Vincent Tan’s entire body is inked with tattoos. The elderly man, who once used to be a gangster, only has words of advice now. To youngsters who are already in a gang or wanting to join one, he says, “When you have problems, they (your gang members) can’t help you. Only your family can”. Mr Tan decided to turn a over new leaf and now, he sells mini torch lights to earn a living.
In a Facebook post by local personality Sujimy Mohamad, he recorded a video of a conversation between himself and Mr Tan.
Mr Sujimy asked Mr Tan about the tattoos found all over his body, including on his forehead. Mr Tan said that he was always into tattoos since he was a young boy.
However, the Mr Tan told Mr Sujimy that he had decided to do good, saying, “I’m trying to make amends. I do odd jobs to feed myself. So long I get to eat and survive, I’m okay with that.”
“You can’t join gangs. Singapore is very important,” Mr Tan said, noting that Singapore is very different from the time when he was young.
“You want to join gang? Not in Singapore. Really, brother,” he candidly told Mr Sujimy.
Speaking in Malay, Mr Vincent said, “You can’t do it today. Over here, it’s really important. Do wrong and you’re done. CID (Criminal Investigation Department) will come and you’re done.” Mr Tan also mentioned that he had also been in prisons a couple of times.
Mr Sujimy then asked him whether he has any regret for joining a gang. He replied by saying that he decided to join the gang because he thought that he hoped to get help from other members of the gang.
He also said that he regrets his decision to ink tattoos all over his body as he finds it extremely hard to get jobs now that he wants to do good. He said, “It’s really difficult with all these tattoos. I don’t have a job lah. People don’t want me. People (employers) are afraid of these (tattoos). They see this and they are afraid.”
Mr Tan said that he never meets his former gang members, “I never mix with them anymore. I go to church now.”
When Mr Sujimy asked him how much money Mr Tan earns in a day, he said that it is very inconsistent. He sometimes gets $80, $50, or even $30 a day.
However, he said that the money is enough to make him survive.
In the end, he conveyed a strong message for youngsters who are planning to join a gang or already a member of one, “Don’t be a gangster. Nobody can help you. The people at home can help..”
“When you join gangsters, you will be brain dead,” he said.
Mr Tan asks youngsters to look for a clean income and work opportunities, adding that they should just go for it and give a try.
“Don’t steal or rob. Don’t do it,” he said.