'You are just like a slave'

'You are just like a slave'
This man, only known as M.C., is the former leader of a secret society. As an 11-year-old, he joined a gang and at 17, he started his own. He has vowed never to get involved in gang-related activities again after he was sentenced to five years in the Reformative Training Centre at Changi Prison Complex in 2005.

"They fight over the stupidest of things."

This is what a former secret-society headman thinks of today's gangsters.

The 38-year-old, who wanted to be known only as M.C., added: "They fight with penknives and choppers over small issues, unaware that lives might be lost.

"And they engage in fights on the phone, over e-mail and Facebook just because someone stole their girlfriend."

His bottom line: Joining a gang is the "worst choice one can make in life".

M.C. should know.

As an 11-year-old, he joined a gang. At 17, he started his own.

But the beefy tattooed man vowed never to get involved in gang-related activities again after he was sentenced to five years in the Reformative Training Centre at Changi Prison Complex in 2005 - his fourth and longest stint.

He has been working in the Singapore Zoo for three years, where he works with big cats like tigers, jaguars and lions.

He recounted his 19-year experience with gang-related crime to 27 gang-associated youngsters, aged 13 to 18, who were taking part in Camp ACE (All Can Escape) VI.

Urging them to consider the consequences of gang involvement, M.C. said: "You are wasting your family's love, your friends' energy. Most importantly, you're wasting your life away."

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