Life is like the ocean, it perpetually flows and changes with time
'O' level student-inmate from institution TM1
Observe it. The ocean has never been stagnant. And never will be. Observe it again. Waves perpetually rise and fall. The fluctuating motion of the ocean, which is influenced by the gravitational force of the moon, will continue forever. Can we do something to stop the motion? To stop the colossal or tiny ridges of water moving across the top of the ocean so that the eyes will only witness a flat oceanic surface? Of course, we can never do that! The ocean will always flow and change. Waves will forever be seen rising and falling across its surface. At times, it crashes hard onto the shove, others, it slowly and smoothly sweeps above it. Similar to life, it cannot be stopped. It will keep on going no matter what. Life changes with every passing moment. Looking back from where I am right now, it is really hard to believe how my life has totally changed throughout these years.
I was just like all my other friends. I only wanted to have fun. I did fine in school back then but I played more than I studied. I really loved exploring every my neighbourhood in search of adventures. My friends and I would go out early in the morning and come back home late at night. I met all kinds of different backgrounds around the street. So as early as before I turned 15, there were so many things that I had already tried, which I was not supposed to. I did everything out of curiosity. Never once did I think about the consequences. I was having a lot of fun with my friends. I relentlessly pursued fun and adventures without adventures without any limits until I got entangled with humorous crimes. I did not notice the dangers my actions entailed. Unfortunately, two months prior to 16th birthday, while I was at home spending time with my loving father and sweet elder sister, police officers came and took me away.
My life changed drastically from then on. While serving my short detention period in Boy's Home, I grew and learnt so much in there. Most of the things I learnt were negative of course. In those days, Boy's home was a place where boys were "trained and groomed to be street gangsters.” I got influenced by all the older boys. I thought the way they behaved and the things they did were cool, so I followed in their footsteps. Shortly after my release, I steered my life to a different route. I literally dug my own grave by living the life of a gangster as well as an addict. I changed so much that my family and some used-to- be friends were surprised by it. It was as if they did not know me anymore - like the person I used to be was just an illusion that temporarily came into their lives and went away shortly after. My world revolved around friends, drugs, and gang activities. Relationships with my loved ones were greatly severed.
Then I fell deeper into my own mess. I went in and out of prison a few times and the last one really shook me through my bones. I almost got hanged because I had caused a life to be lost forever in a clash between two street gangs.
Three years before the High Court decided to let me continue walking earth, I was segregated at a small, isolated block in the massive Changi Prison. I still do not know if I had gone temporarily insane, but I talked and laughed to myself when reminiscing about my past life in the outside world. I felt so lonely but there was nothing I could do. Thus, I prayed and reflected about every single thing that I had done when liberty was still my prerogative. During visits, my family. cried when they looked at me. When they looked at the mess I was and the mess I put myself into. I had messed up so it was only logical that I should apologise first to my family. However, before I could open my once big mouth that had turned so small and heavy, my family forgave me first. They said it was okay. They forgave me and still loved me. They promised to be with me. Tears streaked down their cheeks as they tried to give me the courage and support that I obviously needed. The stabbing pain in my heart was something I had never felt before. That night I made a promise to myself. I did not know yet what fate would be, nonetheless, I decided to change and live a proper life. Like the waves of the ocean, it rises high and falls deep into the depth. Then again, it rises slowly.
No sea creatures are able to defy the strong current of the waves. Even big whales end up dying on the shores every now and then. I hate my past, but I cannot change it. I was engulfed by the high delusional waves that cost me so much. However, I could not go deeper after hitting the bedrock, so the waves pulled me up from its depth as it rose towards the surface of the ocean. Life is like the ocean, perpetually flows and changes with time.
I am a student now in Tanah Merah prison School. I am doing my 'O' level this year. I did quite well for both my General Education and 'N' levels. My relationships with my family, close relatives, as well as some good old friends, have strengthened. Personally, I changed a lot too - to the point that some old friends who used to be close to me and prison officers who looked after me during my previous incarceration could no longer recognise me. I have dreams now. I am so excited about my future even though I still have a long way to go before I can step my foot on the other side of the prison gate. My life is so bright now. I feel blessed and grateful for everything that turned out well for me. Some waves rise very high above the ocean's surface. Just like the waves, I am reaching for the sky now!