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BOYCOTT ALL TRAVEL TO SINGAPORE

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31. Posted by AlexT (Respected Member 245 posts) 10y

While I agree with all the 'he knew the risks and did anyway' rhetoric and its fair enough that he be subjected to the laws as would anyone else, I think this whole situation raises an important issue about the death penalty as a punishment. I agree that it is Singapores sovereign right to persist with capital punishment, this form of punishment is somewhat final. No legal system is perfect and although this case is black and white, there are many situations which are not and these grey areas are not accomodated for in a system of mandatory death sentences.

I dont think boycotting tourism is a good idea on any level. Really, such action would could just as many problems as the heroin itself. We have to remember that many people depend on tourism for their livelihoods and to deprive them of this would be a tad harsh.

I think this particular case has been handled pretty poorly by both the Singaporean and Australian governments and has turned into a pissing contest of gargantuan proportions. I will leave that one at that.

My personal belief is that more focus should be on capturing the masterminds of these drug smuggling operations. It would be naive to think that by stopping one mule it is going to have any significant affect on the drug trade. The reality is that there is always going to be enough people desperate enough to give trafficking a go. Death penalty or not. Also, stopping a few mules getting through is more likley to lead to an increase in street prices as demand increase and supply dries up and that can more than likely lead to increased petty crime.

I've tried to be as pragmatic as I can. Clearly the problem is complicated and the whole death penalty thing is a controversial issue. In the end I agree that everyone should be subject to a countries laws regardless of what they are. I think the main thing that has come out of this thread is that people are entitled to their own opinions and a free to live their life as they see fit. In the end they have to deal with the consequences. As to boycotting Singapore, I think that is a bit rough but if you feel that way nothing that anyone says or does is likely to change your mind...
its up to the individual.

32. Posted by john7buck (Respected Member 458 posts) 10y

This reminds me of a South Park episode dealing with crippled children joining the street gang "the Crips". Playing off of the touchy subject matter, Stan and Kyle just pop in sporadically to say Uhhh, I'm staying out of this one dude.

33. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 10y

Thank you Travis, Brendan, Quan, Alex and John for bringing this thread back into focus. I appreciate you intelligent discussion of this matter. An issue of this importance deserves thoughtful discussion. Again - thank you!!!

34. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 10y

Quoting Hien

3. The Singaporean system is one of mandatory death sentence. It means that regardless of your circumstances, you are effectively screwed if you are found with drugs on you. So no matter how those drugs ended up on him, he must die under their law.

Not exactly, if you could prove that the drugs do not belong to you, which in this case of Nguyen Tuong Van, is impossible. Strapped to his body? No way the drugs was not his.

How do you figure that? He was transporting someone else's goods. They weren't his drugs at all. But I understand that is not acceptable in Singapore and many other places and can deal with that, unfair as I find it.

Finally, I can see why people from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.. get upset when Australians start bagging their countries for these laws. You have to understand though, the only thing people here can do to try to save their compatriots' life is to complain and petition the government. And I don't see why there would be anything wrong with doing all you can diplomatically to bring about a change of someone's fate. Australia has not attempted to penalise Singapore in any way (apart from a few very upset civilians trying this boycott tactic, which never works anyway).

Quite frankly, I wish some countries outside of Australia would start protesting the way their citizens are being treated in the desert camps the government has set up here for 'illegal' immigrants. A bit of international pressure would do a world of good imo.

35. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 10y

Quoting Peter

Quoting Hien

3. The Singaporean system is one of mandatory death sentence. It means that regardless of your circumstances, you are effectively screwed if you are found with drugs on you. So no matter how those drugs ended up on him, he must die under their law.

Not exactly, if you could prove that the drugs do not belong to you, which in this case of Nguyen Tuong Van, is impossible. Strapped to his body? No way the drugs was not his.

How do you figure that? He was transporting someone else's goods. They weren't his drugs at all. But I understand that is not acceptable in Singapore and many other places and can deal with that, unfair as I find it.

Ok, I've made a mistake by using the word "belong". Refer to the exact words of the law in Singapore governing the misuse of drugs as per below.

Trafficking in controlled drugs

5. —(1) Except as authorised by this Act, it shall be an offence for a person, on his own behalf or on behalf of any other person, whether or not that other person is in Singapore —

(a) to traffic in a controlled drug;

(b) to offer to traffic in a controlled drug; or

(c) to do or offer to do any act preparatory to or for the purpose of trafficking in a controlled drug.

(2) For the purposes of this Act, a person commits the offence of trafficking in a controlled drug if he has in his possession that drug for the purpose of trafficking.

Source: Part II - Offences Involving Controlled Drug and Substances

Main source: Misuse of Drugs Act (Chapter 185)


Quoting Peter

Finally, I can see why people from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.. get upset when Australians start bagging their countries for these laws. You have to understand though, the only thing people here can do to try to save their compatriots' life is to complain and petition the government. And I don't see why there would be anything wrong with doing all you can diplomatically to bring about a change of someone's fate.

You have to understand that we have such a system where nobody is above the law, and no exception can be made on any laws for anybody if the laws do not permit it. Even the King himself or any royalty members does not have special privileges or the immunity from the law.

36. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 10y

Quoting Hien

You have to understand that we have such a system where nobody is above the law, and no exception can be made on any laws for anybody if the laws do not permit it. Even the King himself or any royalty members does not have special privileges or the immunity from the law.

Sure, I understand how strict the system is, though supposedly there was a possibility for clemency/extradition in this case. Either way, it doesn't mean we can't voice our opinion about that system.

People have been doing it for years; from issues as diverse as the apartheid system in South Africa to the invasion of Tibet by China or the death penalty for women committing adultery in certain muslim countries. We always have a right to voice our opinion and I guess the internet and media exposes other people's opinions about your own countries' laws, which may not always be what you want to hear. To me that is a good thing and allows people to discuss why these laws exist in the first place and what might be a better system. It cannot be a bad thing to engage in discussion with other countries about their laws, particularly when they might affect your citizens.

I guess it's clear I oppose the death penalty in all instances - for much the same reason Amnesty International opposes it. And I particularly oppose it when it comes to less serious crimes such as smuggling drugs. The fact of the matter is people are more likely to be killed by speeding drivers than they are by a drug overdose (and in the case of a drug overdose, they at least have a choice). Yet, I doubt that Singapore hands out a death penalty for speeding?

37. Posted by SeeTheSky (Respected Member 558 posts) 10y

i understand that this is the law in this circumstance, but i'd have to agree with peter and brendan on this one. i undertand where you come from QZ, and i respect your opinoin but, to me, the bottom line is..

no one, NO one, has the right to take the life of another.

even if they take a life. it doesnt solve anything to kill them. or using the fear of death to keep people from doing things.
you dont know what that person's been through. you havent been there his whole life, how do you have the right to judge him as if he were the same as you or anyone else. if you do something wrong, you would want a second chance, to learn from it, and change for the better. thats what humans are, the essence of change, we are all born to make mistakes and make the best of our lives. we cannot fufill who we are if were dead. people try to do the best with what is given them. this man tried to help his brother, maybe made some bad descions but they were his desicions to make, and he cant learn and change from them if you cut him down.

you would want a second chance. you would want a future. what right do you or anyone, even 'god' have to take that from him.
everyone deserves a future.

im not religious, but, believe me this makes sense, no, it feels right, more than anything else.

Evan

38. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 10y

..we have such a system where nobody is above the law, and no exception can be made on any laws for anybody if the laws do not permit it. Even the King himself or any royalty members does not have special privileges or the immunity from the law.

I really have a hard time believing that one. Every single nation and their respective governments say "no one is above the law", and yet in every single nation the leaders are the exception to that rule. As if the king would be executed for carrying heroin.

Perhaps I am a sceptic, and maybe a little paranoid but time and time again we see leadership exploiting the rules they put in place. The reason those rules were put in place was not to make everyone equal, they were not put in place so that every one is subject to them.

Leadership puts these laws in place to secure their leadership. A well placed facade.

How strange man is to cage himself so willingly...

I guess if someone can show me some records that show leadership being accountable for their actions; I don't mean 30 years after fact either.

For example - in Canada. The sponsorship program the previous government put in place to advertise in Quebec - most of the millions of dollars alloted were spent on one or two low budget project, if at all.

Now of course it wasn't until years after the fact anyone finds out. And on top of that no one is held accountable. Some people may lose face, but that's it. The media glosses over everything.

Wow, okay I am rambling, I just don't believe you Hien when you say even the king is subject to the law. I'll believe it when I see it. ;)

I agree with Peter and STS on this one.

Once again:

Quoting Kofi Annan

The forfeiture of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict it on another, even when backed by legal process. And I believe that future generations, throughout the world, will come to agree.

39. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 10y

Quoting SeeTheSky

i understand that this is the law in this circumstance, but i'd have to agree with peter and brendan on this one. i undertand where you come from QZ, and i respect your opinoin but, to me, the bottom line is..

no one, NO one, has the right to take the life of another.

even if they take a life. it doesnt solve anything to kill them. or using the fear of death to keep people from doing things.
you dont know what that person's been through. you havent been there his whole life, how do you have the right to judge him as if he were the same as you or anyone else. if you do something wrong, you would want a second chance, to learn from it, and change for the better. thats what humans are, the essence of change, we are all born to make mistakes and make the best of our lives. we cannot fufill who we are if were dead. people try to do the best with what is given them. this man tried to help his brother, maybe made some bad descions but they were his desicions to make, and he cant learn and change from them if you cut him down.

you would want a second chance. you would want a future. what right do you or anyone, even 'god' have to take that from him.
everyone deserves a future.

im not religious, but, believe me this makes sense, no, it feels right, more than anything else.

Evan

You're right. But what about the people the drugs hurt or will hurt (I'm not talking about the drugs this guy was carrying specifically of course) ? How do you give them a second chance or even a first chance ? Until society can come up with a way to make sure either no one commits crimes or no one suffers from crimes, there has to be laws that help prevent crime. Some of them will be harsh in order to fit the magnitude of the crime. Is this too harsh of a punishment ? I don't know if it's effective or not. Either way, this law is what it is.

If he was helping his brother, then he did what he did knowingly. I applaud him for loving his brother. But he's still guilty. There are a lot of other people in this world that end up dead through no fault of their own. I think they deserve our pity more than this guy. My view is that this one guy screwed up, and life (as is the case in many circumstances) just isn't fair enough to give him a second chance.

40. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 10y

Quoting Q_Zhang

But what about the people the drugs hurt or will hurt (I'm not talking about the drugs this guy was carrying specifically of course) ?

I don't understand that logic. Do drug addicts not have a choice? If that really made so much sense, then shouldn't cigarette company execs also get the death penalty? How many millions of people have died at their hands already?

There are a lot of other people in this world that end up dead through no fault of their own. I think they deserve our pity more than this guy. My view is that this one guy screwed up, and life (as is the case in many circumstances) just isn't fair enough to give him a second chance.

Well, that I can agree with. There certainly are millions of people around the world that are treated far less fairly than Nguyen has been and 'deserve' more of our sympathy.

For instance, we have an Australian who has been held in Guantanamo Bay for over three years now in legal limbo land. At least the Singaporeans' justice system was open and allowed a fair trial, even if their laws aren't what we might hope they would be.

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