Show some compassion

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 April, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 April, 1994, 12:00am

I AM writing as a Christian to add my voice to other cries for clemency to mitigate the unduly harsh sentences passed in Singapore, on Shiu Chi-ho and Michael Fay, especially to withhold their vicious caning.

Whilst there must be respect for law and order in all societies, it is a universal principle that any punishment must fit the crime.

In the case of both Shiu Chi-ho and Michael Fay, their offences surely can hardly be counted as more than an expression of youthful frustration and adventuresome mischief. Whilst their sentences may well act as an over-forceful deterrent, I would expect that among the youth of society it may also be seen with some resentment as the heavy hand of an over zealous administration.

As an owner of a private car, for which I have some deep attachment, I would not under any circumstances have wished any court to have imposed such a harsh sentence as imposed by the judicial system of Singapore.

I cannot help but feel that the current sentences blemish the international reputation of Singapore as an otherwise enlightened society.

Surely, there is enough pain and anguish in this troubled world and an act of mercy by Singapore's President, Mr Ong Teng Cheong, would demonstrate to the global community that Singaporeans are compassionate people.

Perhaps an option might be a fine equivalent to the cost of repainting the damaged vehicles or some appropriate form of community service.

E. G. PRYOR The Peak