Blog and Artwork updates of Singapore caricaturist, portrait artist and illustrator - Jit

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Illustrations for CNB (Central Narcotics Bureau, Singapore) - Essay 1

An essay for you to read. 2 illustrations per essay. 18 winning essays of an anti-drug competition, in total. Long way to go.....

Asey Koh
Ai Tong School, 6C

Her name was Tanya and she was my best friend. We had known one another since ten, and had stuck together ever since. I had always looked up to Tanya as an elder sister. She was tough, cool, and sophisticated. I was doing quite well in primary school, but when I entered my teens, I buckled under pressure, and started failing my subjects. As I was good at tennis and the star player in our school team, the principal was more lenient with me. He told me he would let me stay in school, but gave me an ultimatum for the coming semester—buck up or ship out.

Ai Tong School  Asey Koh - illustration 1 colour revised

I will never forget the day I discovered Tanya’s secret. It was the day after my examinations, and I was feeling very depressed. I headed to the carpark near my house, our usual rendezvous. When I found Tanya, I cried out my heart to her, all my frustration and anger. When I was done, she smiled at me and said, “Do you want to know my secret? Why I’m always so happy?” I nodded my head vigorously. Being a rebel, Tanya had been kicked out of school long before I started to have my problems. Yet she was always carefree and bouncy. I leaned closer to her eagerly, hoping she would impart some good words of wisdom, but instead, she fished out a plastic bag from her back pocket, revealing small pills, almost like medicine. A spark of suspicion caused me to gasp, “Is that a … drug?”

“No, no!” Tanya laughed. “This is called ‘yaba’, a sort of sweet. It’s new in the market.” At first, I was dumbfounded. Tanya’s source of happiness lay in … candy? A small voice at the back of my head whispered that I had nothing to lose, so when Tanya handed me a pill, I popped it into my mouth. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of pure ecstasy. I was floating over the clouds, soaring, flying! I went home happy that day, deliriously so, a packet of pills nestled in my jacket.

Within a week, I started to experience what Tanya called the “side-effects”. I was starting to feel extremely tired at school, and I had to take two pills of yaba a day just to feel better. Then came the time when I ran out of my daily supplements. The side effects hit me in full force. All at once, I was getting angry at everyone, feeling anxious for no reason, and having thoughts of suicide.

It was getting worse every day. I started to have hallucinations, and finally when I met Tanya, I asked for another packet. Tanya refused to give me any more pills. “What do you think I am doing? Running a charity? Come back with some cash!” Tanya, I found out, was in cahoots with a gang. This group of rebellious teens made money by selling the “sweets”.

By now, I had already guessed that yaba was actually a drug. However, I didn’t care. Yaba was what I lived for. It was my elixir of life. I would perish without it. So I joined Tanya. I sold yaba to anyone interested in it.

Ai Tong School  Asey Koh - illustration 2 colour (revised)

The day of judgement came when a youth around twenty approached me nervously, asking for yaba. He handed me the money, and I handed him the drugs. The young man’s nervousness fell and away, and he pulled out a pair of handcuffs. I was tricked. The man was a policeman in disguise, and all he wanted was for me to confess by handing him the drugs. I was guilty. So I was sent to a girls’ home and a drug rehabilitation centre to undergo treatment.

When I was there, I was told that I was right. Yaba was an infamous drug, which had many other names. It was actually called methamphetamine. I cried then. I wept for hours, but not because of I had been caught. Those were tears of joy. I was finally free. I was free from the grip of vice that drugs had held me with. I realised that when I was experiencing the strong, passionate emotions of hate and regret, I had to escape from the truth. That was what had caused me all the pain. My own insecurities and how naïve I was.

That was three years ago. I am now an ordinary citizen with a good, stable job. I never saw Tanya again, but I hope that she has turned over a new leaf and is starting anew, like me. The price for taking drugs is too high to pay. I found that out the hard way.

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