We often have the perception that ex-convicts would be failures in life even when they are released, but this is actually the wrong perception. Instead, they should be given the chance to turn over a new leaf, and not be discriminated by the public.
This Singaporean man didn’t let his troubled past get in the way of his success and decided that he would fully utilise his time in prison to improve his life when he was released. Chen Quan Xing was sentenced to 20 years in prison when he was 26 years old for drug trafficking and narrowly escaped the death penalty.
Born in Bukit Timah to a fishmonger father and a housewife mother, Chen was led astray when he got influenced by friends at the tender age of 14. According to Oriental Daily, he said he was a regular troublemaker and indulged in drinking, gambling, partying, fighting and taking drugs.
Eventually, he owed a huge amount of money and had no choice but to resort to drug trafficking to pay his debts. However, he said, “I got caught the very first time I sold drugs. At that moment, I was thinking to myself that my life is over.”
“I was charged with selling more than 10 grams of heroin which carried a death penalty upon conviction. Thankfully, God gave me another chance at life because there was some issue with the prosecution’s evidence so I was sentenced to 20 years in prison instead. I was only released from prison when I was 40 years old.”
Luckily, Chen matured quickly in prison and pondered over his life and his poor parents. He took this as his second chance at life and a wake-up call and thus, decided to improve himself. His parents visited him and advised him not to give up on himself.
During his incarceration, Chen lamented his lost youth but he put his time inside to good use by pursuing his education. He got his O Levels and A Levels, as well as a diploma in business management. After he was released, he worked at a furniture shop owned by his childhood friend and slowly climbed his way to the top.
A year later, he was made a partner and director of the furniture shop, which currently boasts a turnover of SGD$5.5 million (aprox. RM17 million). He also met his wife through the furniture shop and says, “I am very grateful to my friends and family for never giving up on me. They have been a great help to me and gave me a second chance.”
Now, Chen spends his free time actively helping other convicts and gives them advice and counselling based on his experience so that they would not fall back into their old ways once they are released into society.
We should all learn from him!
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