Ex-gangster guides troubled teens off dark path

JOHOR BARU: Faiz Qayyuum Abdul Majid is on a mission to help children from troubled families to avoid making the same mistakes he did during his teenage years.

Faiz, who is now 32, said he befriended the wrong crowd when he was a teenager and ended up being involved in gangsterism and drugs.

“My parents divorced when I was 16 and I took it very hard. I got into all sorts of troubles during my teenage years because of the separation.

“I made friends with the wrong company and was introduced to the world of gangsterism and drugs.

“I enjoyed the attention I got at that time and thought it would help me escape my troubles but it only got worse.

“When I was 21, I was arrested for my involvement in gangsterism. It was a massive hit for me and after I got out, I was determined to change myself for the better,” he told The Star.

The full time social worker said that his journey towards change was not easy, especially since he was already addicted to drugs at that point.

“It was not easy for me to give up my old life but I was very lucky to have the unwavering support of my late mother and friends.

“After finally escaping the dark years of my life, I decided to start volunteering to help other children and teenagers who are facing the same struggles I went through.

“People often refer to these teenagers as troublemakers that are good for nothing but I know first hand that they have reasons to behave the way they do.

“They just need people to believe in them and guide them to the right direction,” said Faiz, who has been active in various non-governmental organisations for over a decade, including a shelter for homeless children.

“My experience made it easier for me to understand what they are going through.

“I was lucky in a way as I was given a second chance in life and got to change my life.

“I want others to also be given the same opportunity,” he said, adding that he also gives motivational talks in schools.

Faiz, who is the fifth of six siblings, said he also wanted to prove that his past would not determine his future.

“I wasted most of my teenage years because of my mistakes and ended up getting bad results for my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia so I was unable to further my studies.

“However, that does not mean that I could not make a better future for myself and help others.

“I want to prove that just because I do not have a degree and diploma does not mean that I cannot do something great in life,” he said.

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