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The life of Kho Jabing

Kho Jabing (family photo)
Kho Jabing (family photo)
"He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." --Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) interrupting the public execution of a woman for adultery. John 8:7.

This is Jabing Kho. He was born in 1984, in a taxi on the way to hospital.

He grew up in a longhouse and was very close to his little sister Jumai, who turns 28 years old today.

He worked on a family plantation, then as a technician laying cables in Miri before moving to Singapore to earn a better wage to help his family.

He called his mother twice a day - once when he woke up in the morning, and once before going to bed at night.

He got very drunk one night - we don't know how drunk exactly, or how much the excessive levels of Ethanol he had consumed affected his mental capacity, because this was never established properly in court.

He did a very stupid, awful thing. Even a High Court judge said his choice of weapon was impulsive.

He didn't mean to kill a man, but he did.

For this one moment of violence our Singaporean criminal justice system began to exact a slow, steady vengeance.

We sentenced him to death, then life, then death again.

He sat in prison for nine years knowing he was waiting to be taken to die.

The Cabinet decided on clemency, the president signed the warrant, the prisons scheduled the execution.

His family were told to buy clothes for his pre-execution photo shoot, and to make funeral preparations for a man who was, at that time, neither critically ill nor dead.

There is no death, no murder, more premeditated than what happened today.


Source: Malaysiakini, Kirsten Han, May 20, 2016


Activist roasted on Facebook for slamming Kho Jabing’s execution

"The death penalty is the most premeditated of murders." -- Albert Camus

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 ― A Singaporean anti-death penalty activist earned a drubbing on Facebook after she wrote an emotional tribute about Kho Jabing, the Sarawakian who was executed in the island state yesterday for the murder of a Chinese national.

Angered by the hero treatment they claimed Kirsten Han had given the convicted killer, Facebook users flooded her timeline with comments, many angrily telling the activist to pay the same respect to the murdered Cao Ruyin.

“If Kirsten wants to make the murderer the victim and martyr and the victim anonymous, I have very serious doubts about her own personal values.

“What kind of society does she think we should be? Sounds like she supports the ideology of a particular Middle East country where women who are raped are guilty and the rapists are victims,” said user Surya Kumar.

“Actually, this post by her makes me sick!” she added.

Han, in her post yesterday, had posted photographs of Jabing as a youth and written about his childhood and life in Miri before he moved to Singapore in search of a better life for his family.

She said on the night of the murder, Jabing had consumed alcohol, and that this may have affected his mental faculties.

She lashed out at Singapore’s criminal justice system for the roller coaster ride Jabing was put through after he was sentenced to death and kept in prison for nine years while awaiting the punishment, which was commuted at one point to life imprisonment but then changed again to the original sentence.

User Jun Cai told Han to stop “romanticising” murderers and, referring to the activist’s inclusion of tales of Jabing’s early years in the tribute note, pointed out that everyone, even murderers, have childhoods.

Julian Lim pointed out that the victim, a 40-year-old Chinese construction worker, did not get a second chance at life but little has been said about his family and his life.

“Worthless piece of journalism. While we do not celebrate his execution, there is a need to romanticise it? I’m utterly appalled by the lack of objective displayed by the author.

“Did the victim not have a childhood? Your energies could be better served helping those who truly deserve it. Cold and callous article. Utter rubbish,” another user, Tan Tim, said.

As more comments poured in, Han decided to respond to her attackers, telling them that she felt no obligation to write a more “balanced” tribute as she was not producing a news report.

“I don’t apologise for it,” she said, adding that she would have written about the late Cao and interviewed his family as well but she could not be “everywhere at once writing everything at once”.

“I am just one person and am not omniscient. Also, I would very much like to encourage people to get involved in the things that they believe in ― if you feel that not enough attention or support is given to victims and their families, please take action and help them however you can.

“Set up support groups, raise funds, write their stories to fill that gap you so clearly see.

“Feel free to get in touch with me ― as I said, I'm more than willing to interview and document the struggles faced by victims ― and we will try to work something out. I will do my best,” Han said.

At the time of writing, Han’s tribute note has been shared 1,121 times, and garnered more than 1,300 reactions and about 383 comments.

Click here the full article

Source: The Malay Mail Online, May 21, 2016

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