Against All Odds

One Man’s fascinating story from Gang to God.

I’ll never forget the day when I “accidentally” found out that the couple I had called “mum” and “dad” for twelve years weren’t my real parents at all. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I was absolutely shattered.

To make matters worse, “dad” didn’t give me any explanations. I was just given the bare facts and I didn’t dare ask questions. I was brought up only to speak when I was spoken to. Life in Malaysia in the 60s was very different.

I was naturally very hurt and confused: What happened? Why didn’t my parents keep me? Was there something wrong with me? How could I be of any value if they didn’t want me?

From that awful day on, I struggled with deep feelings of rejection and insecurity. Feeling unloved and unwanted, I began a life of rebellion and self-destruction. On the outside I appeared to be a nice, quiet little boy who always did as I was told. I had to because otherwise dad would beat me up. But deep down on the inside I was a raging volcano and a walking time-bomb ticking away and ready to explode.

When I got into my teenage years my life began spiraling out-of-control. Instead of going to school, I roamed the streets of Kuala Lumpur. I joined gangs and terrorized innocent people. We stole from shops and extorted protection money from businesses. We gate-crashed parties and got into countless fights. We robbed and assaulted people. I was constantly told I was the “black sheep of the family” and that I brought nothing, but shame and disgrace to them.

I’ll never forget the day I got arrested and locked up in a police cell. Dad had to come to the station to bail me out. I wished he hadn’t because, frankly, I was safer in that cell!

He never said a word to me in the car all the way home. The moment we got into the house, he exploded like a suppressed volcano. He dragged me to the kitchen, held me down to the floor as he took out his leather belt. And then the non-stop beating began. Lash after lash, belting after belting, he whipped me with all his might. I felt every ounce of his fury, frustration, humiliation, disappointment and anger. As he belted me, I cried, screamed and begged for mercy, but it was useless. I had definitely crossed the line this time. To him I had gone well beyond the point of no return and he had had enough. And the only way he knew how to deal with his frustrations and feelings was to lash out at me with his leather belt. After what felt like an eternity dad stopped and left me whimpering in a corner of the kitchen-floor. No one in the family came to my rescue. They didn’t dare. It’d be stupid to interfere.

The way I was going, everyone said there were only two options left for me: I’d either be killed in a gang fight on the streets of Kuala Lumpur or I’d be locked away in jail for a very long time. No one gave me any hope and no one gave me a prayer.

It’d take a miracle to turn my life around. And sure enough, mine came in the most unexpected way in 1968 …

(Be sure to get Benny’s autobiography “Against All Odds” coming out soon.  You will laugh and you will cry, but you won’t be able to put it down)