Fay punishment barbaric

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 May, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 May, 1994, 12:00am

I FIND Singapore's sentencing of Shiu Chi-ho and Michael Fay unbelievably barbaric. This feeling of abhorrence is not because one is a Hong Kong citizen and one an American, but that such punishments are actually carried out in this day and age, particularly in a country that pretends to be as civilised as Singapore. Citizenship, colour or religion do not come into it.

Flogging as a punishment goes hand in hand with burning at the stake for holding different beliefs and the chopping of a hand for theft.

Those people polled in the United States and Britain who indicated they agreed to the punishment can have no idea of the seriousness of such a punishment. The skin is shredded, the victim cannot sit or lie on his back for months. The individual is scarred and maimed for life - not only physically but also emotionally.

How any human beings can inflict such an injury on another in such a cold-hearted manner is beyond my comprehension. Surely the judge concerned and those in the Singaporean Government in a position to change such an archaic and barbaric law, but who allow this to go on, are more guilty of crimes of humanity than the youths they have convicted.

Certainly no one approves or condones vandalism. However, there are more appropriate measures to deal with offenders. Geography and residence do not ensure an elimination of those confused, angry feelings that many youths go through as they mature and grow up.

This is an impassioned plea for the Government of Singapore to show its true worth as a truly civilised country and withdraw this form of punishment from its judicial system.