The life story of ex-juvenile delinquent Alex Lim is one of faith, hope and love.
Contributed By Yeo Zhi Qi
|PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEX JUDAH LIM|
He started smoking at the age of 9, got involved in drug consumption and gang fights during his secondary school years. Alex Judah Lim, 24, did not follow the steps of the typical youth growing up. However, his present-day achievements and contributions surpass that of the average individual.
Unlike most of his peers who are still studying, Lim has put his undergraduate studies on hold to pursue his dream of setting up a food stall business. His Western food stall, Figos Grail located at Katong Hostel, together with his lifestyle of active volunteerism are a testament to the complete transformation from his days of drugs and vice. A gang leader at 15, Lim was sent to a boys’ home from 2001 to 2003 for drug consumption and drug trafficking. The time in the home served as a wake-up call and a turning point in his life as he lost all connections with the world outside.
“I saw what happened to my friends and how drugs affected their lives. My close friend committed suicide when he was 16, others went to jail, and the rest had broken families. I came to my senses and I stopped doing whatever I used to do.” So determined was Lim to turn over a new leaf that he turned in one of the highest achievements in both the N-Levels and O-Levels examinations in Ping Yi Secondary School where he studied. He then chose to further his studies by pursuing a diploma.
Attributing his drastic transformation to God, Lim shared about his first encounter with God when a counselor from the boys’ home prayed for him. “That was when I realized that there really is a God who listens and understands.” While he initially attended church because he felt obliged to accept his friends’ invitations, it was a personal encounter with God that cemented the faith in him. He shared, “I challenged God to prove Himself to me if He were real. Back then, I knew nothing about the Bible but He came to me in a dream, and I could see that He was very glorious and bright. The feeling I had was very real.” Coupled with the support from his cell group members at City Harvest Church, Lim was able to turn what could have been a life wasted into one lived for a greater purpose.
He actively volunteers with various government agencies such as the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, the National Youth Council and the Central Narcotics Bureau. Currently, he is part of a committee in MCYS that helps to engage delinquent youths in healthy activities, providing a platform for them to turn away from the vices they are involved in.
Asked about what he has gained from volunteering, Lim shared, “Each time I end a talk, I know I’ve made a difference. When the youths come up to me to ask questions, I know a seed has been sown even if I may never see them again. I feel a satisfaction that money cannot buy.”
The food-stall business that he runs is not merely profit driven as Lim sees it as a social enterprise as well, hoping that his business can give hope to others and bring ex-offenders back on track. He lives out such a vision by employing youth-at-risk to help out on a part-time basis at his shop. Hiring them allows for a more holistic mentoring approach through which he can transform delinquent youths and bring them back to reality. Not only does Lim feel the difference in the conduct of the four youths he has employed, but their school teachers have also noticed marked improvements in their behavior over the past few months.
From being a school dropout sent to a boys’ home to a passionate young individual actively volunteering and transforming the lives of others, Lim has come a long way. His heart for others is encapsulated in his active volunteer work, “I think it is important that youths ask themselves what they want in life. I want to help them lead a purposeful life.”
369, Tanjong Katong Road