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I was only thirteen years old when I started using - by I

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My Pillar(s) of Strength

'N' Level student-inmate from Changi Women's Prison

3rd Prize


            My mind was dazed in a mist of memories. A drag of life, which heavy chain lengthen behind with many link of pain. I was only thirteen years old when I started using heroin. For some teenagers this age would be for the time for them pursuing their dreams and goals. Studying hard to achieve their ambitions. But for me, I dropped off school and mixing with the wrong company. Ever since my mum no longer with my dad, I had chosen the path that I want to be stay away from home, going to night clubs and tired all sorts of new stuff and smoke. Cough mixture, pills, ecstasy and heroin had already been a part of me. I had a ‘god-brother’ who adores me very much. His name is Tom. He makes me forget of the problems I had in my family. I would story to him about what my dad had done to my mum and my siblings.

My dad had remarried to another woman, mum and three of my other siblings were asked to leave the house. We got no place to stay, but mum managed to call her friend to take us in for a night. I was frustrated with what dad had done to us. I told myself that I would take care of mum and support her no matter what it takes. Tom let me smoke heroin for the first time, the kick makes me feel high and my mind was clear of my problems. He would take me to parties and gave me money to spend.

One day, I told him that I want to work and support my mum financially, he decided to let me run his business with him. Tom is a drug trafficker. He wants me to be his ‘kuda’ or some pusher. At times I would be his shadow, follow him to send all the stuff to his customers. I earned fast and big money from him. My mum was curious for the sum of money that I gave to her each time, she would asking me, “Kak, what work are you doing? Why every week you gave me so much?” I would answer, “Mama, you don’t worry. I worked as waitress at a restaurant. I asked for weekly pay, the extra normally I got tipping from the customer who dines in the restaurant.” From her face impression, I knew that it’s hard for her to believe, two hundred and fifty dollars weekly is more than what my brother and sister had gave her. I was the younger daughter and she did not expect anything from me.

As time goes by, my consumption was getting heavier. My dosage getting more and more. I have to change to syringe and inject into my veins to feel the kick. It was four years now I had been with Tom, he is no longer my ‘god-brother’ but the status had change to my lover. Sadly, it did not last that long. On our fifth year together, Tom was caught at Geylang with Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). It broke my heart when I got the news. I went back home and looked for my mum. I saw her watching television at the hall. I ran to her and cried on her lap. I told her what happened to Tom. She consoled me to cool down. Only then my mum realised that all this while I had been lying to her about my job and my boyfriend.

My mum was shocked and got angry after listening to my explanation and reason why I chose to earn that way of income. She told me to stop everything as she did not want me to be the next to be caught. I gave her my words to stop but not for long, I started to consume it again. It was hard for me to resist the temptation.  Quietly, I was still consuming without her knowledge. It keeps going on until I was twenty-nine years old. This was the first time in my life that I was caught by CNB and held for detention at the Changi Women Prison.

The first time my mum came down to visit me, I was too ashamed to even look at her face. I was feeling guilty as I broke my promise and disappoint her. She told me that she had forgave me and wanted me to change when I was released. 2014 was my first admission for drug abuse. Upon my release, my mum celebrated my freedom and cooked my favourite dish. I told her what I had face being in prison. Rules and regulations to abide. Too many restrictions that I did not want to come back to prison again.

In 2015, in the middle of the year, I was caught again for drug abuse. I was caught ‘chasing the dragon’ at my friend’s place when the CNB came and raid. I was imprisoned for eighteen months. Without fail, my mum still come to visit me, despite the promise I had broken and the pain and sorrow she has felt. She told me that, she was to be blamed for my doing. She did not take good care of me, that was why I go back to drugs. I felt guilty and remorseful for what had happened and what I did to my mum.

No matter how much pain that I had caused, she is always there for me. She believed that one day I would change to be her good daughter. Through all the struggles that she had been through taking care of her children, she never despises us or abandon us. I was glad that I got a mum that was as strong as a pillar to give me the support and show me to the path of change. Each time she visits, she would gave me motivation words and support in my studies for me to build a new future upon my release.

For my fellow friends out there, do cherish the person who loves you before it was too late. I got an inmate in here, where her dad had passed away during her imprisonment. It gave me a big impact too of what happened to her. I always pray that my pillar would always stay strong and waiting for her new reborn daughter to be released.


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