Tag Archive | "Yellow Ribbon Project"

Rich, powerful S’poreans finding it hard to be Yellow Ribbon Project ambassadors

Rich, powerful S’poreans finding it hard to be Yellow Ribbon Project ambassadors

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This is because a lot of them have been spared jail time.

He can have everything, except to be a Yellow Ribbon Project ambassador.

It might appear that rich and powerful Singaporeans can have everything they fancy.

But what is eluding them these days is the opportunity to join the Yellow Ribbon Project as ambassadors.

As they can’t seem to find a way behind bars.

The Yellow Ribbon Project is an initiative to help people who have gone to prison to integrate back into society.

Another missed opportunity that was registered this week? 

Peter Khoo Chong Meng, former senior vice-president at SPH’s English and Malay Newspapers Division and head of its Editorial Projects Unit, did not receive any jail term after he was found guilty of accepting bribes of $196,500, and pocketing $23,095 in CapitaLand vouchers.

The 49-year-old was fined for two charges of corruption and one of criminal breach of trust.

Run-of-the-mill Singaporeans that New Nation spoke to, said this phenomenon is not new.

And they feel bad that the rich and powerful should be ostracised in such a manner.

Ping Fan Ren, a 33-year-old who earns a living as opposed to the rich and powerful who makes money, said: “Last year, Woffles Wu got a fine for getting an old man to take the blame for his speeding offence.”

“I think Woffles Wu damn poor thing. He can have everything. Except go to prison.”

Wu, a plastic surgeon with a history of appearing on television and in the newspapers for matters not always associated with plastic surgery, was charged with abetting an elderly man to take the blame for speeding offences that occurred in 2005 and 2006.

He received a fine after much public debate concerning his case about what is justice and stuff.

Moreover, in 2010, 30-year-old Cleopatra Wong Yuin Ping crashed her Lexus ES300 belonging to her father into a cyclist, thought she hit a tree branch and did not stop to check.

She was fined $2,400.

Another Singaporean, Lao Bai Xing, said: “The harder it is to be part of the Yellow Ribbon Project, the more exclusive it will be for the rich and powerful, I guess.”

Not sure if justice served…

Not sure if justice served…

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…or vicious cycle of life.

Take a look at these drawings done by a local artist by the name of Frankie Chang Inn Kong.

David Marshall


Queen Elizabeth

His Leeness

These were created using a mix of charcoal and lead, and drawn using a cloth instead of a brush.

The method of drawing is unique precisely because the technique was developed and mastered by Frankie when he was serving time in prison and there was a lack of proper drawing tools.

Frankie, you see, spent the last 30 years going in and out of prison for a variety of offences, such as getting involved in drugs, loansharking and robbery.

Woah, we do have a badass over here.

However, Frankie did have a rough childhood, having been abandoned by his parents at the age of five and later ended up on the wrong side of the law multiple times.

But during his final stint in prison, while he was serving nine years for drug trafficking offences in 1999, he wanted to turn over a new leaf.

That was when he finally decided to put his talent to some use, and experimented with charcoal-lead-based “black powder”, an epiphany he had when he pondered about his past dealings with “white powder”, a.k.a. heroin.

He was already an expert in carving, carpentry and drawing then but he could only make do with drawing while in prison because it didn’t require special tools.

(At this point, if you kind of think his story sounds familiar, that’s because Frankie was the poster boy of the Yellow Ribbon Project and his life has been dramatised on TV before.)

By the time he was released from prison in late 2007, reports estimated that he completed between 150 and 200 pieces of his charcoal-lead drawings.

And he was considered rehabilitated enough to contribute actively to the Yellow Ribbon Project.

As life would have it, two weeks after he was out of prison, Frankie was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer and doctors gave him only a few years to live.

He refused treatment initially, due to a lack of cash, but the doctors at Tan Tock Seng Hospital said they would cure him anyway.

In the end,the government subsidised for his surgery,chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Since his final release from prison, Frankie has contributed his artworks to fund-raising events organised by the Yellow Ribbon Project and Singapore Cancer Society.

Today, Frankie is 62 years old.

He makes an average of $1,000 a month and stays in a one-room flat and sleeps on the floor. Whatever he makes from his art, he uses it for his medical treatment.

And guess what? He is on the wrong side of the law again.

He was caught on March 13 with more than 7kg of contraband cigarettes that was bought in Geylang, which he was planning to resell for a profit.

He claims to be in financial difficulty having spent a lot on his medical treatment and suffered losses when he opened an art gallery.

So what is his punishment this time?

He is fined $40,000 for his current offence and has since paid $10,000, and will pay the balance in monthly installments of $1,000.

In other words, a dying man is required to pay for a fine that otherwise might be used to pay for his medical treatment.

This is Frankie:

Frankie Chang Inn Kong

This man is utterly talented, has limited time left and we here at New Nation really don’t know what to make of it.

Should we pool some cash to tide him over? Will that be the right thing for society to do?