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Kiat Tan
Wednesday, Sep 3, 2014

Singapore

Tattoos remind him of bad past

The New Paper | Kiat Tan | Wednesday, Sep 3, 2014

He has been given a new lease of life, thanks to the tattoo removal programme, which was started last year by the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (Sana).

In 2010, Mr Mohd Iswandy Aziz was a drug offender hooked on methamphetamine (ice).

While serving his sentence, Mr Mohd Iswandy realised that his tattoos were a reminder of his troubled past. So he decided to rid of them and turn over a new leaf.

"I wanted to remove my tattoos to set a good example for my family. I don't want my two daughters to grow up asking me why I have tattoos all over my body."

He added that society's negative perception of tattoos also motivated him to remove his tattoos.

"Sometimes, when I'm outside, I will meet people who judge me negatively based on my tattoos," said the 31-year-old.

With the help of Sana, former offenders pay only 10 per cent of the total cost of a tattoo removal - about $120.

It takes up to 10 sessions to remove a tattoo, depending on its size and colour. Each lasts nine minutes.

Mr Mohd Iswandy completed his 10 sessions earlier this year and removed a visible tattoo on his forearm.

SUBSIDIES

He told TNP that he had to pay only $12 for each session, after subsidies from Sana and the National Skin Centre (NSC).

A spokesman for Sana said: "Many ex-offenders who seek employment and want to reintegrate into society struggle to do so, due to the presence of visible tattoos on their arms, hands, neck and other exposed parts of their bodies.

"Additionally, the high cost of tattoo removal prevents ex-offenders from receiving laser treatment."

With the help of a fund-raiser by the NSC, which raised $50,000 on Aug 23 through a charity walk, another 80 people will benefit from the tattoo removal programme.

You have to cover up at this club

In January, The Straits Times reported that dance club Genesis wanted partygoers with conspicuous tattoos to cover up if they want to be let in.

And if they flash their body art while inside the Marina Bay Sands nightspot, they risk being banned.

Genesis' ban has been in place since it opened on Dec 24 at the Marina Bay Sands Crystal Pavilion.

Efocus Entertainment, which manages Genesis' club nights, said the ban is to create a "friendly, comfortable environment"."We filter the crowd to lower the risks of fights or unrest because those with tattoos tend to attract a lot of unwanted attention," said a spokesman.


This article was first published on September 01, 2014.
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