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I had been in and out of prison for as many times as I can remember - by M.N.

Chosen Topic:

Indeed what is to come will be better for you than what has gone by

Student-inmate from Tanah Merah Prison

Consolation Prize

Every one of us yearn to live a good life. Most may find contentment in worldly riches and luxuries. Other may find fulfilment in being able to serve the community while there may be some people who attain great pleasure in playing a role in guiding someone else achieve their goal. These are just some of the many examples of the purpose in life that we seek but sadly, that was not the case with me many years back, which eventually became the reason for my current incarceration.

To put it bluntly, I had no direction. I did almost everything what a growing up kid could think of. I started smoking cigarette at the age of 8 and progressed to marijuana at 16. I first came in prison at 18 for the consumption of the said drug but came out a year later with an even intricate knowledge of a few other drugs. Thus, the roller-coaster of my life began to unfold.

Ever since, I had been in and out of prison for as many times as I can remember. All for drug related offences. Having come from a poor family, drugs gave me a form of escape from the harsh reality of my world. It gave me a feeling that I can bring in a box that is so full of mysteries. Never had I once realise that I am actually trapped like a prisoner of my own device. The worst of it turned to need and that eventually turned to crave.

So how does a poor man sustain his drug habits?  Everything short of murder. I would beg, extort, work for daily pay, steal, rob and countless more. It was always for drugs. Rational thinking would be out of the window once the craving hit me.

I am currently 37 years of age. It has been almost 20 long years that I have put my family through endless sufferings and humiliation. How could I be so heartless as to watch my family, when I preferred undying love for, pay for my wrongs? How could I put my loved ones through hardship and pain over and over again? And what is worse, how can I forget the stint in prison that should have got me changing for the betterment of my future but instead got me coming back?

At this stage, I am utterly embarrassed to make promises that I could not seem to keep. This time round, something inside me just clicked and woke up and it shouted “Enough is enough!” Although I do not know how I am going to do it, I will definitely try to stay away from prison by staying clean. I hope against all hope and I wish against all wishes that tomorrow will bring a better future for me and my dear ones.

So now I am here, writing this essay in a bid to win some money for my family and someone is over there reading it. I do not think I can win this, seeing who I am up against. But I do feel better as this competition is a medium for me to pour out my heartfelt thoughts and what is more satisfying is that someone is actually reading this.

Yes indeed, I hope, what is to come for me will be better than what has gone by.


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