At a young age Choby Siau became heavily involved in a vicious Chinese gang called the Triad. By the grace of God and through his personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Choby managed to escape the hold that the gang had on him. Below is Choby's testimony ...
Choby and Esther
Hi I'm Choby Siau.
I have the privilege from the Lord Almighty to sit here today to share about the life changing experience that the Lord has done.
My life was falling rapidly apart and some are surprise that I still have breath.
Before I share with you the testimony God has so graciously given me, I'll tell you a little bit about my family background. My father is a traditional Chinese from Singapore and my mother is American that grew up in Pittsburgh. I got three other siblings, an oldest brother, a younger brother, and the youngest is the sister. Anyways I'll jump in to the testimony.
I was 11 years old and my family just moved from Singapore to New Zealand.
I never enjoyed first days to new schools, especially in a new country with new accents and new environments. But I never expected it to be so bad until I walked into the new class and every one was looking at me funny and I had no clue why. And I shortly understood that it was because I was a Chinese. And I understood very early in my year there that I was going to have it ruff.
My little brother went to the same school as me and he was also a victim to the racism, and I guess it was a normal thing for the Asian kids there as I noticed that they also got picked on. I was always a kid that liked to be on the edge but getting in trouble I would rather avoid.
But when the kids at the school started to become physically pushy with the little brother of the family that's when I first started to grip my fist.
Since then I lived my life by the code of violence, and I taught my self to protect my self and my little brother by my own means. And when violence became part of my life I found that it was a sense of power, especially after everyone started to treat me and my little brother better after I started to bang boys up. After a little while when I started to put my foot down me and some boys put a gang together called the SBz. And that's when I first became a gang member.
At the age of 11 I used to pick up cigarette buds off the floor and drink whatever alcohol I could find.
For the next year things got worse and worse and rebellion I ate for breakfast. Through the first year in New Zealand I bounced around to three different schools with a bad records though all of them. My parents were going through heavy stress so they decided to move the family back to Asia for hope that things would change.
My family moved to an island in Malaysia and at this point in my life I just turned 13. I was sent to a Christian private school called DALAT. And just a few months later I found out that my older brother became part of a local gang. And before long I was tied up in it. I didn't last one year in that private school before getting kicked out for gang affiliation. And after that I just hit the streets with nothing to lose. It didn't bother me that I didn't make it to high school because I was going to go all the way for the Chinese brotherhood. The deeper I got involved with the gang the more I understood about the standard that we lived by and what we could and couldn't do. And to my surprise I found out that the Chinese gangs in Asia aren't just "gangs" but the Chinese gangs in Asia are triads. And I became favored and mentored by my branch leader in the triad who I stuck close with. He taught me everything I needed to know about the traditions and brotherhood. I started to recruit youngsters and they follow me and they came under my protection. The branch leader and I became tight and he appointed me to his right hand.
So whatever problem the branch would face they would call me and I would come down and take care of the problem, and if the problem was to big then I would call my branch leader (or overseer).
I loved the brotherhood and everything about it. I rejected God but I always knew that he was real and that there was no other way but Jesus, but even knowing these things doesn't change a person. But the words I herd from church always stuck in my heart (Heb4:12 For the word of the Lord are living and active.) so I always kept conscience of what God wanted.
When I turn about 14 the triad was facing major crisis with numerous divisions and internal conflicts. And at that time the structure of the triad was falling in different areas of trust and organization. At the age of 14 I had close friends in different triads, and the triads deal differently then other gangs, in my part of Asia the triads rather work with different triads to keep the business running then spill blood and make business vulnerable.
During the triad crisis the role I played was becoming nerve racking in dealing with different problems because I had no upper hand to support me. It wasn't long before the triad branch fell through and I was left stranded with 30-35 members under me. One of my closest connections I had was with the most notorious triad among the secret societies in 2002. The connection I had was with a good friend and we both considered each other brothers, he took me in and every one under me with the promise of loyalty towards us and a protection that no other gang could show. When I joined that brotherhood I found out very shortly that they didn't play around, and they had no problem shedding blood in reaction of any sort of threat. The business of that triad had the biggest ecstasy dealership, they also sold a variety of other different drugs, they were involved with piracy dvds, vcds, music, loan sharks, territory protection fees, illegally used credit cards, etc.
I got deeper and deeper with no fear of imprisonment because they had connections with law enforcements. Being a member and as active as I was I found favor with the elders and they loved to see me. I was loyal to the death for the name of the triad. I was involved and wasn't going to change for anyone. But a few years later God gave me a devastating reality awakening that forced me to make one of two choices.
It was December of 2004 and it was the month that God showed me his mighty strength.
There were many times in the past before 2004 when I believed God spared my life. Many times that I believe he protected me from overdoses, being killed and killing, protection from countless things. But during the month of December at 17 years old he rocked my world.
I was at one of the clubs that the gang took as territory and I was with two of the boys chilling out as usual. That night the club shut down at 3:30 in the morning and we went to get some food at a near by out door coffee shop. After we ordered drinks one of my boys pointed at a guy from a rival gang who kept on staring at him. we rushed to the guy and his friends to bang him dude up. We broke some chairs on him and just trashed the dude. The next day I received a phone call from my boy that the people who we fought with the night before were at one of our territories (a shopping mall) with his people looking for us. As I was on the way I called some of my people to come down. When I arrived at the mall I immediately met with my two boys I was with the night before. We stood on the first floor in front of the double door elevator making phone so that our people would meet up stairs at a pool hall. After a few minutes I pushed the elevator button so we could make our way up stars to rally up. the elevator finally opened, and to my shock the rival gang members were standing in the elevator looking eye to eye. Both sides were stunned to see each other. There was about twenty of them that walked out of the elevator and as they walked out, to my stupidity I walked in the elevator and my two boys followed me. And as we were in side the metal box the rival gang surrounded the elevator and in the back round I could see more of their people join the surrounding.
And in my mind I was questioning in how they were going to respond to us. Whether they would start the rumble? or if they would talk triad to triad. A few seconds later I felt a great trembling fear consume my body, it was a fear that I have never in my life experienced. And I knew and I could feel that God was watching me, it felt like he was staring right at me, and my howl life started to flash before my eyes, and during that time I could just sense that there was a great spiritual battle happening right there in the middle of this gang situation. And not only could I sense the strong power of God in my midst but I also had a sense that Satan was waiting for me and I automatically had a gut feeling something bad was gonna happen. The leader who was staring right at us had a weapon covered up in the back of his shirt, he pulled it out and it was the traditional triad weapon, the machete.
The leader with the machete was in tremendous anger because we smashed his gang member. My heart melted not so much because I saw the machete, but because I just received revelation about the reality of the spiritual realm. And I knew that when that guy was going to start hacking us up there was no way that my inheritance was to be with God in heaven.
At that moment I knew that all my life's insurance in the most notorious triad couldn't save me, that the triad name couldn't save me, that my boys next to me couldn't save me.
(matthew16:26- what good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?) I knew that nothing that I gained could keep me from death. The intense anger that the rival leader gave was over whelming and I knew he was going to chop us up.
At that moment I step back in loose of all hope and whispered a prayer to God to save me from death. And immediately after that prayer a sense of confusion struck the whole situation and his own gang started to hold their leader back from hacking us, and my cell phone started to ring and directly after that one of my elders came out of no where and pushed the rival gang out of the way and made room for us to get out of the elevator. And in my heart I thanked God for keeping our blood from being shed.
But even after this situation I didn't change my hearts condition. And a about two days later I went to another club with a group of the gang and one of my boys bought me a ecstasy pill, and I popped it and about 20 minutes later I felt fear and intense trembling through my body, and I knew that the presences of the almighty was right there watching me, and he gave me great indication that he was there. And again I felt that there was a spiritual battle fighting in the heavenly realm, except this time it felt like it was more stronger and aggressive then the time in the elevator. A few minutes later I felt my body shaking in reaction to the ecstasy pill and I knew that the pill was spiked with to much raw poison.
I knew that the pill I ate was a killer and that my body physically wasn't able to fight against it. At this time my boys had no clue what to do so they carried me out side the club and I could feel death overwhelming my body. I felt like God was going to take my life because I didn't repent after he saved me from being murdered two nights back. And I knew that he was the only one that could stop me from fading away. I remember that I looked up to the sky and mumbled a pray, a prayer that Jesus would save me from death and I told God that I would change my life. And immediately after I spoke to God I could feel the presence of death release from my body. And I knew that God showed mercy to me. I knew that God spared my life from death twice. During the next few days I thought about all that had happened, about how God saved me both times, but at the same time I had major doubts that it was God that spared me. I thought maybe it was just a mind game or a little coincidence. And doubt flooded my mind. And I thought to my self that I have everything in the brotherhood. I thought that I have too many brothers depending on me. And I told myself that the triad gave me more then God ever gave me. And I hardened my heart towards God and I tried to block out what happened the last few days.
But no matter how much I tried to block out what happened it kept on coming back to my mind, and not only could I stop thinking about what happened I also thought about my howl life. I thought about when I was 11 years old and when I got into my first fights and how I formed a gang with the boys. I remembered about all the rebellion I showed to authorities. I thought about my parents moving to Malaysia from New Zealand because I wasn't quitting the behavior I picked up. I was concerned about the future because I had no education. All these thoughts I couldn't help but think about.
But as these thought flooded my mind I still thought that I would be missing out if I left the gangster way of life. Because I knew it was going to be one way or the other. And I foolishly came to the conclusion that the gangster life was the only way I knew, and to give that up was to give up everything I lived for.
It was December 28 of 2004(about 3 days later after the pill incident) on of my friends called me on my cell phone, he told me he was on his way to pick me up so that we could spend time together. When he arrived I got in to his car and we took off down the road. As we were driving for a few minutes I felt like I had to put my seat belt on and I told my boy to do the same. We drove a little further and my boy started to hit the gas and we started to fly down the street. And before you even knew what hit my friend lost control of the car and the car started to intensely drift left to right. And during that time as the car was loosing control reality set in and everything from the last few days dawned on me. and I was more terrified then ever before because I knew that God already gave me warning and that he showed me mercy to my soul, but the very fact that I was not willing to change my life I knew that I was completely guilty. The car was traveling at a speed that life expectancy would be terminated. The car ran right over a side walk that was parallel to the road at a speed that was impossible to see what we were going to crash in to. I felt the bump from the side walk and I was out.
A few seconds later I woke from the short black out and my body felt like it had raced a thousand miles an hour. I could see directly in front of me that the wind shield was shattered but I didn't pay to much attention to it. I immediately looked to see if my friend was ok and he was going through a fit. His whole body was shaking intensely with blood rushing down the side of his face. I unbuckled my seat belt to rush out of the car to get my friend out. As I opened my car door (the left side because Asian cars they drive opposite side) I threw my self as fast as I could out side, but when I did this I unexpectedly fell about 5 feet and hit the ground. As I got up I didn't understand why I fell until I realized that the car was sitting in between two huge branches from a tree that went "Y" shape. (the car jumped off the side walk and flew in to the tree)
And not only was the car sitting in the middle of two tree branches, but the front of the car crashed into a roof of a small village house on the other side of the tree.
The ambulance rushed my friend and I to the hospital. Everything was so overwhelming that I could hardly take it. I was almost in disbelief about what had just happened.
And not only about what just happened but also surprised that I was still alive. I knew that if the car would have hit the tree a little lower then the impact would have killed us, and also if the car would have flown a little higher we would have completely smashed into the village house and killed the people inside. And as I thought about that car and how it just sat in the middle of those two branches perfectly I knew that it was only God.
I didn't understand why God would save me a third time. First he saved me from the knife, then he saved me from the pill, but even after those two things I didn't change my heart towards him.
When I was laying in the hospital I was praying and weeping the howl night I was there. I understood that God could have let me gotten killed. I understood that he could have sent me straight to hell. I knew that the Almighty King of Kings was trying to wake me up to reality. And I believe that God was drawing the line for me. I believe in my heart that if I didn't give my life to Jesus there in the hospital then my life would have been taken from me shortly after.
Now its 2 ½ years later. After I gave my life to Christ he changed my life completely. I quit the Chinese triad 6 months later. He allowed me to get my GED and when I first started to study for my GED I didn't even know most of my 2 times tables, and I never read a book in my life. But 10 months later I passed the test. He broke my addictions to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs you name it. God has given me the grace to go through a DTS (Discipleship training school) with YWAM. And I am currently in the ministry as a missionary telling people about what Jesus has done and what he can do for others. God has filled me up. And he restored everything that was broken in my life. And now I see that there is no other way. I look back at all I gained in the triad and it all means nothing. Because everything I had gave me no fulfillment. But Jesus fills up every need. And now I'm part of an everlasting Kingdom, and my heart, love and loyalty is to God by his grace.
And now its hardcore for Christ.
(Luke14:27 and anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.)
(Luke13:24 Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter but will not be able to.)