Manhunt Singapore finalist used to 'destroy his body' with drugs
One would probably not have guessed that Mr Augustine Jadyn Ng was once a gang member and a drug abuser who spent more than four years in jail.
"I don't think there was one factor (for joining a gang), but it was probably because I wanted to have a sense of belonging," Mr Ng, 25, told The New Paper yesterday.
The sales executive is studying part-time for a degree in construction management at SIM Global Education.
Mr Ng, who is one of the 20 Manhunt Singapore finalists this year, got involved in gangs while in secondary school. He was jailed in 2007 for drug abuse and voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
In his last year behind bars, he vowed to start anew and severed ties with his gang.
"I realised that life is so much more than those gang activities, which are wrong," he said.
He attributed this change to becoming more mature with age and missing out on a normal teenager's life.
"The ages of 16 to 21 are the prime of most people's lives. I missed that period by being inside (jail)," he said.
Ten months after his release in 2013, Mr Ng embarked on a new commitment - bodybuilding.
"I was tired of people calling me skinny," he said.
The constant comments about his slim build in secondary school and prison made him "feel downtrodden", he added.
Initially, his motivation for exercising was simply to improve his physical appearance. When he realised the health benefits of bodybuilding, he was even more motivated.
He said: "I used to destroy my body with drugs. Going to the gym is the exact opposite of what I used to do."
Augustine Jadyn Ng, 25, a Manhunt Singapore 2016 finalist, is an ex-convict. He served four-and-a-half years in prison for drug abuse and voluntarily causing grievous hurt. TNP PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
Mr Ng, who is 1.78m tall, was 59kg before his exercise regimes. He now weighs 75kg.
He joined Manhunt Singapore after he was scouted by the organisers.
"I was reluctant (to take part) because I had no confidence," he said.
"I didn't go through national service, I wasn't an officer, I didn't have the usual attributes of Manhunt contestants."
He eventually agreed to sign up after encouragement by the organisers.
He hopes his involvement will serve as an inspiration to others.
"(I want) to show others that if an ex-offender can be in Manhunt, a lot of things are actually in our control."