NUS Graduate Holds ‘Abolish Death Penalty’ Sign During Convocation Ceremony On 6 Jul
UPDATE (15 Jul): After the police’s confirmation that they’re looking into the incident, NUS issued a statement on the case saying that the NUS Commencement is “not a forum for advocacy”
Of late, Singapore has come under scrutiny for its practice of capital punishment, especially after the recent execution of several drug traffickers on death row.
Interestingly, the protest against the death penalty hasn’t just come from abroad but from some people in Singapore too.
Most recently, a National University of Singapore (NUS) graduate decided to protest the punishment during his convocation by holding up an ‘abolish death penalty’ sign on stage.
By doing so, the student said he hopes to inspire others to “take similar action” and take a stand against “violence”
NUS graduate protests death penalty during convocation
Last Wednesday (6 Jul), Malaysian drug trafficker Kalwant Singh received the chance to argue his case a day before his execution.
The appeal, however, turned out to be unsuccessful. Kalwant was executed on Thursday (7 Jul).
On the day of Kalwant’s appeal, an NUS graduate who goes by the moniker ‘Luke’ was attending his graduation ceremony.
But beyond collecting his hard-earned certificate, the graduate decided to use the chance to amplify his stance against the death penalty.
As he walked up on stage to receive his certificate, Luke unfolded a sign from his gown pocket, which read,
ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY
No to STATE MURDER
END POVERTY, NOT LIFE
BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS
Luke shared that he continued holding the sign up even as photographs took his pictures and as he left the stage.
Explaining the protest, Luke wrote that he was “uncomfortable with this juxtaposition of being celebrated by an institution of the state that was going to murder two the next day”.
Describing what he did as a “small act”, Luke hopes to inspire others to similarly “stand against violence”.
In a lengthy chain of tweets, Luke also claims that edits were made to the official footage of the graduation ceremony.
NUS say commencement ceremony is “not a forum for advocacy”
Responding to TODAY‘s queries, the police said they’ve received a report about the incident and are currently looking into the matter.
NUS has also issued a statement on the matter, saying that graduates and guests should “conduct themselves appropriately” during the NUS Commencement ceremony. T
The NUS spokesperson added that the ceremony is “not a forum for advocacy”.
Former NUS student’s courage is commendable
The death sentence in Singapore will likely remain a controversial subject for the foreseeable future.
While opinions remain divided, there are perhaps other ways to express them rather than at a formal event.
Regardless, we salute the graduate for having the courage to stand up for what he believes in.
Hopefully, he made a strong enough impact to get more fruitful discussions going about the topic.
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Featured image adapted from @AngMohSnowball on Twitter
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