Find out how a reformed citizen found his way back to society with the help of Break the Cycle.
“I was imprisoned seven times because of my past addiction to drugs. Though I’m not proud of it, I’ve probably tried more drugs than one could name. Yet, despite how I was such a terrible person, God still chose to pull me out from that darkness.
I failed to understand the profound impact my choices had on those closest to me. I used to think that using drugs would only affect my own life, but I ended up hurting my family most. I especially put my mother and my two sons through immense pain.
It was during my darkest moments, still trapped in the clutches of addiction, that a flicker of self-love ignited within me. I should love myself first before I can love others. After losing half my life to drugs, it was high time for me to take responsibility and give back to my family.
No longer wanting my mother to worry about me all the time, I decided to make a commitment to myself to leave drugs behind and reintegrate into society.
Unfortunately, only a few months into rehabilitation, my mother passed on. Nevertheless, I am glad she got to know that her son was changing for the better before she departed.
It was God’s doing that I found a job in Decathlon. Despite being an ex-offender who needs to report for weekly urine tests, my employer had faith in me and my recovery journey.
Whenever I hear how challenging it is for ex-offenders like myself to secure jobs, I am reminded of how fortunate I have been. My only hope is that society will be more widely accepting of ex-offenders starting afresh.
As my passion is cycling, I chose to work in the bicycle department of Decathlon – it brings me the utmost joy. I also cycle with Break the Cycle (BtC), a ground-up initiative by cyclists who cycle to break the ‘cycle’ of recidivism in Singapore.
Joining BtC has been a life changing experience. They helped me get into Bike School Asia, where I got my certification as a bicycle technician. BtC accepted me, supported me and gave me a sense of belonging that really encouraged me on my journey to recovery. In fact, cycling has left such a positive impact on my life, I feel 38 even though I’m 51 this year!
Together with my BtC peers, we recently participated and conquered the Everesting for Second Chances cycling challenge, accumulating 8,848 metres in elevation gain – that’s the height of Mount Everest!
This was organised by HCSA Community Services where all proceeds will go to the HCSA Highpoint Halfway House. This halfway house focuses on supporting ex-offenders in their reintegration and achieve longer term desistance with its programmes and services.
We pedalled alongside one another, taking this challenge as another step in our journey of reintegration and perseverance. As of 21 July 2023, I am proud to say that my team has accumulated 307,750 metres in elevation gain. Do support us on Everesting for Second Chances which is ongoing till 31 July!
I am grateful that I have found a place within BtC, which has brought together fellow ex- offenders who love to cycle and need a helping hand to get back on their feet. With Everesting, supporting each other during the cycling challenge is akin to how we stand in solidarity with ex-offenders during their reintegration process.
We can do it, but we cannot do it alone. The feeling of accomplishing this feat with a great team of people is truly like no other, and I am honoured to be part of this community.
Story submission by Ng Chih Chung
ABOUT EVERESTING FOR SECOND CHANCES
Organised by HCSA Community Services (HCSA) and supported by the Singapore Cycling Federation, National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre and Yellow Ribbon Singapore, Everesting for Second Chances hopes to rally the public to conquer the equivalent height of Mount Everest by pedalling, while fostering support for ex-offenders in their journey to rebuild their lives.
Proceeds from the fundraising will go to HCSA Highpoint Halfway House, a programme under HCSA, to support ex-offenders in their reintegration. Please visit @secondchancessg on Instagram for more information, or donate to the cause here. If you would like to know more about Break the Cycle (BtC), please visit them at Break the Cycle SG on Facebook.