From streetwalker to street dancer

From streetwalker to street dancer

Former drug addict and gang member now leads dance group that help keep youths off the street.

For more than two decades, she led a life of gangsterism, drugs and prostitution.

But when her then-14-year-old son pleaded with her in 2008 to mend her ways during her second jail term, she knew she had to listen to him.

After getting out in 2010, Ms Milah, 34, started Plus Point.

It is an informal dance group that keeps teens off the streets by giving them a sense of belonging and family, as well as a healthy way to spend their time.

The group is now in the running for the top spot in a dance competition organised by Shaw Theatres.

STOP MIND WANDERING

Ms Milah said she started the group so she would be too busy to let her mind wander, which would tempt her to return to her old ways.

Dancing, which has been a passion since her teenage years, was also her way of dealing with stress, said Ms Milah, who goes by a single name as she does not know who her father is.

Speaking to The New Paper in her one-room rental flat at Ang Mo Kio, Ms Milah peppered her sentences with laughter.

But behind that cheerful facade is a woman still haunted by her past.

Ms Milah was raised by her grandparents, but her grandmother died when she was just 10 and she moved in with an aunt.

At 13, she joined a secret society.

Having dropped out of school at Primary 5, she spent her teenage years doing drugs and "many other illegal money-making activities" which she declined to elaborate on.

She got into a relationship with an abusive man, with whom she had seven children out of wedlock, between 1996 and 2004.

In 2001, she spent 10 months in jail for a cannabis-related offence.

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