Former gambler sets up rehab centre to help others kick habit

My story: Chiang autographing his book at the launch. — LIM CHENG KIAT / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: When his wife left him because of his gambling addiction, David Chiang hit rock bottom and tried to kill himself.

“I felt I had failed as a husband and a father, and hated myself.

“As much as I tried, I could not stop myself from gambling,” said the businessman, who wanted to slash his wrists but did not have the courage to do so.

Today, 20 years later, Chiang runs the Gamblers Rehab Centre, which has helped many former addicts like himself recover and lead normal lives.

“It was the lowest point in my life but it was also the turning point,” said Chiang at the launch of his biography Bleached to Serve at Lot 10 here yesterday.

His life changed, he said, when he started going to church and embracing religion.

Within six months, Chiang had cleaned up his act, thrown out all his gambling items and was a new man.

Chiang, whose father was also a gambler, said he picked up the habit while in primary school and had set up his own gambling den by the age of 17.

At the peak of his addiction, Chiang said he would play mahjong for 36 hours without taking a break.

“I believe everyone deserves a second chance,” he said, adding that he had finally found peace.

Chiang, who is remarried with five children, has been helping people struggling with their gambling addiction for the past 10 years.

The centre offers a three-month rehabilitation programme where gamblers can stay at its branches in Seremban and Kluang and learn how to kick their addiction.

Those who want the centre's help, can call its hotline at 017-238 1900.

Pastor Thian Oon Kin, who also launched his book His Grace during the event, said he wanted to share the story of how religion saved him from a life of misery.

“I came from a violent and extremely strict family. We hardly spoke to each other. There was no love or peace at home and life seemed pointless,” said the 75-year-old retired architect.

He said his entire perspective of life changed when he started going to church without his father's knowledge.

“I saw how families loved each other and treated each other well,” he said.

Chiang and Thian's books, priced at RM55 and RM40 each, are available at Glad Sounds outlets nationwide.

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