He was born in 1984, in a taxi on the way to hospital. He grew up in a longhouse…He worked on a family plantation, then as a technician laying cables in Miri before moving to Singapore to earn a better wage to help his family…He got very drunk one night…He did a very stupid, awful thing…He didn’t mean to kill a man, but he did…There is no death, no murder, more premeditated than what happened today” – The Life of Kho Jabing
Let me repeat here what I wrote in August, 2010.
Wikipedia explains euthanasia as “a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering“.
Most jurisdictions treat euthanasia as a criminal offence.
A culpable homicide.
Even if carried out to relieve intractable suffering.
Because life is precious, and no-one, absolutely no-one has the right to take life?
What of the death penalty then?
The death penalty is the deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to …..
To give expression to our wrath?
To give expression to our sense of horror?
An eye for an eye?
One life for the many lost to drugs?
To remove a menace from the midst of our loving society?
This loving society will not condone mercy killing because no-one has the right to take life, yet we sanction the deliberate intervention by the hangman undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to give expression to our wrath, our sense of horror? To exact society’s pound of flesh? To keep the rest of us safe?
We condemn the violent deaths inflicted by wars, yet we collectively sanction the violence inflicted on this young life by placing the noose round his neck and dropping the trapdoor below his feet, so that the force of the drop will severe the lifeline of his spinal cord?
Is this the society that we are?
I do not support the death penalty because I do not believe we have the right, individually or collectively to end another’s life.
The death penalty, for me, is state-sanctioned violence.
May the soul of Kho Jabing rest in peace.