Saturday, August 27, 2005


THE crowd jostling in the public gallery all wanted the same thing - to see Took Leng How's face when the death sentence was passed.

Sixty of them, mostly retirees, were packed into the gallery and another 50 were queueing outside

A heavy silence hung in the courtroom as Justice Lai Kew Chai pronounced the death penalty. The drama they had queued for three hours to watch was over in just three minutes.


Took's 23-year-old wife, Madam Yuli, stood off to the side, shoulders slumped in defeat and tears rolling down her cheeks as she watched their two-year-old son Soon Wang happily running around the benches.

Then the courtroom was completely cleared except for Took's family, who had requested time with him before he was taken away.

Fifteen minutes later, his wife, son, parents and two siblings emerged from court escorted by eight policemen, where they met another crowd waiting outside the Supreme Court building.

A heckler taunted Took's wife.

'Why are you crying? Why are you crying? Your husband is a killer,' the man yelled in Mandarin.

Carrying her son, Madam Yuli maintained her silence.

As the family shuffled away, 20 people tailed the reporters who followed the family right up to City Hall MRT station, clinging on to their every move.

Madam Chong Swee Lan, a 53-year-old part-time cleaner, said in Mandarin: 'The family is rather pitiful and so was the way Huang Na died. It's not that I have a bad heart. But it's a life for a life. Ah Hao (Took) has a son and his family should understand that.'


Outside the court, another 40 spectators who had missed out remained in the queue, refusing to leave.

One woman, who had got her seat in the gallery, was still frustrated. 'I couldn't see anything. There's so many people here. All the waiting for over three hours and the verdict is over in just three minutes!'

Sometimes, I just HATE my fellow Singaporeans. Way to show compassion, you sons of bitches. So the guy's guilty. Judgement has been passed and the price has been paid. He'll hang for what he's done. Why heckle his wife? What purpose does that serve? Where the fuck do you get the right to torment what is effectively a grieving widow? We're supposed to be a more civilised society. That means that the executions of criminals are not celebrated anymore. Took murdered the girl. The state's going to murder him. Let's not return to medieval times and make this a social event. Geez. The courts should have limited access to the trial and saved the families involved from the circus that this became. A man lost his life today. Let's not be happy about that. Let's not rejoice in the murder.

And to the media: Your story ended the moment the verdict was passed. There's something called compassion and it's about allowing the victims time to bury the dead.



Blogger tscd said...

People are drawn to scenes of horror. It's in our nature to be voyeurs. That's why action movies are so popular - we can watch death and torture without compassion.

Sun Aug 28, 03:18:00 am 2005  
Blogger Packrat said...

Sadly, that's true.


Sun Aug 28, 09:27:00 am 2005  
Blogger Tym said...

Now I remember why I stopped reading the Straits Times ...

Sun Aug 28, 11:44:00 am 2005  
Blogger wahj said...

The Straits Times seems to be involved in a race to the bottom for the tabloid market ... which is odd since the only tabloid is effectively by them as well.

Over the years, their reporting has not increased in quality, while they seem to have arrogated to themselves a sort of moral high ground. If there were a competitive market, if there were alternatives to The Straits Times, I wouldn't mind, but I instinctively mistrust a monopolist self-appointed moral guardian.

Mon Aug 29, 09:15:00 am 2005  
Blogger Zen|th said...

Singapore has no action, that's why.

But the guy who yelled at Took's wife really should get a kick in the balls.

Tue Aug 30, 01:38:00 pm 2005  
Anonymous TP said...

If all the Ah Peks mind their own business, I wouldn't need to hear anymore idiotic remarks, like the one above:

"...Why are you crying? Your husband's a killer."

That, my friends, is the WORST remark a wife wants to hear about her sole breadwinner. These Ah Peks, think their mouths are so big, why they don't marry the wife and pay maintenance? (And screw her in the meantime?)

This is one of the reasons why I contemplate of following SingaporeSerf's footsteps (fellow countrymen's lack of compassion).

Tue Aug 30, 02:21:00 pm 2005  
Blogger littlecartnoodles said...

Was that uncle from Everitt Road there as well ?

Those Ah Peks and Ah Sohs are the same ones that rush into trains when the doors open and cause a scene whenever freebies are handed out.

I'm waiting for them to die off.

Faster leh.

Tue Aug 30, 03:46:00 pm 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm waiting for them to die off.

Faster leh."

Truly the mark of a gracious and civilised man.

People can be idiots. A gracious society accepts that not everyone in it is gracious. I personally refused to buy any of those Chinese tabloids which so often splashed news of the trial on its front pages.

Tue Aug 30, 04:13:00 pm 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wait a min.. i'm not a ST fan here but are you all criticising it because it reported wat happened or because you assumed their reporters were the ones tailing the family?

i would think the reporters are fr all the papers/tv stations!

Tue Aug 30, 05:57:00 pm 2005  
Blogger Maddie said...

may i add you the humble links section on my blog? because good reads deserved to be read :)

Fri Sep 02, 12:05:00 pm 2005  
Blogger Packrat said...

Sure. :)

Fri Sep 02, 08:08:00 pm 2005  

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