An afterthought
October 27, 2011, 1:32 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign

“When Singapore is executing somebody, everyone in Singapore is executing somebody. Just that someone else is doing the executing for you.” – Mr. Toshi Kazama

There is a saying that a picture can tell a million stories, and indeed, Mr Toshi Kazama’s stories do. They tell stories that you and I do not know about, and the reality that lies beneath one of the most ancient and violent form of capital punishment – the death penalty – which has yet to be abolished in some countries, one of it being Singapore.

Mr Kazama, a photographer based in New York City, was here on 26 October 2011 to present his photographs and his story about his subjects – juveniles on death row in the States – in a private, via invitation only event jointly organised by Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign and We Believe in Second Chances. His photographs include the electronic chair (in Alabama’s prison, it was nicknamed the Yellow Mama because of its “motherly feel”), lethal injection chamber, execution chamber of Taiwan, prison cemeteries, death row inmates (16 – 18 year olds, ranging from those who were at the wrong place and the wrong time as well as those who had committed serious crimes), and both family members of the inmates and victims of the crimes. These photographs and the stories behind each of them evoked such a sense of sadness within me and I found tears in my eyes from time to time.

Mr Kazama also shared with us his story of being a survivor of an attempted murder. He nearly died from the attack and still suffers physical consequences of it but despite being victim to such a crime, he told his family and friends not to harbour hate towards the perpetrator. His touching message of love, humility, and the importance of finding the root of crimes that exists within the society really humbled me as a person and strengthened within me the reasons why I am still campaigning against the death penalty.

Keep up the good work, Mr Kazama!


10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

a fact – japan has the capital punishment and the majority of the people in japan support it.

Comment by m'sia news

A fact – yes we know that it is a fact but they are in fact considering other options now.
Another fact – Just because Mr Toshi is Japanese, but does not mean that he lives in Japan.
Another fact – Anti-death penalty advocates all over the world are still campaigning (and are allowed to campaign) against the DP despite its existence in their countries.

Question – Why don’t you volunteer to be the hangman since you are so hell bent on having it?

Comment by rachelabsinthe

A fact – japan invaded other asian countries and committed atrocities…and the majority of japanese were supportive of this sort of behaviour.

The lesson: majority support doesnt validate the morality of all facts.

Comment by Ginko Lee


Comment by rachelabsinthe

aiyoh…don’t bullshit la…you just same same trying to get some fame, you crying crocodile tears?! haha, maybe you shall when one day we hang you lor!

Comment by suf

If I am looking for fame, I would have done something else. Sorry to break your ignorant bubble. What goes on behind the public’s eye is hard work. You think we have a lot of time to spare is it, nothing better to do and have no day job(s)? You seem intent to keep the death penalty. Why don’t you volunteer for the prison to be the hangman?

Comment by rachelabsinthe

With modernization,comes change,the death penalty is certainly a very ancient way of punishment. There will surely be people breaking or violating the law and derserves to be punished but do we really believe by sentencing someone to die is a good way or are we being just like a mercenary and also merciless,yes we all need 2nd or 3rd chances, I honestly think that countries that still have this existing law should be abolished, I am sure the prison still have vacancies for these few people. Please do not make comparisions to past racial laws because if we do the whole world is guilty of that. We the people of this generation and time can make a difference in contributing a more humane approach to crime, crime is crime and certainly we all pay for it but is this the way to end it??

Comment by virginia hoeden

– I suspect that the ruling party will deal with the moral and ethical issues of MDP only when a ministers son or daughter is sentenced to hang for carrying a volume of drugs which only slightly exceeds the limit which made him or her qualify for the hangman’s noose.

– We have yet to see the capture and the execution of a drag baron. Its only the pathetic grunts who are captured and hung. Can someone correct me pse if the CNB have actually managed to charge a major drug dealer in court?

Comment by John Muhamad

In this world, some people are born bad. The only way
to change them are by the gallow.

Comment by avenger

I disagree.

Comment by rachelabsinthe

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