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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Second Chance

Goshen Restaurant
"Brother, it is God who is doing the work. We just surrender and God can do the rest for us"
Goshen is a restaurant entirely run by ex-offenders. I chanced upon this restaurant in the heart of Singapore's redlight district, Geylang, by Lorong 23, whilst bringing my English friend around town during the evening on the 29th July 2005. I brought my friend there for the streetside durain stalls to test his endurance and tolerance for all things local, as he had said he wanted to experience 'local things'. Well in this case, it goes beyond seeing those street walkers, durain stalls and seedy coffeeshops. We had unwittingly walked to a wonderful experience of a restaurant run by people who are now living their 'second chance' in life and giving their best.

Rev Don Wong, the founder of the Social Enterprise Ark, that houses Goshen explained to us that he always tell everyone there that they must give their best to provide quality to their customers. It is through quality that customers will return. Otherwise, they will end up relying on public sympathy and charity, which will not be sustainable. I applaud Rev Don, who is an ex-offender himself, for his perseverence in helping the community to give this people a second chance.
By the way, the food was delicious and charged at very reasonable price. After the meal, I met one of the waiters who had served us, in the restroom and he told me that he was a drug addict before and spent five years in Changi Prison. He feels that he is very lucky to have met the Christian Halfway House at the Social Enterprise Ark and re-established his relationship with God.
"Brother, it is God who is doing the work. We just surrender and God can do the rest for us", he said. It was beautiful to hear words like this from someone who has gone through very rough patches in their life and have now rediscover his path to God. I was touched!
Note: The Social Enterprise Ark houses several self-sustaining businesses for ex-offenders. It comprises: a restaurant, a furniture shop, a air-conditioner servicing company, a house removal company, a counselling service, a halfway house for ex-drug addicts, a hostel for exchange students (run by the YMCA), a electrician service centre, etc.
Address: No 1, Lorong 23, Geylang, Singapore 388352
tel 67470935

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