When Hew Soon was only four years old, his father abandoned the family. His
mother worked as a seamstress and raised her only child, Hew Soon, with the
help of an aunt.
Growing up without a father and being brought up by a
mother who had to struggle hard for survival, Hew Soon became influenced by
boys with bad habits. He failed his Form III examination because he
neglected his studies and spent most of his time hanging out at shopping
complexes. After failing his examinations he became worse. He started
drinking and smoking.
His mother tried to correct him, but he told her he was sick of her
constant nagging. Encouraged by his bad friends, he even tried to run away
Desperate, his mother reported to the police and consulted a social
worker for advice. Hew Soon was put in a Boys' Centre in a nearby town. He
had to board there.
He was miserable during his first weeks in the Centre. He could not sleep
at night, thinking of ways to escape. He thought the regulations in the
Centre were too strict. The boys had to do chores and follow a strict daily
schedule. Only close relatives were allowed to visit them. Hew Soon missed
One evening he ran away. He hid in the back of a delivery van. This time
he stayed hidden for two weeks before he was found in one of his friends'
He was brought back to the Boys' Centre. This time one of the
instructors, Mr Gunathan, took Hew Soon under his wing. He managed to gain
his trust and confidence and this enabled him to lead Hew Soon back on the
right path. He noticed that the boy was interested in computer graphics. It
is one of the subjects taught in the Centre. Mr Gunathan encouraged Hew Soon
to work hard at it. He said that he had high hopes for him. However, he had
to try hard to adapt to life in the Centre in order to study there and
obtain a certificate in the subject he was interested in.
Gradually, Hew Soon turned over a new leaf. He was allowed home visits
twice a month. He grew closer to his mother and he stopped seeing most of
his old friends. He had new friends now in the Centre. He showed that he had
leadership capabilities as well as a talent for computer graphics. He took
part in many activities like fund-raising. He now appreciated the
instructors. They encouraged him to talk to them, confide in them and even
argue with them sometimes.
Hew Soon obtained a certificate in computer graphics after four years. He
made his mother and aunt proud. He continues living in the Centre. But he is
now one of the instructors. He is helping other boys get back on the right
track. Hew Soon had been an asset to the centre and a role model for the
other youngsters there.