The Real Singapore Takagi Ramen Singapore
Meet our newest cook at Takagi Ramen: Mr Velu.
He has a long history of violent crime and spent over 10 years in and out of prison, at his worst, he almost faced the death penalty after he and his gang slashed the wrong person and almost killed the son of a MP back in 2005.
The victim ended up in the ICU for a week and the police told him that if the victim died, they would most probably be hanged.
His crime-filled days started when he was young, getting involved with secret societies, and constantly going AWOL from national service. Velu was posted to the Civil Defence Force but spent more time in DB instead.
He first landed himself in prison in 2000 for going AWOL after he had already served time in DB for the same offence.
Throughout 2001 to 2003, Velu was in and out of Prison and DB and he grew further and further away from his family due to his constant trouble with the law. He spent more time with his secret society than with family and started getting involved in more violent crimes.
In 2005, he was involved in a bloody gang clash in Yishun.
Due to a case of mistaken identity, the clash resulted in the son of a MP getting slashed and sent to the ICU for a week.
Velu and the other members of the gang escaped arrest at the time and remained wanted for several months. However, eventually the law caught up with them.
Velu was arrested and initially charged for being AWOL again and sentenced to 1 year in prison. While serving his sentence, his other gang members were caught and investigations into their cases revealed Velu’s involvement in the gang clash too.
Immediately after finishing his sentence for AWOL, Velu was again detained by the CID, charged with fighting with a deadly weapon, a crime he was caned for, and then sentenced to detention without proper trial under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act.
This law allows the government to detain persons without trial especially in cases involving secret societies where it is difficult to prosecute the person in court.
His detention under this law was extended each year for 5 years until in 2010 President Nathan stopped the renewal of the detention order. He was tagged for another 1 year but after this incident, he decided it was finally time to turn his life around.
Realising the foolishness of it all, Velu committed to turning his life around. He met a woman who would later become his wife and got closer again with his own family, especially his mother. He distanced himself from his gang members and his past life and started to look for proper work.
It was hard at first, with a long history of crime, violent crime and tattoos covering his face and body, he was only able to find ad-hoc work and at most, getting part time work as a subcontractor. He wasn’t able to find any permanent work. Despite the efforts of some NGOs, it is still very hard for ex-convicts to find a second chance in life.
He now has two lovely kids, aged 2 and 6, and is working hard to save up for their future. He bought a HDB apartment in Marsling and has already paid it off with his savings.
He came across the kitchen job at Takagi Ramen through a friend and although he had never worked in F&B before, he was willing to learn and said he is very happy with the work and has learned a lot of new things.
He is gaining responsibilities as his skills improve and although the work is more physically tiring and with longer hours than some of his previous part time jobs, he is happy to have found a workplace that doesn’t look at his past and treats him with respect and dignity.
When asked what he would say to others who are also falling astray like he did in the past, he said they should try to be good as life in prison is messed up. Inside, he kept thinking about his loved ones outside and really missed them a lot.
He is happy to have left that life behind and says it really is a beautiful life now when your loved ones love you and don’t have to constantly worry about what trouble you are about to get into next.
Looking ahead, he hopes to find opportunities to advance in his career and obtain more leadership positions at Takagi Ramen and to ensure his 2 children get a decent education and a good future.
During his off days, he likes to spend time with his wife and two kids and be closer with his now elderly mother.
At Takagi Ramen, we believe that all ex-cons deserve a second chance.
The Real Singapore was shut down by the Singapore government in May 2015. The website had broken rules under the Internet Code of Practice under the Broadcasting Act, by publishing articles that were against public interest and national harmony, the government claimed.
The duo behind TRS, Yang Kaiheng, 26, and Ai Takagi, 22, are running ramen stalls in two food courts at the National University of Singapore (NUS) since September 2015.
Republished from Takagi Ramen’s FB.