Monday, February 28, 2005

Death Penalty?

It was 7:30 am, the air was cool and crisp (for now) and I was just sitting at a nearby mamak stall enjoying a cup of milo while leafing through the latest issue of TIME (February 21, 2005). After a few minutes of page-thumbing, I came across an an interview which annoyed me a little.

It was of an interview with Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking). In the interview, she was being questioned on her stand on the death penalty, on why she finds it unacceptable and bla bla bla.

Basically, she thinks that we should do away with death penalties because she has personally witnessed 7 executions, and out of those 7, she believes that 3 of them were innocent.

Hmmm, so let me see. What does she base this 'belief' of hers on? On the ability of the convict to weave a sob story? To shed a few tears? Unless she has solid forensic or investigative proof that these people are well and truly innocent, I would advise her to not let her emotional and sentimental state of mind impair her better judgement. Need I remind her that these people were convicted of heinous crimes such as rape and murder?? What happened to their supposedly humane side while they were committing these crimes?? Yeesh.

Secondly, she relates the death penalty to the 'death of innocence in all of us' (I detect a tinge of self-righteousness in that statement. She comes off as someone who believes that she's an upright, innocent person who's corrupted by the EVIL nature of this world! Oh puh-leeze, spare us the self-righteous ramblings.)

This Helen Prejean also claims that "...Look what happens to Supreme Court Justices who do these nuanced constitutional arguments and send people to their deaths and never touch the human cheek, the suffering". So what are you trying to say Ms. Prejean? That people who uphold the law (and by law I mean the death penalty) are considered heartless and uncaring?? Does she really know what goes on in the hearts and minds of the judges who are placed in such circumstances?? She must probably think that the masses who support the death penalty are a horde of evil, finger-pointing loons who cackle with glee everytime a convict gets executed, oh the poor narrow minded woman.

So what are my views on the death penalty? Well, being a born again Christian myself, I do believe in the sanctity of life. I do feel for the people who are on death row. Death by execution is never a joyful event, and should never be taken lightly.

BUT, we must see the death penalty as not an act of 'Punishment' or as an act of deciding whether a person deserves to live or not. We dont execute people to teach them a lesson. The laws are there in order to act as a deterrent, to prevent people from indulging in all sorts of criminal acts at will and to prevent the degeneration of society. The consequence of flouting these laws are also CLEARLY stated.....and these criminals know that! They are aware that by committing such acts, such and such a consequence will await them! Its not like they were unaware of the severity of their actions. Each one of these criminals KNEW that what they were doing was WRONG, and that if they were to get caught, they would most likely be hung! They very well knew it!!

Faced with this understanding, who do you think is the one with the disregard for human life? Is it the person or judge who's faced with the tough decision of upholding the law? Or the criminal who knowingly put his life on the line in order to get a few temporial kicks? ( a person who rapes and kill knowing FULLY WELL that it is a crime punishable by death)

Here's an illustration to drive home my point. Lets say that you've created a huge machine. You then proceed to draw a line on the floor a few feet away from the machine, with signboards warning people not to cross the line or get too close to the machine for it will endanger them. If a person walks by, sees the line, reads the sign, and yet decides to step over the line and ends up getting crushed by the machine....who's in the wrong?

On a last note, I would just like to highlight an interesting point. There is a reason why human rights are known as HUMAN rights. IMO, it is because they are the basic rights which all HUMANS are entitled to. Now, let us think a little about the term 'human'. What is it that makes us human?

Are humans defined by biological characteristics? or are humans defined by their capacity to show love, compassion and care? I believe in the latter, and those criminals, by doing the things they did, have robbed themselves their right to be called 'Human'.

None of us robbed them of that, we didnt force them to give it up, neither do we wish that upon them. They only have themselves to blame.....

Friday, February 25, 2005

A walkway in Suzhou

A walkway in Suzhou, originally uploaded by Bernard Yong.



You heard me. Bicycles! :)

This photo was taken during a recent business trip to China, and as you can see, they have quite a number of *ahem* bicycles there.

Dont get me wrong though, I'm not saying China is some backwards place where people shy away from anything remotely resembling an automobile (oh boy, far from it). I'm merely stating that China has a dizzying number of bicycled-people as compared to where I come from (then again, China has a huge number of EVERYTHING compared to Malaysia...hahah).

Ok, moving on to my first impressions of China.

Firstly, the people there are mad drivers. Bloody mad I tell you. They make the drivers in KL look like fluffy lil' bunnies in comparison!

Secondly, the weather there is really nice. Then again, maybe thats because I went there during the right season. Ah well, who doesnt love 14-18 degree weather rite? :)

Thirdly, places like Shanghai are freakin, massively impressive! The number of high rises they have there is mind boggling. Plus, they have the largest ferris wheel I have EVER seen! I really think that if you were to lay the ferris wheel flat on the ground, you could organize your very own NASCAR oval-style races in it. Serious.

Fourthly, the night life in Shanghai is amazing. Few of the bars I went to were jam packed, with people merrily josstling each other as they battled for place on the thumping dance floors, all the while waving their jugs of beer dangerously in the air. Sounds a lot like Malaysia eh ;)

Last of all, without sounding like I'm anti-fat or anything, I cant help but point out that most (I'm talking like 99.99%) of the girls in China are really slim! You'd be hard pressed to find a generously proportioned lass even if you searched far and wide (no pun intended).

In fact, I noticed that a lot of the females in China had exceptionally slim thighs with fit ...ermm... posteriors. Its enough to make you wonder why....

Which brings us back to my first statement....

Bicycles ;)

Streets of Terengganu

Streets of Terengganu, originally uploaded by Bernard Yong.

First Let me clarify that I am neither from Terengganu, nor am I a big fan of street lamps.

However, the picture looks good doesnt it :)

This was taken by my girlfriend during her holiday in Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu. The picture perfectly captures the idyllic nature of Terengganu, with its majestic sunsets and sleepy towns.

Having said that, I'd choose the hubris and chaos of a big city anyway. We're all crazy in that way....

Blogging eh....

I wonder how many people are actually going to read this, oh well.

After reading so much about blogs and the whole phenomena behind it, I thought I'd just give it a first hand look. Seems fun so far....I wonder how long I'll be at it though.