Friday, June 30, 2006

I love the way that this whole new lenient justice works in Singapore.

THE Michael McCrea case is special, almost as special as the relationship he shared with the man he killed.

First, the Australian government asked the Singapore Government to promise it will not execute McCrea if he is extradited. Then it became apparent that he would not have faced the gallows anyway, since the charges brought against him would not have led to an execution on conviction.

McCrea's lawyer Kelvin Lim dismissed the suggestion that the charges were reduced because of the Government's promise to Australia. He insists that the facts support his argument that McCrea did not commit murder.

'It's quite clear that it is not murder. How can it be murder when there was a sudden and grave provocation from the victims? McCrea was attacked and hit back in self-defence,' he said.

Nor would McCrea have had to face life imprisonment. Under the Penal Code, culpable homicide would attract a jail term of 10 years or life imprisonment if the facts showed that he intended to cause the deaths.

The charges against McCrea were that he did not intend to cause the deaths, although he knew his actions could have fatal results.

In layman's terms, the distinction goes something like this. If B provokes A and A attacks B intending to kill him, it's possibly life imprisonment. If A attacks B in a fit of anger without any intention to kill, even though he knows that B might die, it warrants a maximum of 10 years.

But the reduced charges were cold comfort to McCrea when the sentence was handed down by Justice Choo Han Teck yesterday.

Although he had pleaded guilty, the judge went as far as the law would allow.

Lawyers say that for cases like McCrea's there are no sentencing benchmarks, as each case will be decided by the court on its own unique facts.

McCrea's case was in a sense similar to that of cleaner Aw Teck Hock, who was jailed for nine years for bashing his father Aw Swee Seng to death in 2002.

Aw attacked his father after the 73-year-old man scolded him for coming home late from a drinking session. Aw was so drunk that he did not even realise he had killed the 73-year-old man until the following morning.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong said: 'As in Aw's case, McCrea had reacted with disproportionate and unwarranted violence to words uttered by the deceased.'

But the difference was that when Aw woke up the next day and found his father dead, he rang up the police. McCrea fled the country and tried to cover up the crimes.

The prosecution wanted the court to mete out a sentence that was 'close to the maximum'. It also asked the court to ensure that the total sentence is 'significantly longer' than that of McCrea's former girlfriend Audrey Ong, who helped him dispose of the bodies. She got 12 years.

It got more than it asked for.

Defence pleas for McCrea's term to be backdated to 2002, when he was first detained in Melbourne, cut no ice.

Isn't it fantastic that the Singaporean legal system has gotten to the point where if you kill some dude for calling your girlfriend a slut, you just get manslaughter instead of murder? And if you, having had an entire day to cool down, decide to kill his girlfriend a day later, you still only get manslaughter? I mean, that word "slut" must really hold a whole lot of water for someone to be that angry for that long. You can imagine the defenses coming out now:

"I killed the guy because he laughed at my hair and I was very offended. The baseball bat just happened to be there because I was getting a few practice swings in the park. Oh yeah, I killed his girlfriend too a day later."

Manslaughter. Go figure.

Let's see...Maybe it only works if your name's McCrea and not Tan. I wonder if the name Smith has an "escape the gallows" clause as well.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Something funny...

Think that my wife would appreciate this. I know I did...


Sunday, June 25, 2006

End of an Era.

Wee Moh Nam died on the 24th of June 2006 at the age of 73.

There was very little that I actually remembered about the ACS experience when I was there to tell the truth. It was a blur to me as much of the past was. What did stick will stick for life. And he's one of those memories seared into my mind.

Mr. Wee was one of the old school teachers. He used to terrify us. And. I. Mean. Terrify. Homework would come in on time or there would be hell to pay. Discipline was maintained if you didn't want to see the edge of the ruler. Or a cane. But what I remember most about him was the fact that he wouldn't quit. He was dedicated and he saw the potential in his students. Well, student. Actually, me.

He pushed me hard and I actually responded. Thanks to the man, I received my one and only distinction in my 'O' levels. Aside from that, he made the school what it was for me and I'm sure it was the same for a lot of us. ACS won't be the same with his booming voice echoing down the corridor that made you freeze in your tracks. It won't be the same without his presence. And his spirit.

Rest in peace Mr. Wee. You will be missed.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

So I return to Perth again.

This would be my 3rd trip to Perth. Officially. By myself. (i.e. Independant of mes parents) I face it with anticipation mixed in with trepedition.

9 years ago (Good lord, was it that long ago?) I returned to Perth for the first time since 1993 and I don't remember too much about that trip save that I got my heart broken and drunk in the mid-afternoon. I think that in the following year and a half was spent repressing the memories and getting over the ideal version of Perth that was created by my (naive) 17 year old mind in 1993. Like I said, I don't remember too much about Perth anymore so this will be a nice refresher.

Almost like pulling a band aid off a wound that's already healed.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Crystal ball: Check.

So there's this new competition for Twisties tied in to the world cup.

Simple: Just answer 3 questions correctly and the first person to send in the three correct answers wins a trip to England.

Question 1: Name the two countries that will be in the finals during this year's world cup tournament.

Question 2: Predict the score during the Finals. (Full time)

Question 3: Predict the first goal scorer of the match. (Finals)

You need all 3 questions correct. The catch? The contest closes on the 30th of June. (Finals will be played on the 9th of July.)

Talk about your impossible contests. You've pretty much got the exact same chance of winning a contest that requires you to complete a rubics cube blindfolded without seeing the cube to begin with...

I mean, if you're really that stingy about giving away the prize, then don't start the contest...Unless Twisties is running an underground bookie operation. Then the contest begins making sense. :)