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Nothing is impossible if you put your heart and mind to it - by F.S.

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Change begins with choice

'N' Level student-inmate from institution TM1

1st Prize

Change begins with a choice and often occur for a reason. It could be either for the better or for worse. In order to change, we will have to give up our old self and create a new better one. Therefore, who we will be is determined to in the chances we choose to make. It is important to know who we want to be or recognize as since we are the writer of our story. Hence, we should strive to be someone better then yesterday.

Nobody said that changing to be a better individual would be easy but that does not mean it is impossible. There will be people even the closest to us that who might judge and doubt us, but the real friends will emerge and give us all the support we need. During this process, we must learn to acknowledge the people who willingly support us and appreciate them while we let go of the people that have been distracting us from being our best self.

I would like to take this opportunity to share a short story of myself and how I manage to change. I involved myself in drugs and gongs for about seven years. Back then, while people my age was busy studying. I spent most of my time with drugs, playing and fighting with anyone that got in our way. I would say that my life was full of excitement back then.

It was all fun and games until I was enlisted to Notional Service and unable to attend the Fire Fighting Course, I was in PES'A'. This occurred due to say the presence of my pending cases and I was told that they could not risk losing firefighters halfway. I was then posted to Woodland Fire Station of a Watch Room Operator. Nothing hurt more than sitting in the watch room while the rest of my crew responded for calls, saving lives and risking theirs when I could be doing the same.

It has always been my dream to be a fire fighter and if I knew what I did in the post would prevent it from being reality, I would have never done it. After rounds of self-reflection. I decided to leave my post and rewrite my story. Besides being firefighter, playing my favourite sport competitively have always been in my wish list. I was thrilled when my Rota Commander announced the reopening of inter-division. Sepak Takraw competition after two years of cancelling it due to the pandemic.

I then took my chance and went for the training to try out for the selections hoping I will be selected to represent 4th division in the competition. After months of training, it was time for my court hearing. I was sent to remand and unfortunately, it clashed with the selection phase. Upon my release. I was told that I was selected. However, my spot in the first line up had been replaced and I was in the reserves. Just when I thought life could not get any lower, I was involved in a motorbike accident and could not bend my night knee. Giving up was the only thing I could think of my fiancée and family reassured and help me throughout my healing and training journey.

One month have passed and it was down to my final court hearing. At that very some month, it was time for the competition. I was too stunned to speak when the judge sentenced me to Tanah Merah Prison commencing on that very day onwards. Decisions were final and my hands had been cuffed. I had gone through too much to accept defeat, therefore I requested for my case to be re-mentioned. After rounds of discussion, I was given two weeks bail and the competition date was a day before my surrender. I would say that every hard work paid off.

I then realised that where we are a year from now depends on the choices we make today. Nothing is impossible if you put your heart and mind to it. Currently I am in Prison School taking my GCE 'N' levels. I hope to pursue my studies and turn my dreams into reality. I believe that we shall not dwell on the past as we cannot turn back time but we can write our future. I doubt it will be a walk in the park but with the support I have, I am confident to overcome it.

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