SINGAPORE - It is easy to forget that James is still only a teenager.
When you check his record with the police, it looks as if James (not his real name) was a hardened criminal.
He was only 15 when the cops arrested him for rioting and unlicensed money lending in 2011.
Life for him could have so easily spiralled out of control.
It is therefore hard to imagine that the former Normal (Academic) student is now studying for a diploma in human resources.
And he owes a lot in his turn-around to teachers from the Ministry of Education (MOE).
Since January last year, more than 20 teachers from the ministry have been helming classes in juvenile homes.
James was discharged from the Singapore Boys' Home last July. With the help of some of those teachers while at the home, he later managed to take and pass his N levels.
Life was different before his arrest.
With his friends, he went on a crime spree.
James, 17 now, said: "Somehow, I just went into it with my friends. It was easy cash (from getting involved in unlicensed moneylending)."
The only child did not even have to get his hands dirty. He said: "I was the 'supervisor' who was in charge of three or four others."
He received $180 for every door that his runner splashed with paint and the latter got $50. In one night, they could target up to 10 flats.