By Amelia Tan
LECTURER Boi Kwong's biggest regret is having initiated his 12-year-old brother into a gang 16 years ago.
While Mr Kwong, then 14 years old, broke free of the group a couple of years later, his brother went into a tailspin, landing up in jail two years ago for smuggling cigarettes.
In contrast, Mr Kwong graduated at the top of his visual communications class at Temasek Polytechnic and got a degree in mass communications from Curtin University. He now lectures on digital, video and audio production at ITE College East.
He worked as a volunteer at Kaki Bukit Centre (Prison School), where his brother was taking cooking classes, from August last year to January this year.
He wanted to understand what his brother was going through and make amends for not having been there for him while they were growing up.
Mr Kwong, who conducted weekly classes in filming and video editing for the inmates, said he was impressed by their talent and passion for learning.
He realised that they had one thing in common - lack of a supportive home environment.
The experience inspired him to make a movie on how he and his brother got involved in gangs.
The NC16 movie, The Days, is now showing in theatres across the island.
Mr Kwong said: 'I've always believed that if I'd shown more concern to my brother, he would have left the gang and would not have gone to jail. Making this movie is my way of saying 'Sorry' to him.
'I also hope that it can remind parents to pay more attention to their children.'
He plans to resume his classes for inmates next month.
His brother was released from jail earlier this year. He is married and works as an assistant chef at a well-known Italian restaurant.
Mr Kwong says his film and volunteer services are his attempt at showing his appreciation for the support given to his brother by the prison officers.
'My brother told me that the prison was a good place to sit down and think. My family and I are grateful for what it has done for him.'
This article was first published in The Straits Times on September 15, 2008.
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