Success Stories Series :
Diamond in the rough
A TRYBE YOUTH'S JOURNEY TOWARDS A PURPOSEFUL LIFE
As a teenager, Narish was always getting into fights. As a result of his mischief, he would often be subject to various forms of punishment at home, most of them physical. Narish recalls, “There was once when I came home late, covered with bruises after having gotten into a fight, I lied to my dad saying I was just playing with my friends. My dad took a spoon, heated it over the stove, and placed it on my thigh.” This incident alongside other similar episodes of physical punishment led Narish to avoid home.
The time away from home was spent with his friends, and he subsequently hung out with the wrong company. He started being more aggressive with his friends, pushing those who were genuinely concerned for his well-being, away. Getting into more fights, taking part in gang-related activities naturally followed. He was then placed into a Guidance Programme when he stabbed someone after a staring incident between the two. Narish did not succeed in the Guidance Programme, leading him to delve into substance abuse – an act that saw him arrested and placed on probation in the Singapore Boys’ Hostel.
It was his time in the Singapore Boys' Hostel that changed Narish's outlook on life
Trybe Caseworker’s Influence
It was his time in the Singapore Boys’ Hostel that changed Narish’s outlook on life. A Trybe Staff on the first time he met Narish, “When I first met Narish, he was quite a jovial and cheerful person, and I decided to spend more time talking to him. Soon after, he started to open up and share about how he came into the Hostel. He also spoke about the problems he faced with his family.”
The same staff would eventually become Narish’s caseworker upon his discharge from the Hostel, and subsequent enrollment into Trybe’s post-rehabilitation care service. “After I was discharged from the Hostel, my caseworker continued to help me and was there for me. When I was tempted to take drugs again, I would immediately call him and inform him. He was the strong pillar of support that I needed during this time.” Narish’s words indicate the deep levels of trust that he has built with his caseworker and the continued mentoring relationship the two enjoy.
Staying meaningfully engaged in pro-social activities was also an essential aspect to Narish’s journey of rehabilitation. “The plan for Narish has always been to get him to complete his education. During our conversations, he indicated an interest in becoming a mechanic or engineer in the automotive industry. He also shared that he wanted to learn and take part in boxing.” Armed with this knowledge, his caseworker would eventually succeed in rallying the community to aid Narish in achieving his goals and desires.
Aware of his desire to pursue these interest, Narish’s caseworker sought help from the community.
Aware of his desire to pursue these interest, Narish’s caseworker sought help from the community. The first step was rallying like-minded people that could support Narish through his studies. A group of students from Yale-NUS College banded together to provide tuition in certain subjects, whilst another member of the community volunteered to provide Malay language tuition. Narish’s Probation Officer also chipped in, securing an English tutor for Narish.
Through the combined effort of the community, Narish completed his N-Levels and even qualified for the course that he wanted. “I did well for my N-Levels and am happy with my results. I’m really thankful for all the tutors who taught me, even if it was for a short period of time.”
Additionally, Narish was also introduced to Legend Fight Sport, a community that accepted him and has set him on his path to achieve his dreams.
“Never give up. Think of what you want to be when you grow up. There will be people around you who are willing to journey with you.”
The Resilience of Youth
Narish has always loved keeping himself active. Although he has participated in a variety of sports (such as dragon boating and canoe polo), his first love has always been boxing. At a young age, he has repeatedly gotten into fights, having no other means to channel his energy and aggression.
He was first introduced to Legend Fight Sport through his caseworker. The manager of Legend Fight Sport, Khairizal, recalls his first impression of Narish, “My first impression of him was ‘Can he commit?’, ‘Can he walk the talk?’.” Concerned with the rigors of training, he was wondering if Narish had what it takes to succeed in the sport.
Whilst still a resident in the Singapore Boys’ Hostel, Narish had issues with discipline, especially in the area of time management. His repeated infringements of curfews and time restrictions placed on him had resulted in him being placed on remand in Singapore Boys’ Home. It was at the Boys’ Home that he picked read motivational books on discipline and preparing himself for life after his probation. It was then that he understood the value of discipline and decided that he needed to change.
The next two months saw a different side of Narish, he stopped committing infringements, started to listen to the staff’s instruction and carried himself with humility. It was these important lessons that would carry him through his training at Legend.
“My first lesson was really boring, they taught me how to walk – forward and backward. Although it was a very basic thing, I realized an important lesson – that I master the foundations before moving on.” Narish eventually moved on to join the regular classes at Legend but he encountered yet another setback – his smoking had compromised his ability to achieve his full potential.
When asked if he was smoking, Narish lied, denying that he did for fear of being kicked out of the programme. It was only when he was invited to attend the Fight Team training that he understood the impact smoking had on his performance. “The first training session was exhausting. I was tired and nearly cried during the training. That day, I made a decision to quit smoking.” A few weeks of Fight Team training saw his stamina improve and saw a more enjoyable training experience for Narish.
Narish has also been extremely dedicated to his training, going above and beyond in pursuing his dream. Although it is not a requirement, Narish can be regularly found in the regular classes on top of his existing commitments with the Fight Team. “Such a commitment from Narish was needed and it was not forced unto him.” Kharizal shares.
The results of Narish’s desire and commitment to improve himself and pursue his dream has led to success in the boxing ring – winning his first bout. Narish’s encouragement to all youth, “Never give up. Think of what you want to be when you grow up. There will be people around you who are willing to journey with you.”
"I want to inspire the next generation of boxers and help them overcome their challenges too! You never know who will be the next diamond in the rough.”
At present, Narish continues to pursue his interests and his dreams. He is currently in a traineeship programme with a car manufacturer, while still spending most of his free time in the gym, training and improving his skills as a boxer. At Legends, he has been asked to take on part-time coaching responsibilities, in addition to his Fight Team training.
“Coaching is something totally new to me, and something I struggle with. However, with each challenge, I need to step out of my comfort zone and strive to improve myself, so that I can overcome this challenge.” Narish admits that, at the tender age of 19, he does not feel equipped or qualified to coach. However, seeing how much faith his coaches have put in him while also wanting to better himself, Narish takes on this responsibility willingly, knowing that it is his own way of giving back to a community that has invested so much in him.
Narish continues to value his relationship with his caseworker. Although they may not be in contact all that often, Narish knows that he can always depend on his caseworker for guidance, seeking advice on his dreams of one day winning an Olympic medal and starting his own gym. Narish reflects, “My caseworker and my coaches at Legends Fight Sport have had a huge impact in my life. They have helped me through a lot and have always had faith in me. My way of repaying them is to stay true to what they have done for me and to pay it forward. I want to inspire the next generation of boxers and help them overcome their challenges too! You never know who will be the next diamond in the rough.”
Watch how this young man overcome his challenges, with the goal and determination to change his life for the better, with the help from his family, friends and the community.
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