Thursday, June 28, 2007


Last night there was a documentary on Channel U about the life of a boy, Alex, who grew up in an unhappy home because his parents were always quarrelling and taking out their frustration on him.

The documentary traced his life from the time he was about nine when he fell into bad company till the present day. Scenes from the past were re-enacted by actors but the narration that threaded the chronological segments of his life was done by Alex who has now turned over a new leaf.

He had vandalised property, shoplifted, smoked and took drugs. When he was caught for having drugs in his possession, he was sent to a Boy's Home where he had to kick his drug addiction doing cold turkey. It was tough for him and he learned that despite his parents' treatment of him in the past, they and his sister were the only people in the world who stood by him, encouraged him and helped him to regain his self-worth.

Through the help of a social worker he picked himself up, went back to school and topped his cohort in the final-year examinations and he gives talks to students in his school, telling them about this past and motivating them to do good with their lives.

This first-person account account is touching and seeing a real person who is unafraid to reveal his past misdeeds talking about his dreams and aspirations make this documentary one that is deserving of special mention for the way it was made. I do not know how kids who are at risk view Alex. Do they dismiss him as uncool because he turned good? Maybe.

Having watched Alex's story on TV, I am glad that he told it unashamedly and I hope that he continues to be a positive influence on the lives of those who have for various reasons fallen by the wayside and who reject and are rejected by people around them. I hope that teenagers who happened to have watched this documentary will empathise with Alex and learn from him that though it may take tremendous effort to change, it takes only determination to do so.

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