'N' Level student-inmate from Tanah Merah Prison
Each day is a challenge for me to get through. Life in prison has never been easy, there are so many factors to consider. Even waking up in the morning is hard, knowing it is the same four pieces of bread and cup of tea or coffee. This is good enough for a deterrent for offenders to change.
My name is Ice. I am 22 years old and have 3 years to serve. I have served half of my sentence so it is easy to figure out my sentence duration. All this changed my life in ways nobody could empathise with, unless, you have killed before. I did mine unintentionally but it is still a life gone.
Due to my ignorance, I claimed a life with my own bare hands through an assault on the deceased. Back then, I was only 18 years old, I was young and rash. Gangster-ism was the cult I worshiped. To be a terror was my dream then. I was involved in every crime you can think of. It all started with small crimes like stealing and cheating before escalating to robbery and extortion. It was all about gaining money for night activities like clubbing and skirt chasing.
I grew up in a single parent household. My mother raised me single-handedly without any support from my father. He ran away when my mother was pregnant. Till this day, I can’t forgive him even though we are in contact now. From when I was young, my mother had to work in order to provide food for me; therefore, I was always left in the hands of my grandparents. They loved me dearly, I got anything I wanted just by pointing and even crying. I was already a little rascal when I was in primary school. I would play truant to hang out with the older boys and they would treat me like their little brother.
This group of boys taught me many vices that eventually led me to this life behind bars. They would give me money to buy drinks or food for them and the change was always given to me. They would give me cigarettes and taught me how to smoke coolly. They taught me how girls were meant to be for guys. All these little things corrupted me.
Well, I could not really indulge in the last vice till I was in secondary school. The vest was absorbed by me with the understanding that money was important to happiness. Without money, I could not eat or buy whatever I wanted. As my mother did not give me much for allowance, I turned to bullying and extortion of my fellow schoolmates.
At that point in life, I was spotted by gang members to be a potential recruit from the swagger I put on and fights I took on. Once, after beating the living daylight out of a boy who did not hand his pocket money to be at a staircase nearby the school, I was approached by a group of boys. They asked if I would like to join them or get beaten like what I just administered on the boy a minute before. It was as if I had no choice.
I joined their ranks and became a brother of the gang. Through this channel, I was able to achieve more destruction through my actions. Of course, back then, I didn’t consider it as destruction but rather what I should do as a gang member. By the time I finished secondary school, I did not leave the school with a certificate but with a group of my own boys. I left school and continued to climb the ranks of my gang and engaging into more serious crimes such as gambling dens and drug trafficking from one location to the next.
The crimes I committed were not important to me, I engaged myself in these activities in order to earn money for my vices and followers. It was like running your own company. I would feed my “boys” and they would work for me in various pies I had my hands in. What I really aspired to be was a gangster with a reputation such that everyone would know of me.
In the day, I was running the various operations I had collecting what earnings I could from my guys. At night was the real me. Bringing a few fighters that were loyal solely to me, we would go clubbing and disco dancing to ferret out rival gang members and start clashing. The main purpose was to spread the message as to how fierce I was. The best thing about me and my guys is that we did not fight rivals with less members than us. We would only take on bigger groups with the odds in their favour. Those we let off, we would just stop them and ask them to bring more of their brothers to fight.
Soon, I had the attention of my own gang’s headmen and management. I was quickly rose up and was given my own territory to protect and run my operations. I was finally getting the recognition for my efforts. I was a fool for thinking that this was the life for me. What I did not know was my mother could not look me in the eyes and call me “son”. She would cry every time I came home with blood. She did not care if it was mine or others, but only that I was still in fights.
She once told me “Son, one day you will take another’s life or lose yours, if you carry on!” I brushed it away as rumbles from my own mother as I was so used to it.
It actually happened.
I would not name the dates as that would give me away but all I can say is that it happened in 2015. On that day, I was out to catch a rival gang member who said that my gang was useless. This guy had escaped me a few times already but eventually, I caught with him. He was dragged out of the disco while everyone was looking, not one dared to get involved to help him or stop us. Whenever people who knew saw me, they knew I was up to no good. Someone would definitely get into an ambulance. What I did not know was that he would pass on from my beating. Finally, my mother’s words rang in my head when I was arrested for murder.
After investigation, I was luckily given a lesser charge that did not warrant a trip to the gallows. This tragic incident seriously woke me up. Looking back at all the things that I had done, I was ashamed of myself.
What I have today is only my mother. I have lost whatever boys and operations that had earned me the dough. Is this the life I will choose if I could go back in time? No, I will not.
For those who aspire to be gangsters or choose this way of life, look at me. Where would it eventually lead you to? Locked behind four walls.