VANDALISM is an act against property, not an act against a person. Clearly, 12 strokes of a flesh-tearing cane is a blatant violation against the person. So, Singapore has decided that spraying cars with paint should be answered by a vastly more violent offence against the person. What sort of jurisprudential principle guides this type of legal reasoning? Nothing other than primitive vengeance! Yet, Lee Kuan Yew, himself once a lawyer, runs around the world to defend Singapore's criminal code. He argues that the rest of the world has failed to understand the Eastern way of keeping ''law'' and order. One wonders to what does the senior minister refer when he says ''the East''? Obviously not to the time-honoured tradition of Confucian philosophy, which always advises the ruler to be tolerant and benevolent. I contend that he is referring to the even more time-honoured tradition founded by Chinese tyrants such as Ch'in Shih Huang who all relish blood drawing tortures.
EDWIN W. B. CHOY Kowloon