KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — Charming and charismatic actor Tony Eusoff made headlines earlier this year for reasons he never thought possible.
The 38-year-old Sarawakian, whose real name is Anthony Joseph Hermas Rajiman, was arrested by Singapore police for drug possession and sentenced to eight months jail.
He was released three months earlier from Singapore’s Admiralty West Prison on October 1, for good behaviour.
Tony sat down with Malay Mail Afternoon at a cafe in Bangsar on Wednesday to reflect on his five months behind bars. Here are excerpts from the interview:
Malay Mail (MM): What was the first thing you did when you got out?
Tony Eusoff (TE): The first thing I did was I touched some leaves, because all I had in prison was a cell room with roughly 15 to 20 other prison mates and the letters I received from loved ones. To be able to feel the leaves in my hands was a blessing.
My girlfriend was the one who came to get me and she took me straight to Pulau Rawa where she had planned a small homecoming with friends. I stayed for five days before coming back to the city and it was a great getaway from prison life to an island paradise. It helped me get
MM: What is your take on life after prison?
TE: I am a very different person now and I have a positive outlook in life instead of continuing to dwell on the past. The past is the past. I have come to terms with it and have changed 180 degrees with plans to use my experience for myself and others out there.
I started to appreciate the little things in life, like this glass of water here (pours water in glass) because all I had then was tap water.
MM: What was prison life like in Singapore?
TE: I was sent to a prison for offenders on short sentences. I went through hell but it was the best space to be in under the circumstances, nothing close to a three-star hotel. Prisoner welfare was top priority there and that was just about it, which were the basic necessities.Time stood still while I was serving my time and every day I had flashbacks of my life since childhood until the day I got out.
MM: Now that you are out, what are your plans? Are you concerned about where your career could be headed for?
TE: I was initially worried about how people would perceive me and of people not wanting to associate themselves with me. But career wise, I have been approached by different production houses to work on two separate films for next year. There are times I am worried about where my career is headed for but at the same time I don’t want to overthink it. Right now I’m focused more on charity work and giving back to society. Before I was sentenced I did get involved with charity works but I was never active. Now I plan to contribute more and actually do something instead of just talking about it.
I’m looking at helping the Orang Asli community and I have also reached out to Syed Azmi (Alhabshi) and offered my help in creating awareness on sexual crimes against children.
MM: What is your advice to others who could be going through the same thing as you?
TE: My advice to those like me is to stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about others before doing something stupid because that is what I did. Think about the people who you might hurt by your action and take a step back to look at things from a different perspective. The hardest thing for me to do then was to forgive myself.
There is no worse feeling than to watch your mother cry over something that you have done. It took me months to come to terms with that, but then I told myself only the dead don’t make mistakes.
* This article first appeared in Malay Mail Afternoon E-Paper yesterday