Mr K Subramaniam served more than 40 years in the security field before taking up the position as the Head of HEB-Ashram in August 2015. Although he could have settled for a more routine second career, he chose to give back to society and touch the lives of recovering addicts by joining HEB-Ashram. Since then, Mr K Subramaniam had made profound improvements in the management of the halfway house, by putting in place an overarching philosophy of empathy, empowerment and a dogged belief that everyone deserves a second chance.
In his one-and-a-half-year’s tenure, Mr K Subramaniam has been the driving force in moulding the residents’ attitude and values towards leading a drug and crime-free life. He had forged stronger bonds between the residents and their families by organising and facilitating engagement events with the grassroots and social agencies, and organised training sessions and IT courses to enhance the residents’ employability. His passion and commitment towards rehabilitating drug offenders and ex-offenders, and empowering them to become productive members of society is admirable.
In 2017, he received the Special Recognition award for his special contributions towards the national anti-drug cause.
- What prompted you and kept you inspired to actively contribute to the anti-drug cause?
I have seen many families being torn apart when one of their family members becomes addicted to drugs. If the one who had succumbed to the dreaded habit is the breadwinner of the family, the entire nucleus of the family is affected and the innocent children are the ones who are greatly affected. They lose their self-confidence and have to grow up with the stigma of coming from a family of drug abuse. If these children are not taken care of, they have a high chance of getting into the same system which was the cause of their suffering. It is the fundamental responsibility of every individual to support these people who need help and guidance.
- What has been your greatest satisfaction throughout your years of contribution to the anti-drug cause?
Our greatest satisfaction is when the resident leaves our halfway house after going through our structured programmes successfully. We put in so much of effort to see them kicking the deadly habit and re-joining their families, who have been waiting patiently with great hope for their return as a reformed person.
- Any particular story you’d like to share with us?
We had a drug abuser who was in his early thirties, who went through our mandated programmes. He had a great desire to upgrade himself and wanted to be successful in life when he was released. He wanted to provide a new lease of life for his family who had gone through immense suffering while he was incarcerated.
He had since obtained his diploma from a polytechnic and found a relevant job that is paying him handsomely. He often visits our halfway house and shares his success story with the new residents.
Do you have any advice for individuals who are faced with the temptations of abusing drugs?
Don’t ever succumb to such temptations, once anyone comes in contact with this dreadful habit, the road to recovery comes with a heavy price. Everyone should keep away from bad influences and if need be, seek professional advice.
- Any final comments on the anti-drug cause?
Government agencies and several VWOs had put in enormous amount of resources to help eradicate the drug menace in our society. The war against drug abuse is a mammoth task and it is not the sole responsibility of the government to deal with it. We need everyone to put in their concerted effort to curb this serious threat that can lead to irreparable damage our society. Let’s fight the war together!