Hanging out in Singapore

My wonderfully outspoken mate Adrock in Australia has been discussing a hideous event which has hardly been mentioned in the media here. The repressive regime in Adrock’s native Singapore is about to hang a young man. It looks like has committed a crime (although how can anyone trust a verdict in a legal system in a non-democratic nation?) but hanging a young man is a disgusting thing to do. In fact I think capital punishment in any case is a dreadful barbarism and find it unbelievable that it is still practised (even in democracies) – it is barely one step up from burning witches in my book.

I’m not religious but I think the commandment ‘thou shallt not kill’ is a pretty good rule to live your life by. I don’t recall in any of the Bible classes I was forced to go to as a kid ever mentioning ‘thou shallt not kill, unless you are in Texas and really feel like using a person as an electrical fuse’ and yet even among many Christians there is a demand for captial punishement (and to be fair many driven by their faith to protest against it). State execution is a cold, pre-meditated form of killing – exactly the sort most legal systems consider the worst form of murder.

I know the normal excuse trotted out is ‘if it were someone you loved they harmed, you’d want to see them dead.’ I’m human, so I must admit there would be a flare of terrible anger which wanted that – it is an understandable repsonse. But rising above those feelings of hate and revenge is what makes us people and not barbarians; besides societies have been trying capital punishment throughout the whole of human history and yet crime is still with us, so it is logical to assume it doesn’t actually work.

And as for the bloodthirsty dictators of Singapore, what can we say? Articles a few years ago by Bill Gibson and others referred to the heavy investment in IT there by calling SIngapore the ‘intelligent island’. A shame that intelligence doesn’t extend to the despotic rulers or their legal system.