A new lease on life after SHG stint


MELAKA: Being sent to Sekolah Henry Gurney (SHG) for juvenile offenders in Telok Mas, Ayer Molek, came as a huge shock for 20-year-old Muhammad (not his real name).

The young lad from Selangor said he led a “reasonably good life” as a teenager, with caring parents.

However, things started to spiral downwards when his father, who was the “discipline master” in the family, got transferred out of state for work.

Things took a turn in 2020 when he was led down a dark path due to peer pressure: he started to go out late at night while rebelling against his strict parents.

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The past two years at SHG, however, has been good for Muhammad who is trying to make good of the “second chance” accorded to him.

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“When I got caught, I was taken aback. It was really difficult initially to be in SHG but after two years, I think I have learnt so many valuable lessons in life.

“There is definitely more discipline here, and the religious aspect makes life here more wholesome, compared to how I used to live my life doing whatever I wanted.

“I chose education because, before I got caught, I was supposed to sit for my SPM. I wanted to become a doctor, which is why I was in the science stream when everything changed.

“But never mind, because I have a new ambition now to be a teacher,” he said.

Muhammad just sat for his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) earlier this year and aims to pursue higher education and become a teacher one day.

On what he has learnt since coming to SHG, Muhammad said he better appreciates the people in his life, especially his parents.

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Like many children, he said he took for granted the important role they played when he was with them.

Now that they are no longer nearby, he has learnt the value they brought to his life.

“I had very strict parents but I had a good life. I encountered conflict because of peer pressure, so my advice is to choose your friends wisely,” he said.

“The thing is, teenagers prefer to listen to their friends, thinking that their peers understand them better. But, in fact, our parents understand us the best even though their methods may be different.

“My advice, from personal experience, is don’t give in to peer pressure because it can lead to bad behaviour. Instead, appreciate your parents.”

Fellow SHG student Ahmad (not his real name), 20, from Kedah, said it was drug addiction that became his “greatest enemy” which caused his life to spin out of control.

An only child, Ahmad grew up under the care of his nanny though but he yearned for his busy mother’s care.

“In secondary school, I was introduced to drugs. I tried it out of curiosity, but then got influenced by friends. The hallucinations filled the void I was feeling.

“Before I realised it, I ended up in SHG after some bad deals.

“When I think about the mistakes I had made, I realised I brought disgrace to my family,” he said.

After two years at SHG, Ahmad speaks highly of the institution and said that he has had time to reconsider the path he took.

“At present, I want to continue my studies and make my parents proud. I want to prove that even drug addicts can turn their life around, change their habits and become a good citizen,” he said.

When asked about what he would have done differently, Ahmad said he would have said “no” to friends and peer pressure.

He said the most important thing is “to always keep good company as good people will always lead someone to the right path”.

“I took drugs to relieve the stress I was experiencing but it was not worth it in the end.

“Now that I have been given a second chance, I am motivated to search for my destiny and put extra effort into achieving my dreams,” he said, adding that he wants to be a police officer in the future.

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