Do you regret all these incidents?
I don’t regret anything in life. My mind works differently: I always think of contingencies. Before I proceed with anything, I always think of the worse-case scenario and the penalties, so that is why I never really got into serious trouble. I believe that my path in life teaches me and leads me to where I am today.
What would you say to youths who are at risk?
Passion and things that motivate you will come to you at a later stage in life. All your mistakes, they are a story to tell later in your life. Just believe in yourself. Don’t do things because of peer pressure. You don’t have to be like the influencers or famous people; just be yourself and do your own thing.
National Service was a time that changed your life. Tell us about it.
I was posted to the Singapore Police Force. I registered my interest for the Police Dog Unit and got in. It had always been my dream to own a German Shepard. My first dog was Rover, and he was my love. He had a mole on the eye just like I do, and I thought that we had this resemblance. We also had an immediate connection. This big security dog was very sweet, and he taught me the meaning of patience.
You are also a tattoo enthusiast.
I got my first tattoo at twenty-four. I have an ‘MDS’ tattoo behind my ear: it means always listen to my mom, dad and sister. I have a Tibetan saying on my right hand: Om Mani Padme Hum. For the animals that pass away, I caress them with this hand to give them a blessing, and then send them off. Many people associate tattoos with gang affiliations or a criminal past. But a tattoo is like an accessory, only permanent. People get tattoos for different reasons — some to remember and honour their late parents, some as a tribute to their pets. It’s time to get over that narrow-mindedness.