Family, Work & Money

Through drugs, debt, divorce and deaths, this private hire driver found Someone who never left him

By Janice Tai , 15 April 2024

TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains material about a suicide attempt. Reader discretion advised.

In his teenage years, Henry See developed a rebellious streak.

He did not have many friends in secondary school and he did not like to study.

He ended up joining a gang and hanging out with its members – smoking, fighting and creating trouble.

Henry See

Henry with his back full of tattoos in his younger, rebellious years.

Shortly after, he failed his ‘N’ levels and dropped out of school. Influenced by his friends and his then-girlfriend, he began taking drugs like weed and heroin.

Henry at East Coast Park during his army days.

He managed to wean himself off the drugs. But after that, was involved in a series of motor accidents.

He attempted to get rid of his “bad luck” by seeking help from idols and delving into their rituals.

Henry (second from left) with childhood friends.

Yet his streak of misfortune ran on – even after marrying and having his first child.

He was retrenched from his job as a supervisor at a construction site.

Devastated, he went back to drugs – and also was involved in yet another car accident. 

“My childhood friend who was a drug trafficker wanted to help me with the car repair expenses, and I ended up smoking cannabis at his home,” said Henry, now 47.

 Enforcement officers raided his friend’s home that night. Both friends were caught.

The lawyer

Henry engaged a Christian lawyer who offered to defend him in court.

Before they went for his first court hearing, his lawyer asked if he could pray for Henry.

“I told him I hired him to fight my case, not to tell me about Jesus,” said Henry. “But I accepted his request.”

As the lawyer prayed, Henry heard God speaking to him in his heart for the first time in his life.

The last time Henry had prayed was when he was 15 years old. He it found it boring and had told God: “I don’t want to pray anymore. I want to go out and see the world.”

Henry See

Baby Henry with his eldest sister, Charlene. When he was 10, she and another sister sat him down and told him about Jesus.

Now God was telling him:  “In the past 15 years since you told me you wanted to see the world, I have been waiting for you. I have never left you at all.”

Henry wept.

“I told the lawyer I hired him to fight my case, not to tell me about Jesus.” 

Henry’s lawyer also encouraged him to attend his church.

Said Henry: “I just go there to sing song and take attendance. I found it boring. Of course, I prayed that I would get a jail sentence of less than a year.”

His prayers were answered.

Henry was only sentenced to 10 months’ jail – uncommon for charges of possessing and consuming drugs.

Unbeknown to him, his church pastor had written a letter to the authorities, putting in a good word for him.

When they heard of his short sentence, fellow inmates told him: “You are really blessed … Jesus really wants you.” 

Falling away again

In prison, Henry prayed and read the Bible daily. God’s Spirit also touched him whenever he sang worship songs during prison chapel service.

After he was released, he became a poster boy for the Yellow Ribbon Project, which helps to rehabilitate ex-offenders through societal support.

He also got a job in the food and beverage (F&B) industry and rose from kitchen helper to executive chef. 

Because of long hours at work, he neglected his budding Christian faith. Then his childhood friends persuaded him to volunteer at a place of worship of another faith. 

“I told them I was a Christian, but they said they really needed help at night. And I could go after work,” said Henry.

So every week, he volunteered at that house of worship. He hoped that by participating in its rituals, the gods there would help him have a better life.

Divorce, deaths and debts of $100K

In 2011, his wife divorced him. He got remarried the following year.

He felt ashamed that he had stepped away from the Christian faith. 

“There was this accusatory voice telling me that I have no more face to go to church or even pray,” said Henry, who grew up spiritually curious, believing that all religions are the same.

But God continued to show up in his life – once appearing as a white figure in his dream.

“He was so bright, I couldn’t see his face. But the light did not hurt my eyes.”

“He was so bright, I couldn’t see his face. But the light did not hurt my eyes.

“‘You are Jesus’, I said. He told me to remember that I have been healed,” recalled Henry, who told his wife about the dream.

But Henry did not understand it fully, and doubted its reality and dismissed the dream.

In 2016, his life spiralled further downward.

His best friend from primary school, who had found him a courier job, took his own life. He had been battling drug addiction and schizophrenia.

Henry with his best friend, Ben.

That same year, his grandmother, whom he was close to, also passed away.

Henry visiting his grandma when she was warded in hospital.

Inconsolable, he rented a hawker stall at Jalan Besar to sell ngoh hiang (five-spice meat rolls) made using her recipe. But business was bad.

Young Henry in the arms of his grandma.

Desperate for guidance, he sought out a spiritual leader at a place of worship.

Based on the prediction that business at another location would do well, Henry opened a stall at Yishun Park Hawker Centre.

Business was better, but rental was high, and he chalked up debts of $100,000.

“Everyone who was important left me”

Henry gave up the business to become a private hire driver.

From morning to midnight every day, he plied the streets, trying to earn enough to clear his debts.

Henry with his son from his first marriage, and daughter from his second.

To help with their finances, his wife went to work overseas. 

More losses came in the following year. 

When his father was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer, Henry sought advice from another spiritual leader on whether his father should undergo an operation.

The leader asked Henry to sponsor an item at the house of worship. He reassured Henry that his father’s operation would go well.

Henry made the donation and his father’s operation went smoothly.

Henry’s father surrounded by his wife and children, including Henry (in red).

But eight months later, the cancer returned and his father died. It was one of the lowest points in Henry’s life.

During this time, his relationship with his wife, who was working overseas, deteriorated and he felt her becoming distant.

In 2019, she divorced him and left the family.

Making spirits flee

“Everyone who was important in my life left me,” said Henry.

“I couldn’t take it anymore and just needed to find a solution to make my life better.

“I went to all sorts of fortune tellers, mediums and spiritual card readers to help me.” 

They told him to do various things – from burning prayer papers to buying items that would change his luck.

He was willing to spend all his money on whatever it took to get his life back together. 

He figured that if these strategies didn’t work, he would just end his life.

He was willing to spend all his money on whatever it took to get his life back together. 

One day, standing at his window in his 15th story flat, he thought of ending his life.

“Then I thought about my son and daughter and how sad they would be if I died,” he recalled.

“I thought of how my mother would take it, especially since she had already lost my father,” said Henry, who then stepped away from the window.

But the suicidal thoughts persisted.

“During meditation sessions in front of an altar at home, various spirits usually would come and talk to me.

“They reminded me that I had so many problems and nobody could help me. So why not just end my suffering like what my best friend did? It would be easier,” said Henry.

As the different voices continued speaking to him, Henry suddenly felt a Presence enter the room.

“I still did not know which big God had spoken to me and caused the other spirits to scatter.”

All other spirits quickly disappeared.

“I felt goosebumps from my head to my toes.

“He told me not to commit suicide, for He would help me,” said Henry.

Stunned, Henry blurted out: “Who are you?”

The reply came in Mandarin: “我就是我。你可以叫我神灵或神。 (I am who I am. You can call me Spirit or God.)”

Said Henry: “Even after this, I still did not know which big God or Spirit had spoken to me and caused the other spirits to scatter.”

Months later when Henry heard a preacher in church use the phrase “I am who I am”,  he realised that Jesus had called out to him that night.

A wire connected

Meanwhile, Henry continued his search for answers to his struggles.

He remembered a “card of guidance” someone had passed him, and reread it.

One line jumped out at him. It said: “You must pray to your God again.”

“I have come to realise that God is the only thing I can rely on in my life.”

Henry went into his room and prayed with sincerity: “Lord Jesus, I come to You. Please forgive me.”

Immediately, he felt God’s presence fill the room.

“It was as if a wire had connected,” he said.

Henry See

Teenage Henry with his three sisters. When two of them told him about Jesus, Henry put various possible gods to the test. He prayed to Jesus before one exam, and prayed to another god before another paper. “I wanted to see who is more powerful. In the end, both exams can’t pass as I didn’t study!” he said.

Then for the second time in his life, he heard Jesus speaking to him: “Till today, I have never left you. You have seen Me before, but you did not believe in Me. After all that you have gone through, now you know who is your real God.”

Henry wept, apologising profusely to God, whom he had known since he was a child, but had strayed far from.

“If I’m nearby, I’ll come” 

When Henry’s tears finally stopped flowing, he felt like a totally different person.

Overjoyed at finally having an answer to life, he shared the news with his son and friends.

Henry texted his sister to ask if he could come for the upcoming Good Friday service at her church.

It caught his sister – who had been praying for him for almost 30 years – by surprise.

“She said, ‘You want to come? I will save a seat for you’. 

“But I said, ‘Don’t put too much hope in it. If I drive my taxi and I am nearby, then I will come’.”

Sinister voices continued speaking to him, interrupting his consciousness as if they were his own thoughts. 

“They urged me, ‘Never mind lah … Don’t need to go as you still need to drive your taxi and earn money’,” he recalled.

Taxi testimony

Near the time the Good Friday service was due to start, Henry was near Tampines – far from the church at Suntec City.

“But I heard God saying in my heart, ‘Just go. I have a message for you, all for you. Just go’,” Henry recalled.

So Henry gave in and went – but he also reminded God to provide for his day’s earnings and help him clear his debt.

The sermon that day, was on the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

It spoke directly to Henry’s heart, and he invited Jesus into his life. 

Hungry to find out more about the faith, Henry started listening to sermons while driving his private hire taxi.

When prompted to, he also shares his testimony with passengers who are open to hearing it.

He said: “Sometimes, I take down their names and pray for them. Some of them also pray for me before they alight from my taxi.” 

Praying passenger: A visiting pastor from Australia was among those who have prayed for Henry.

Henry has also seen God faithfully providing for his needs.

“Last time, I needed to drive seven days to earn seven days of income,” he explained.

“Now, somehow I drive just five days and go to church and cell group, yet earn seven days of income.” 

Henry celebrating Christmas at a candlelight service at church with his small group members.

“I have come to realise that God is the only thing I can rely on in my life.

“I have lost many important people in my life, but He has never left me.

“Even when I did not choose Him, He chose me and found me.”

This is an excerpt of an article that first appeared in Salt&Light.

If you would like to know more about Jesus, click here to find a church near you.

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