What is the first thing on your mind when you hear the word “gangster”?
Tattoo, cigarettes, thick gold necklace. I am pretty sure those were some words or images that flashed through your mind.
Are we stereotyping? Are we being fair?
A news article looked at youth worker Wilson Peh. He had come a long way from his troubled teenage years from joining a gang, getting arrested, consuming and selling drugs, to losing a family member. I cannot imagine the pain and struggles he had gone through at such a young age.
After reading the article, I asked myself: Why did his father visit him and bring his favourite food during his stay in a juvenile home? What caused Wilson to change?
This is what I think.
1. God’s love is real
“If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:12-14)
God never gives up on us. He loves us so much.
I see this love in Wilson’s parents. Despite the heartbrokenness Wilson caused, his parents did not give up on him and still showered him with care, concern, and love even till his mother’s last breath.
2. One caring person can change a person’s life
Mr Too Seng Hong, a counsellor at Youth Guidance Outreach Services, provided guidance, support and mentoring to Wilson. His actions had an impact on Wilson.
Wilson shared, “Seeing how my mentor (Mr Too) has been there for me, I want to be there for others as a youth worker as well. I feel I can give back and I feel I can better relate to the youths we work with given my experience.”
There is a saying; action speaks louder than words.
His parents and counsellor truly showed their love and care through their actions.
I would like to encourage those who have family members or friends who are ‘lost’, to give them a call or a text to check in on them. To not give up on them. Because we will never know how impactful our actions can be on their lives.
Thomas Goh is part of the Parish Engagement team at Caritas Singapore. He is a fervent Liverpool supporter. He also has a strong passion for photography as he hopes to capture moments that can be passed down from generation to generation.