Can a Bad boy turn Good ? YES YES !! emphatically :)

Overheard from Michael Chia


I love stories like these. Well done Darren! Keep pressing on! 浪子回头,金不换

It just proves again that there’s always a way out if there’s a will. One does not have to let circumstances or opinion of others become one’s destiny. If it’s to be, it’s up to us. I’m a believer in the grace of God but I think sometimes we need to press on until grace meet us along the road.

In my own journey to the legal profession (called to the Singapore Bar in 1998 having left school with only 3 O levels 11 years earlier), I was inspired by the story of how Lim Chin Joo (younger brother of the more prominent, late leftist trade unionist and politician Lim Chin Siong) studied law in prison when he was detained for involvement in leftist activities for 9 years between 1957 and 1966. After his release, he joined the civil service before starting his own law firm in 1973. He retired in 2002.

I used to hear stories of Uncle Chin Joo from my dad (who was himself detained for leftist student activities as a Nantah student during those turbulent years). I used to tell myself, if Uncle Chin Joo can do it in detention, surely I can do it as a free man. I finally met Uncle Chin Joo at my wedding in 1999 a year after I became a lawyer.

Heard recently that Uncle Chin Joo published his memoirs. There was a book launch last month at the Chinese Chambers of Commerce but I learnt of it after the fact. Going to try to get a copy and have Uncle Chin Joo autograph it!


Source – > The Straits Times,  23 Aug 2014


Darren Tan is not like all the other new lawyers called to the Singapore Bar on Aug 23.

An only child, he broke his mother’s heart going behind bars for 10 years for drug offences and gang activity. He also received 19 strokes of the cane. So who could have foreseen his amazing turnaround – Darren aced his A levels from jail, landed a place in the National University of Singapore law school and, on Aug 23, was admitted to the Bar as a new lawyer.

It’s a story that gives everyone hope.

And just look at his proud parents now. Chang Ai-Lien’s story of Darren’s inspiring comeback is in The Sunday Times. It tells you there’s hope for everyone.


Comments :

  • Congratulations Darren. Although I don’t know you, I salute you for the many hurdles you had to cross to achieve your dream.. I have no doubt that you will make a good criminal lawyer. I also know of another former secret society member who I had arrested in 1972, for being a involved in a gang-fight that resulted in the death of an individual. This young lad and his gang were not charged in Court due to insufficient prima facie evidence. They were all detained under the Criminal Law for about 7 years. This particular individual, a school drop-out studied in prison and did well in his A Level examination. After his release from detention, he studied law and today he is a good criminal lawyer. We are good friends and he said that because I arrested him, I change his life.


  • Everybody deserve a 2nd chance when they put in effort to change for the better. Thumb up for NUS.


  • I think an ex-convict who has turned over a new leaf is far better than a licensed lawyer who has embezzled millions of dollars of his clients’ money!


  • Making a mistake is not end of the world but rather picking yourself up and putting in double the effort to work hard and yes,you will achieve it one day.Well Done!


  • 浪子回头,赞!


  • I think everyone has forgotten the meaning of jail time. It is to turn over a new leaf. If he still has criminal tendencies, he’ll be arrested again for sure. So don’t judge.


  • As an ex convict, he’s more likely to know how a criminal thinks and acts. And him being brought over on the good side, will actually help. Doesn’t mean he used to be bad, he will be forever. I’m sure u have your bad past as well, but who’s judging?
    Just because u didn’t land in jail doesn’t make u any better than him.


  • It’s people like him that give me hope. Subhas Aanandan was detained once, look at him now. There is another lawyer, Thangaveloo, who was detained as well, went on to ace his A levels, went to Nus and became a lawyer.
    I was detained previously too, and I’m pursuing law currently as well. When hearing this exemplary stories, it just gives me a new surge of determination to strife to do my very best when there are so many people out there who actually ridicule me when they hear of the career path I’ve chosen. Thank you Daniel. Reading your story, has encased me into a new unbreakable shell of fortitude.


  • I’m proud of my cousin for his determination and hard work without which this would not have been possible today. It is hard for most of us to truly comprehend the difficulty in achieving this. Goes to show that if you’re willing to put in effort to improve and do good, there will be results.


  • Got me thinking…… something to be kind, you need to be cruel. For parents of wayward children, sometimes they don’t have a choice but to send their children to jail and help them learn the hard way.


  • You broke your mum’s heart when you went behind the bars. Now not only you have mend her heart you also put tears of joy on her face instead tears of sadness. I am a mother and I am very happy for your parents especially your mother even though I don’t know you. GBU Darren you have finally did your parents proud of you.


  • I agreed with what Kevin Lim said: I think an ex-convict who has turned over a new leaf is far better than a licensed lawyer who has embezzled millions of dollars of his clients’ money!

    My nature of works (>20yrs) need to deal with lawyers all these years..
    -To find good & honest lawyers above all wealth, fame & glory are hard to find nowadays. I met Few & They are RARE Gems.
    Just remember: Justice & Upright are good virtue.

    -Darren, what you gone thru in the past will not go to waste. The heartache n tears that the parents shed all these years are worthwhile too!
    You made better lawyer! You are able to relate to those better who shared the same experience you had before. Proud of you!



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