Attorney-General to take part in fund-raiser concert for ex-offenders

Liverpool and Man U fans on the same side?

Never? Think again.

Attorney-General (AG) Steven Chong, a Liverpool fan, will be performing with former inmates (two of whom are Manchester United fans) on stage on Thursday night.

The aim is to raise money for a bursary by the Yellow Ribbon Fund and the Singapore Academy of Law to help ex-offenders.

Mr Chong originally wanted to sing his club's anthem, You'll Never Walk Alone, because "we walk together in this journey through life", but changed his mind just in case there are Man U fans around.

The decision was a good one as the AG found out there are Red Devils fans in the band. One of them is vocalist Aiman.

And there was rivalry, judging by the friendly banter.

When Mr Chong revealed that he supports the "true red" - Liverpool, Mr Aiman chipped in:

"There is another red which is redder than this. You know what I mean, right?"

Mr Chong rebutted, to laughter: "Currently, they are below us."

Called The LeX Factor - Law Has Talent, tonight's concert is organised by the Singapore Academy of Law as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations.

Together with three deputy public prosecutors, Mr Chong will sing Stand By Me, a song by Ben E King, with The Revivals, a band made up of former prisoners who have gone through the prisons' music rehabilitation programme.

The four-piece outfit includes Mr Aiman, bassist Walter Lim, who runs the music programme in the prisons, drummer Zaid and guitarist Haizam.

Mr Chong, a self-taught guitarist, agreed to perform at the event because it is for a cause that he identifies with.

And he even asked to perform with a group of former offenders.

He said: "I felt that this is a very meaningful way for the prosecutor to embrace the belief that everyone, including ex-offenders, deserve a second chance.

"If society don't help them to reintegrate, we run the risk that they may re-offend.

Rehabilitation

"And it would undermine the criminal justice system, where you sentence someone to serve a certain term so that the person will rehabilitate.

"Rehabilitation is one aspect, but we need to accept them back into society. That is the mission of the Yellow Ribbon Project."

The one-night concert will also see Senior Minister of State, Ms Indranee Rajah, and over 70 members from the legal fraternity, including judges, performing before guest-of-honour President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

About $230,000 has been raised. All tickets for the concert, which will be held at the School of the Arts Drama Theatre, are sold out.

chaihyn@sph.com.sg


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