Mr Ong was referred to Fei Yue Prison Care Division by Singapore Prison Service in year 2017. He used to have gambling addiction problem thus led to the offences he had committed, however his family did not give up on him, especially his girlfriend who had been his greater support since the incarceration. Till date, she still kept away his passport from him and assists to manage his finances for him. Mr Ong also took time to build back the trust with his family and he believed that action speaks louder than words therefore; he would focus most of his time in working and savings up his money.
He mentioned that he needed startup fund to rebuild his life upon his release from prison; therefore, he had approached community resources such as, CDAC and SSO that were available out there for him. Mei Yi, social worker from Fei Yue Prison Care Division was his assigned caseworker back then. She had assisted to apply Yellow Ribbon Emergency Fund, NTUC vouchers and Ezlink Card for Mr Ong to cope with his daily expenses while securing a job.
Mr Ong used to work as an associate manager in a private bank, however, he knew that this job option no longer available for his as MAS had barred him from financial institutions due to his CBT offence. At that time, his goals were to secure a job as soon as possible, earn a stable income and settle down with his girlfriend 2 years later, upon his release. He had feared that it would not be easy for him to secure a job because of the stigma that he would be facing from the community. However, Social worker Mei Yi reminded him to stay focus on his goal and encouraged him to attend as much interview as possible, or directed him to seek help from ISCOS and/or or SCORE. He did as he was told and attend as much interview as possible, such as hotel industry and warehouse industry and finally, he started his first job as a temporary warehouse assistant in an e-commerce company.
Mr Ong was thankful for the encouragement that his Fei Yue caseworker had shown him during the 3 months of support back then. Even though he started out as a temporary warehouse assistant but she would encourage him and affirmed his effort in securing a job and maintaining in the job. From a temporary warehouse assistant, he was offered to be a temporary admin officer and eventually a permanent customer service executive in the same company within a year, upon his release.
In 2018 August, Mr Ong joined a new company as a customer service manager and immediately he thought of sharing this joy with his caseworker, letting her know of his progression. They did not keep regular contacts but once in a while, he would drop her message to update on his life. Mr Og shared that he would prefer if the case management could extend more than 3 months would be better for ex-offenders like them, because the emotional support is needful and sometime, other than own family members, they could have someone to discuss or seek advice on their daily issues, regarding work, family or personal issues.
Mr Ong remembered Mei Yi had told him, “Nobody can tell you, you can’t do it or you can’t achieve it, if you’ve set up your mind to do it, then go for it.” Therefore, during these 2 years, he had been working very hard, go the extra mile for his customers and value add his services for his company to prove his worth and achieving his goals. Today, his income is stable; he had returned to stay with his family and had been saving up regularly for his wedding. He was really happy of his improvement and grateful that he did not give up on himself as well.
Mr Ong shared that in future, when he is confident enough of his transformation; he wished to share his experience with other ex-offenders that as long as they are willing to work hard and focus on their positive goals, that are all that matters.
Mr Ong believes that “Everyone deserves to give themselves a second chance to begin again, never stop rebuilding or reforming our lives for the better.”
Client had chosen this picture to represent his situation right now.