GE 2015 – PAP Potential Rock Star Candidate Josephus Tan Says making mistakes isn’t shameful, but being unrepentant is.


Josephus Tan

 GE 2015 - PAP Potential Rock Star Candidate Josephus Tan Says making mistakes isn't shameful, but being unrepentant is.

GE 2015 – PAP Potential Rock Star Candidate Josephus Tan Says making mistakes isn’t shameful, but being unrepentant is.

Went to get a late lunch at Waterloo Street Hawker Centre (one of my usual weekend lunch places) and bumped into my NS friend, TK Lee while buying some tissue packets from a blind man. It’s been many years since we met so we chit-chatted for a bit over coffee. Asked him what he’s doing there and he told me he goes to the Guanyin Temple@Bugis regularly to pray and offer thanks for his family. He was also waiting to pick up his wife who’s at work. 

I knew his background during NS where we were both serving as martial arts instructors. Then, I knew him as a former gangster. Though we spoke the same lingo, I am way out of his league. I asked him for permission to do this post because I believe his personal story will be highly inspirational to our youths. It is also timely in light of Episode 2 of “流氓律师” (Second Chance) last night when the character played by Desmond Tan 陈泂江gave a talk in the school highlighting an important message which I’ve been advocating all these years.

In summary, my friend was convicted of a very serious offence when he’s a juvenile and was consequently remanded for a period of time. It was during his time that he resolved to straighten out his life. Thereafter, he renounced his gang affiliation and worked hard on getting his life back on track. He completed his vocational course at the Institute of Technical Education, Singapore, and achieved solid grades to secure a place at Ngee Ann Polytechnic to study electrical engineering. But it didn’t stop there. He went further and secured a place at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and then graduated with a degree in the same discipline! Now, he is a professional engineer and a father of 2 kids! 😄
Over the last few years, I had the opportunity of meeting some of these great individuals who overcame all odds to turn their lives around. And no, it is not their professional/academic achievements that inspire but the fact that they did not let their delinquent past beat them down. People like Benny Se Teo (a renowned social entrepreneur), David King Raj (a highly sought after motivational speaker), and Darren Tan (a celebrated ex-convict turned lawyer), (all of whom I can very proudly say are my friends) continue to be an inspiration to me. More importantly, their subsequent works of reaching out to the community, especially the underprivileged, should be emulated by all.

As per what I always tell my audience during the school talks which the actor captured it so accurately in Episode 2 – “You guys have seen my tattoos, I used to be a juvenile delinquent. I fought, created trouble, and did many bad things. But I never run away from my past because I believe I can only let go easily by facing it bravely…[and]making mistakes isn’t shameful, but being unrepentant is. If others give you a second chance, will you give yourself a second chance?”

Have a restful Saturday folks! 😄 #USecondChance #流氓律师
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