Tan Chor Jin (aka “One-eyed Dragon”) hung on Friday morning for murdering a former friend and nightclub owner Lim Hock Soon in 2006. His appeal for clemency to the President was turned down.
Criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan recounted in his memoirs, The Best I Could, his meeting with Mr Tan in August 2008, when he was getting him to sign his petition to the President.
One-eyed Dragon was sceptical about signing the petition, knowing that it would be turned down. But he told his lawyer that he wanted to defer his execution for as long as he could.
This was the exchange, as recounted by Mr Anandan:
One-eyed Dragon thought for a moment. “You know, I want to defer my execution for as long as I can.”
“Why? Are you afraid to die?” I asked.
“No, no, no. I’m not afraid to die. In fact, it would be quite good to die.”
“Then why do you want to delay the execution?”
“When I was arrested and charged, my son was only a few months old. Now he is almost two years old. When he comes to see me, he calls me ‘papa’. I spend time with him even though I’m in this condemned cell. I love that boy and love even more to hear him call me ‘papa’. I just want to hear him call me that for a few months more. That’s why I hope to have the execution delayed.”
I told him that when I send the petition to the President, I could include a note stating his wish. It could give him a little more time. He instructed me to do that.
Mr Tan may have been a convicted murderer who deserved to die under Singapore law, but his crime does not take away an ounce of humanity from him. As a father to a baby daughter, I feel sad for Mr Tan. He will not be able to hear his son call him ‘papa’ any more, and a young boy is going to grow up without a father.
May his soul rest in peace.