05/09/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT
Let the caning begin! That was the view this week of most correspondents, who had little sympathy for U.S. teenager Michael Fay (PEOPLE, April 18), convicted of vandalism in Singapore and sentenced to six Moody strokes with a rattan cane. Fed up with crime in America, letter writers noted that Singapore is a safe and law-abiding society, and they urged that the U.S. follow its example in punishing its young. Writers were equally unsympathetic with model Christie Brinkley, who escaped serious injury in a Colorado helicopter crash.
Gimme a break! Paying $500 a day to ski—and signing a waiver putting your life and your child's on the line? Sorry! I have no sympathy for Sandra Carradine or Ms. Brinkley. If this is how the rich value their lives, then I am glad to be a member of the working class!
ALMA CHAPMAN, Plains, Ga.
Isn't it remarkable how this woman has a near-fatal accident that would require most of us to spend the rest of our lives in therapy and she still has the presence of mind to have the ski guide snapping pictures documenting her torment? And self-portraits with the camera held at arm's length? "I still haven't figured out what it all means," says Brinkley. Neither have I, Christie.
PATRICIA CHARRON, Louisville, Ky.
I believe it would be beneficial for Christie Brinkley to further her education but not in the medical field. She should take a course in common sense. If you can't get to the top of the mountain by ski lift, then the mountain is not meant for someone to ski down. As for Sandra Carradine, you have some nerve risking the life of your 11-year-old child. If you have a death wish, fine, but keep your son out of it.
LAURA A. SMITH, Rahway N.J.
Singapore is reportedly the safest and cleanest country in the world. America is circling the drain. I feel absolutely no sympathy for offenders like Michael Fay. He did the crime, now he can do the time. I only wish we would make and enforce such laws in our own country.
ANITA M. HOOSON, Ridgefield, Wash.
How presumptuous you are to say that the dozens of Americans who wrote to the Singaporean embassy in Washington in support of the Michael Fay sentence may have assumed the sentence was "mere humiliation"! Just because we disagree with your liberal point of view, must you assume we are too stupid to know exactly what it is we support? I am in full agreement with the caning, and I fully understand its ramifications.
CAROLINE B. HOWLAND, Seneca, S.C.
Michael Fay's punishment does not fit the crime. He caused no one physical harm. A fine, a short prison sentence, community service and paying for damages would have been more than sufficient. Let's save the flogging for child molesters, kidnappers, rapists and wife beaters.
SHARON PITSTICK, Dayton
Returning to my office after spending 3½ hours in a courtroom to testify for the county that I witnessed two young males break into vehicles, the last thing I needed to see on my desk was Michael Fay's mother saying she is worried about her son's state of mind. What about the thousands of people who are out working for a living while others are vandalizing their homes and cars? As the mother of three, I would hate to see any harm come to them, but at the age of 18, they know the difference between right and wrong. If they don't, they will have to learn the hard way.
BARBARA URBAN, Dale City, Va.
You're right! If Michael Fay had committed his acts of vandalism in the U.S., he "would almost certainly have ended up on probation." This is exactly why would-be criminals respect the law in Singapore and scoff at it here. All I can say is that if he had vandalized my car, he would have received more than a caning.
JEFF BAGGISH, Baltimore
Bravo to officials in Singapore for dealing with punks. Come on, Michael Fay, quit sniveling—take it like a man, you crybaby! Make sure you videotape the flogging so you can come home to America and make a million on the talk show circuit.
MISSEY PERKINS, Fullerton, Calif.
It is hard to imagine that the Singapore government, which is so progressive in many ways, continues to practice such barbaric forms of punishment. I worked with Michael's stepfather, Marco Chan, and I remember how excited he was when assigned to Singapore and how happy that his stepson would be joining them. The terror he and his family are living through now can only be magnified by the insensitivity displayed by Americans ignorant enough to applaud this torture.
AMELIA T. TESS, Danville, Calif.
When you live in a country, you abide by their rules—just like when the Japanese come to America, they get carjacked and shot like everybody else!
STELLA CHURCHILL, San Francisco
PICKS & PANS
In response to Tom Gliatto's review of Honor Thy Father and Mother, what's wrong with James Farentino looking distractingly like Soupy Sales?
SOUPY SALES, New York City