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May 7, 2014 / glennlim thots

I Seldom Cry…

Dear all:
Thank you for visiting this blog & reading this article. A lot has happened since this posting (May 2014). Do follow the developments in my updates-trail at the end of this article below. Thanks!….Glenn Lim
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I seldom cry…but today I had a special encounter…

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I was on my way to Singapore Changi Prison for one of my usual training programs. There was heavy lunch-time traffic, and a sudden downpour ensued just as I was turning into the Prison Link Center (visitor holding center). I noticed an old MakCik (Malay auntie) standing on the main road kerb outside the center, obviously waiting for a taxi. She was already beginning to be soaked by the rain, and was looking frail and weak.

I couldn’t just ignore her. So I drove up to her instead of going straight into the prison compound. I asked her to get in so I could drive her to the nearest MRT Station (which was quite a distance away). She looked like in her 60s, and was visibly grateful as she hobbled into my car.

The next 15mins I had a most heart-breaking conversation with her…

I asked if she was visiting someone in prison. She told me it was her 40 yr old son.

Me – “MakCik, u come alone to visit ah?”

MakCik – “No, my husband in hospital cannot come. So ya la I come alone. How I know going to rain so heavy all of a sudden?”

Me – “Where do u stay?”

MC – “Taman Jurong”

Me – “What? So far?…Why don’t you tele-visit? There is a center there for tele-visit. I can check for u…”

MC – “I know…but this week special la, Mother’s Day what! I want to see my son face-to-face.”

…At this point I was stunned silent for a while. My eyes started to tear.

zzz

I know the inconveniences and trouble involved with prison visits. It usually takes 1 – 2 hrs for security clearance, the long walk to the prison housing complex, the waiting time etc. Not counting your travel time all the way to Changi…Just to see your loved one for 10mins, before being quickly escorted out again…

In that brief silence my mind raced back to the time I was behind bars (those who know my story when I was sentenced for drug offences in 1995. Click here for more info). I remembered my parents visiting me every month in prison. I remembered the first words from my mum on her first visit – “How are u Glenn? Everything ok?”. And how for most part of that visit, I tried to assure them I was ok by telling them how well I was doing. They listened. But I could see the tiredness and sadness behind their smiles. And it pained me.

That was the day I vowed to myself, that if I were to ever return back to prison, I would come back as a counsellor or social worker. And I fulfilled that vow within the next 5 years.

Back to the MakCik in my car…

She shared a bit more of herself in the remaining time before I dropped her off at Simei MRT station. Her married daughter is no longer in Singapore. And this son whom she just visited has been in and out of prison 5 times in total. In a way, she was ‘used to’ the frequent visits, she chuckled. She used to be fitter years ago, and could travel the long distance with ease. But now she needs the aid of her walking stick due to her diabetic condition, as well as old age.

I wished her all the best as I let her off at the station’s sheltered walkway. By now the rain was beating heavily with peals of thunder. I was already 30mins late for my program, but I knew it was in safe hands with my team handling it. All throughout the journey back to prison, I couldn’t stop tearing. My heart went out to this MakCik’s plight. Yet I was encouraged to know that there are still such supportive families/parents like her.

Today I made yet another vow – I will be creating more opportunities within my organisation/s to reach out to more inmates and their affected families. We should eradicate such sad stories like this MakCik…and it will be my life mission to do so.

Happy Mother’s Day MakCik…

Glenn Lim

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Side Note: Thank u all for your encouraging msgs since this article was posted yesterday. Many of u have asked how u can be involved in my work. I run an organisation which reaches out to at-risk youths & inmates called AOL (Architects Of Life). I welcome anyone who has a heart to serve the marginalised. Pls check out our website here >>> http://www.architectsoflife.sgAOL Logo - Line

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Updates (8 May, 1750hrs):
…I forgot to mention that after dropping MakCik at the MRT, I also tried calling my mum/parents (but forgot they were not in town!). It was an instinctive action I guess. I was not prepared what to say over the phone. Maybe I just wanted to hear her voice, and take the opportunity to express some appreciation. Anyway, here is a latest selfie I took with her this year. Thought I’d proudly show everyone who this self-sacrificial person in my life is who helped me become who I am today!…

Glenn & Mum

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Special Update (9 May, 1130hrs)
I’ve been truly humbled that in the past 2 days, there has been 5,000 Facebook Shares, 70 over emails. I’ve read every single msg/email. Sorry for not being able to reply due to my heavy schedule.
I’m inspired by some of your own stories. And I’m amazed at how varied your backgrounds are (undergrads, corporates, family members of inmates, ex-offenders, a grandmother (God bless your soul!), and a Pri 5 girl who wanted to be involved!). You also represent a diverse spectrum of professions (F&B, Education, IT, Hospitality, Religion etc).
I was just thinking, with the collective pool of such talents & skills represented, I’m sure something GOOD can & should come out of this! I’ve decided that we should take some positive direction with this. So here’s the plan…
I’m calling for an informal open meeting @ my office for us to explore ideas on what we can collectively do together. And even if we can’t, the network opportunities may spark other meaningful outcomes. It also gives me an excuse for me to meet u all in person! I’m excited to see what can come out of this meeting!
12 May (Mon) / 7- 9pm /  (5mins from Eunos MRT)
For those who have emailed me, u’ll be receiving the details /address of this meeting.
Those who wish to attend, or want to chip in any way, I welcome u to email me – ceo@glc.sg

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Updates (10 May, 2245hrs)

It’s been 3 days since the posting of this article. 8,000 Facebook Shares, and I’ve given up trying to keep track of the emails! However, those who emailed me have all been replied with the INVITE to the Open Meeting this Monday. And I’m looking fwd to that! I will also update here the proceedings of that meeting. So do ‘Follow’ me on this blog, twitter, and facebook for updates!

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Updates (12 May, 2330hrs)

We had such a fruitful gathering tonight! There were ex-offenders, counsellors, and a mother whose son was in prison. The sharings were both heartfelt & inspiring. The ideas we explored were exciting! And we can’t wait to meet again to bring these ideas to reality! If you still want to volunteer & join us, pls email me quick ceo@glc.sg !

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Updates (13 May, 1730hrs):
Had a great Mother’s Day lunch with my family!

zzz 20140513_144044

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Updates (16 May, 2345hrs)
I’m excited to announce that the next open meeting is 22 May (Thurs), 7pm-9pm!

If u can attend, pls email me ceo@glc.sg for the venue address & location map. If u can’t attend it’s OK. But I do want to update u of subsequent meetings & developments. See u next Thurs!!!

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Updates (22 May, 2340hrs)

Tonight’s open meeting marked another milestone in our newly formed task force! We had an invigorating time discussing key issues, and have already streamlined 3 key ideas to be implemented. We’ll be starting out with the ‘Family Support Grp’ idea first. Those who wish to be part of this work, pls do not hesitate to email me! We’ll be setting up the facebook acct for this soon!…Meanwhile, here’s some pics of tonight!

zzz

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Updates (1 June, 2014)

I am pleased to announce the formalisation of this project. From now on, updates will be found on this Facebook page…

Click Here to Join! – PROJECT FEEL

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39 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. DD / May 8 2014 6:11 am

    Reblogged this on Lemniscates are Forever and commented:
    Lovely story at so many levels. Second chances are always there. Take them.

    Thank you, Glenn Lim for the story and being a “Second-chancer” yourself.

  2. Bryan Hudgens / May 8 2014 1:16 pm

    Touching..

  3. Wayne Goh / May 8 2014 3:29 pm

    Read through your whole article. 5 words for you ” You are an awesome man!” =)

  4. Nur Diyanah / May 8 2014 5:44 pm

    Hi,

    Diyanah here.. I am really moved by your story.. I know how you feel cause i myself see these alot. I was to tears also when i see kids being so excited wanting to see their father and felt so happy after seeing their father but these kids don’t know at all the huge trouble their dad has gone in to. I have been visiting my fiance for 1 year and 2 months. I visit him everyday, Monday to Friday. I see alot of elderly in wheelchairs, with walking stick, with health issues visitng mostly their sons. I have seen kids who don’t know anything just seeing their father. My heart aches alot seeing all these. Glenn, I am very interested in joining your organisation. I have been thinking of many ways to help these people.

  5. Faiz / May 8 2014 7:45 pm

    Thanks Glenn Lim!

    For reaching out those who has lost hopes.

    You have done a favours to those who needs.

    All best wishes’

  6. Mazura Bte Mohamed Taib / May 8 2014 9:37 pm

    Thks Glen for giving me hope that one day my husband will always be there for me and our children. I hv waited almost to 18yrs for him to change fr his first son 5yrs old and now 23yrs old. I have not lost hope yet but then again im getting weaker by the day due to my heart condition and my only worry is I might not be there to see him change for the better. But at this moment when there is still life there will always be hope…..

  7. Sue Yusoff / May 9 2014 12:00 am

    You’re truly an inspiration to all of us. Your kind act restored my faith in humanity. I applaud you with your vision to help those behind bars and those around you. Kudos to you Glenn!

  8. David Woon / May 9 2014 12:01 am

    Thanks Glenn for sharing this little encounter which touches hearts and compels us to ever be immensely grateful for our mothers! I am inspired by your life mission and I wish you every success in changing lives! If you need help with IT stuff in your work, feel free to PM me:)

  9. Titiek Rohani / May 9 2014 12:06 am

    Touching story Glenn. Indeed, a mother would live her child unconditionally.

  10. mala / May 9 2014 1:26 am

    early moring i read yr share im thinking about my mother but she onmore with us .how nice of u friend.god bless u.happy mothers day.

  11. Philip / May 9 2014 1:30 am

    Hi Pastor Glenn, many thanks for this story. Mother’s love is really the greatest love on earth not forgetting the love of GOD and His son Lord Jesus. As someone who visit the prison for chapel service, I share your tears as I know there are parents who travels half of Singapore to for prison visits. I pray that the troubles and the unconditional love of Mothers will move the hearts of the loved ones whom they are visiting. Once again, many thanks for sharing and I will share this with the residents in Cluster A this coming Sunday. God Bless you and your team.

  12. masya / May 9 2014 1:46 am

    wow…i’m moved & teared reading it…coz am experiencing a family member in prison back again.. yesh i pity those elders dats are showing support..esp for those dat stay in d west had to travel all d way to the other end… i guess u had made the makcik day!

  13. John Amos Tan / May 9 2014 1:54 am

    Thank you for sharing Glenn, you are amazing. Keep up the good work!!

  14. Nazrin Salim / May 9 2014 2:16 am

    Thank you for sharing this. It totally humble me.

    Dun mind if I share this.

  15. Carol / May 9 2014 2:53 am

    Hi Glenn,

    Thank you for sharing. It is heartwarming to know that there are still people out there who care for the marginalised in our society. A lift to the train station is hardly a huge feat but not many can say they’ve done it. It is not the action in itself that touched me but the simple desire and compassion you displayed. I’m sure your family is proud of where you are at this point in your life. Keep up the great fight.
    I would very much like to help you help others. Do get in touch! Have a blessed weekend 🙂

  16. Marlina / May 9 2014 3:37 am

    Wow… it’s purely touching.. with all the sacrifices given..unconditional love from the parents no money can really pay them back..Cherished them when they are still around. I love my parents so much… Thanks Glenn Lim for sharing this story…

  17. Jihan HMN / May 9 2014 4:12 am

    Hi Glenn,

    Gosh! U make me tears. U hv a noble heart Pastor Glenn.
    I’ve been seeing, hearing all sorrows of parents wives children of the inmates for d past 3years eversince i joined a company which helps d families of d inmates & this is the 1st time i really cried imagining if d Makcik is my mum. Thank U for sharing :))

    *** Ms Mazura Bte Mohamed Taib… I think i know u, pls call me Jihan at 91129824. Thnz

  18. Ayu / May 9 2014 4:45 am

    Hi..
    I do see inmates’ family or friends walking along d road towards Prison Link or TMP..
    Old people with walking sticks making, small newborn babies brought by mums to see their dads.
    Such a sight tears my heart.

    KUDOS to you for all the volunteer work you have done.
    May GOD bless you.

  19. Blog.CripperZ.SG / May 9 2014 5:03 am

    Kudos Glenn. Your kindness towards the old makcik and to those around you. May you be blessed for your good deeds.

  20. sorrybuticant / May 9 2014 5:05 am

    I miss my dad.. Not just on any special occasions but every single day. I didn’t love him just cos’ he is my dad. I loved him because he is a dad worth loving. He is kind and I know it. I really hope the prison will reconsider and approve of his home-detention program. I don’t know how to answer to my younger siblings when they ask me where is their dad.

    I really don’t know how else to prove that he has got a family who’s fighting to support him. We are ready in every aspect.

  21. henrik / May 9 2014 6:25 am

    Thanks for inspiring my day! Take care my friend!

  22. frank / May 9 2014 8:09 am

    I came to your blog via a friend’s share on FB. Thanks for sharing.

  23. dotsero / May 9 2014 8:16 am

    Bro, you really inspired me to join your cause. I can relate to you how it felt like to see your parents on the other side of the mirror. Had the same vow too. Not to let my parents to talk to me using that dumb phone or through that small holes. Fast forward to 13 years later, I can never been happier with decision I had made then. Love you, Mom!

  24. zubaidahjapri / May 9 2014 8:34 am

    Hai GLENN .
    YOUR STORY SOO TOUCHING .
    I M a mother of 4 kids .Happy mother day to your mom .N thoes already become mother N mother to bee

  25. fhy / May 9 2014 12:10 pm
  26. Diana Cheong / May 9 2014 3:04 pm

    You are so sweet ..make me tear a little when u mention Mak cik went to prison becos Mother’s Day was coming. You taught everyone of us who have read this a simple lesson.may god be with you every step of the way.

  27. Isabella / May 10 2014 5:41 am

    I’m touched by this post. Thanks for sharing, you have a kind heart. Almost tears, must tahan the tears from flowing becos I was reading it in bus. Lol. God bless you & your family. If you need more helps, I would be more than willingly to help out! 🙂 All the best.

  28. Favian Koh / May 11 2014 5:27 am

    Hey Glenn, I’m Favian. I am a potential PhD student seeking to study the effects of inclusive societies and policies on incarcerated people. Programmes such as the Yellow Ribbon Project will be studied. Your blog post, and the programme you are running, will be of great interest to me. I am currently awaiting application result and will keep you updated! Thanks and stay awesome!

  29. Joyce / May 12 2014 9:39 pm

    Well done. People are so busy nowadays I think they do not even have time to notice the Makcik. Thanks for sharing and I am certainly moved to tears. Wonderful job you are doing and I’m sure not many will do what you have doing for inmates. Keep up the good job. God bless you as you bless others. Happy Mother’s Day to your mom. I’m sure she’s very proud of you.

  30. stockmediacity.com / May 12 2014 11:52 pm

    That is really attention-grabbing, You’re an overly skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your feed and stay up for in search
    of more of your wonderful post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my
    social networks

  31. Jane Chee / May 13 2014 1:38 am

    After my exit exam, hope to chip in.
    Visited the prison with a make colleague to do routine
    Health screen.
    Jia You!
    May God bless your effort!

  32. Katherin / May 13 2014 2:52 am

    Hi Glenn, you can also reach out to Gethsemane Care Ministry to build a stronger team. They improve the lives of those bondage by drug addiction by providing livelihood and preparing them to integrate back into the society. Please visit their website for more information: http://gethsemanebpc.com/tgcm/about.html.

  33. Shizue Gauthier / May 14 2014 8:59 am

    I have different thoughts on this, anyway thanks for your posting, really worth the time

  34. shirley / May 15 2014 2:07 am

    Dear Glenn

    We must thank God for what you are now. You really inspire us with your with your sincere heart and action to be able to continue helping those unfortunates. We all know that there are many, many people in those situations, but very, very few people would come forward to help. I do some volunteer work too. I hope to contact you again once, when I retire (not many years from now) to join your. Email after my retirement is – shirleylimlowlan@gmail.com

    God has His plan for us and all we have to do is to trust and obey God. God is great.
    May God’s grace and help be with you, in all you do. God bless, Glenn!

  35. JJ / May 15 2014 4:32 pm

    Hi Glenn.
    Thank you for sharing your encountered moments.
    I was very touched and I wish I can be of any assistant to you and your team.
    I’ve been in conselling and ministering to many broken relationship and unwell and involed in outreach, etc.
    Appreciate if you can reply me about how can I join you. And interested to join in your meeting if time permit. Thank you and God bless you and your team abundantly.

  36. Santhi / May 16 2014 6:17 am

    You sure made me tear Glen..indeed a touching story…Remember a mom going to see her son without fail….Must say parents unconditional love..God bless you :))

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