Ex-offender Yeo Yun Luo says that companies and society must be more accepting of ex-offenders


At the same time, Mr Yeo also encourages ex-offenders to take a step back and look at what one is good at and areas where he or she is lacking.

If you are wondering, wah wah wah, who is this person ah, dare to speak on the behalf of ex-offenders?!

Well, Mr Yeo Yun Luo was a former gang member and an ex-offender. But he has since turned over a new leaf and now, he works as a project manager at the commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield.

Speaking at a focus group session organised by Yellow Ribbon Singapore and NTUC as part of their EveryWorkerMatters conversations on 13 January 2023, Mr Yeo also shared that it is also important how ex-offenders position themselves.

“If you need education (and skills), you can definitely go for courses to upgrade yourself,” said Mr Yeo.

In the same vein, Mr Yeo also urges companies and society to be more accepting of ex-offenders.

Challenges of ex-offenders

During the focus group which saw 140 participants including employers, associations, and ex-offenders attending the discussion to voice their concerns, struggles, and challenges, other ex-offenders who attended the focus group also shared that like many Singaporeans, they also face concerns such as financial instability, caregiving responsibilities and the lack of relevant skills for work when trying to reintegrate to society.

In addition to these concerns, some of them also had self-esteem issues derived from the social stigma that the public has on ex-offenders.

Another challenge brought up by some of the ex-offenders includes getting judged by their colleagues if they came to know of their record.

Not easy ah.

A story about an ex-offender who turned her life around after finding Agape Connecting People

More needs to be done to tackle workplace discrimination

NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay who was at the session to address some of these concerns said that in a country with no natural resources like Singapore, every one counts and every worker matters, including ex-offenders.

“We should not leave any stones unturned and leave any worker behind,” he said.

ntuc yellow ribbon focus group

While society has now become more inclusive and accepting today than in the past, the labour MP also acknowledged that workplace discrimination in various forms still exists.

To close the gap on existing workplace discrimination, Mr Tay said that he hopes that the upcoming workplace anti-discrimination legislation will level the playing field for all workers.

In case you don’t know hor, Mr Tay is also on the tripartite workgroup deliberating on the legislation.

Ex-offenders are an untapped source of talent pool too!

Mr Lam Shiu Tong, C&W Services Singapore Managing Director who was at the engagement session also spoke about how he thinks employers can support ex-offenders to reintegrate into the workforce.

ex-offenders yellow ribbon ntuc

“Other staff should treat ex-offenders just like any other new staff joining the team,” said Mr Lam.

“Taking the extra effort to welcome the new persons, inducting them to the workplace culture, providing a guiding hand, and accepting them as part of the team and family are all important onboarding means to ease them into their new roles,” Mr Lam continues.

Mr Lam also added that with Singapore’s labour crunch, ex-offenders are an untapped source of talent pool that can add value to businesses with their diverse skills and experiences, resilience, and drive.

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