My colleague and I was at Singapore Prison Service (SPS) headquarters for a discussion on their upcoming recruitment advertisements a few days ago. The officer from public relations shared with us that other than ensuring prison’s security, SPS’s mission is to rehabilitate offenders and successfully integrating them back to society. At this point, she shared with us the starfish story. That was the first time I heard of the story and I find it very meaningful.

The story took place at a beach. An old man was walking along the beach and he saw a boy picking up starfish and gently throwing them back into the sea. He striked a conversation with the boy and understand that the boy was worried that when the sun is up the next day, the starfish will die. The old man laughed and said, “I’m afraid your efforts won’t make a difference. There’s numerous starfish on this beach. You are not going to save them all.”

The boy listened, picked up another starfish and threw it back to the sea. “It made a difference for that one!”