"If Not For All That I've Been Through, I Wouldn't Be Here Today"
It is comfortable and perhaps even convenient for us to wear our rose-tinted glasses. In fact, there is another pair of glasses we wear too - this pair of glasses works like transition glasses, except that it turns our view dark in response to darkness. We magnify stains - failing to notice other beautiful colours.
"I felt a heavy weight on my shoulders having to deal with these assumptions.”
“It’s a record that sticks with me and it’s hard for people to see past my mistakes. I was once a top scorer in Secondary 1 but after I made the wrong decision to steal, I felt as though everyone just expected me to be a bad person who will continue to make bad choices, including my teachers and school counsellor. I felt a heavy weight on my shoulders having to deal with these assumptions.”
Yasmin first knew of Youth Guidance Outreach Services (YGOS) from the Experiential Learning and Mentoring Programme (ELMP) in primary school. For a considerably long time, Yasmin did not attend school regularly nor go for the tchoukball training organised by YGOS as she struggled with family conflicts. She left home and sought refuge at her friend’s house. In a state of flux, she made the wrong choice to steal, placing her in a school counselling programme that she had to attend every day.
“Yu Yan and Anabel, my caseworkers, stood by me throughout. Even during the time when I stopped going for the tchoukball training, they never stopped contacting me and they kept encouraging me to come back. I took a long time to be comfortable with them and the other youths at YGOS. But I felt better knowing that everyone here was also going through problems like I do.”
Once shy, reserved and unmotivated, Yasmin saw how she has matured over the years to become more confident, understanding and introspective.
"But, if not for all that I’ve been through, I would not be who I am today.”
“I don’t want to change anything that has happened. My teenage experience has been far from what people think it should have been. But, if not for all that I’ve been through, I would not be who I am today.”
Though Yasmin still faces challenges with her family, she hopes to work hard and make her parents proud of her. While she dislikes the way her parents treat her, she realised that it is beyond her to change them. Taking things positively, she nevertheless extended love to her parents. With a changed mindset, Yasmin saw herself becoming less rude towards her parents.
“I used to think that life was unfair. There were a lot of rich kids in my school who led very good lives. In contrast, I had to work part-time to contribute to my family’s income. But it was through these hard times that I understood the struggles of working and the true value of money. My father works very hard for my family, so I want to give him my first paycheck in the future and give him a chance to rest.”
“I want to stick by the youths through their struggles, in the same way that Yu Yan and Anabel did for me."
Motivated to enter Junior College or study Social Work at Polytechnic, Yasmin now works hard for her ‘O’ Levels. “I want to stick by the youths through their struggles, in the same way that Yu Yan and Anabel did for me.
16 years-old, Experiential Learning and Mentoring Programme (ELMP)
*Name has been changed to protect client's privacy
- Photo by bunditinay via Freepik