Grateful that mum was 'hard-hearted'

It took nearly a year before he could forgive his mother for turning him in, says Madam Chua Kee Ching's son, who is now 22.

Madam Chua had reported him to the police for possession of a dangerous weapon, and he was sentenced to 18 months in a reformative training centre (RTC).

"I hated her. Every day in the RTC, I wished that my mother was dead," says the man, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan.

He is currently studying at a local polytechnic and says that most of his friends now do not know of his past.

"It's something that I am ashamed of," he says. "For as much I can, I hope to keep that part a secret."

Mr Tan is reluctant to give more details on why he became rebellious, but lets on that he had joined a street gang when he was in Sec 2.

"I got to know them through a classmate's brother and the gang members became my good friends," he says.

"We'd hang out together and pick fights with anyone and everyone.

"I think it was a matter of trying to look cool. After a while, my studies suffered because it was really uncool to be smart."


But the knife he carried in his backpack, he insists, was not meant to be used at all.

"I can't justify why I did that but I also did not think I'd use it on anyone. When we fought, we used our fists, not a weapon."

Mr Tan says he initially felt "very hurt and disappointed" when his mother turned him in.

"She is my mother. I could not understand why she had to be so hard-hearted."

He even refused to see his mother while he was in RTC.

After his release, Mr Tan went to live with his aunt.

"It was only much later that my aunt told me about the agony my mother had gone through," she says.

It took Mr Tan another full year before he could finally speak to his mother "nicely".

He says: "But now, I am grateful that it is because of her that I have a new chance at life."