“Please give Yong a second chance in life too.”

I grew up in a lower-middle income family in Singapore and my parents were always busy at work just to make ends meet. My elder brother used to bully me and we often fought when we were young. Whenever my dad comes home, he would beat the hell out of the two of us whenever we got into an argument. Sometimes, my dad returns home drunk and would turn violent on my mum with broken furniture and blood everywhere.

I hated being at home and I got to know friends in the neighbourhood who had similar family problems. We smoked, joined gangs, got into fights and drugs both selling and consumption. Having seen my cousin in the same gang got killed during a gang fight over mistaken identity, I gradually distanced myself from the gang but still got hooked to drugs.

On 21 Nov 1999, I had a very bad trip on ecstacy and suffered fits and psychosis, my friends had no choice but to inform my parents who in turned called the ambulance. I was admitted to hospital for 5 days, totally insane and speaking a different language. Police came and my dad pleaded for a second chance because of my insanity and due to the fact that I would be graduating from a polytechnic in a few months’ time.

I have no idea why the police didn’t take any action against me even though clinical records clearly showed I got involved with drugs. Perhaps it was due to my father’s plea, I have no idea, even until now and I don’t talk about it anymore.

It took me a few weeks to recover and it was a very tough few weeks. It was the most terrible experience of my life. I am 30 years old now, earning a good income to support my parents, wife and son.

I do not think I deserve the second chance anymore than Yong. Please give Yong a second chance in life too.

Written by: Jamie Mygraine

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This piece was written as part of We Believe In Second Chances’ Then And Now series, where people share their personal experiences and reflect on how they have changed from when they were young (or younger), or how second chances have helped them.

If you would like to share your own story, please do. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you live or how “boring” you think your life is – everyone has his or her own experience and everyone has a story. There is no word limit, and don’t worry about your language/writing skills – this is not a composition test!

Please send in your pieces to webelieveinsecondchances@gmail.com.

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