Nguyen case to destroy relations with Singapore
Sunday November 27th 2005, 5:55 pm

Once riding in old Singapore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Singaporean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and said, "hang, digger."

I saw the whole of Singapore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That’s all that I remember.


(apologies to Countee Cullen.) 

7 Comments so far
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Hanging children — and there is no question that Nguyen is still but a child who was even more immature when he he was captured — will leave everybody with a bad impression.

Comment by Jennifer 11.27.05 @ 11:22 pm

Kerry Nettle from the Greens has asked that Australia cut its ties with the Singaporean military. This will send a message beyond Friday and I support that.

Comment by suki 11.28.05 @ 6:45 am

Jennifer, Van Nguyen was young, but not quite a child when he was arrested in 2002. He must surely have known what he was doing was illegal, but he had been blackmailed by the triads to which his brother owed money. I don’t think he expected to be searched simply because he was transferring through Singapore Airport. It’s really quite unusual for a person to be searched at transfer points- searches normally only happen at the intended destination. Regardless, the penalty is disproportionate to his crime, particularly given that he cooperated with police.

My adaptation of Countee Cullen’s poem was a bit of free-association, but truly fit because of the notion that some impressions override all others. As little as most Australians know about Singapore, hanging Nguyen will indeed be all that we remember.

Suki, I think you’re quite right- Australia should indeed cut all ties with Singapore’s military and should slam the door on any economic cooperation. I have given some serious thought to terminating my Optusnet service, but then I would not have access to a broadband connection- I’d be back on dialup. I think it’s better that I have an avenue to publicly put my objections into the fray rather than be voluntarily silenced.

Comment by weezil 11.28.05 @ 7:06 am

Today the papers report the ARREST of 3 Qantas staff in connection with a drug smuggling ring.
This would be the drug smuggling that was DENIED when Schapelle Corby needed them to admit it inorder to support her claim of innocence. Far Canal.

Comment by Brownie 11.28.05 @ 7:25 pm

Brownie, funny that.

It is known that a major cocaine smuggling operation was actively moving drugs through Sydney Airport on the day that Corby travelled to Bali.

The news item you reference does describe the very sort of a smuggling operation which would prove Corby’s alibi plausible.

Comment by weezil 11.28.05 @ 7:39 pm

Hi again. Nguyen was …what was it… 21 or 22, when he commited the crime? Has adolescence finished by 22? Has the frontal lobe fully developed by then? I’ll do my own research, but from what I recall this just isn’t the case. So, still a child then, in neurological terms. (But, good poem …)

Comment by Jennifer 12.03.05 @ 8:56 pm

* These most recent findings [about prefontal lobe development,] document ongoing development into the twenties, disprove earlier beliefs that brain development was complete before the beginning of adolescence.

Comment by Jennifer 12.03.05 @ 9:04 pm

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