By Andrew Nachemson / Al Jazeera

When Angelia Pranthaman walked on stage in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to unveil a new song written by her brother on death row, she told a story about the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates.

Like Pannir Selvam Pranthaman, Socrates was sentenced to death, but while awaiting his punishment the philosopher began to try to learn the flute.

“But we are going to die tomorrow, what use will that be to you?” asked another man on death row.

Angelia told the audience the story helps her understand her brother better, who is creating music even while awaiting execution for heroin trafficking.

“Pannir has a message for us to bring back to society and the government: we can’t change the past, but we can make use of the time we have now,” she said at the event on July 29, as she appealed for his sentence to be commuted.