The folks critiqued the sportsman’s method
And offered him generous evaluation,
As they counted down in a fireworky fever
To celebrate yet another spectacular stunt
And worked up to test their reaction times
By dispensing in overcrowded forums
Words of condolence typed up in advance
Upon the very moment of the jump.
Medals for blood,
Boos for cold feet.
On the left is a screenshot taken from a discussion thread regarding a local traffic congestion caused by a suicide attempt last Friday, a footage of which is shown in this post’s featured image above. Here’s a quick translation on the first few comments:
“Has he not jumped yet?”
“Please give him a push.”
“Two hours already and he hasn’t jumped. Now, it’s all over Facebook.”
“If he’s decided to die, he should have done so by the sea or somewhere away from the people.”
“Still unable to jump?”
Subsequent comments were similar or worse, involving some obscenity too. Such is our uptight urban culture in a nutshell, where we have time to demand etiquette and consideration from a man contemplating his own death, but no time to offer our sensitivity and human conscience to our neighbours.
To the displeasure of many (but to my relief), the man was ultimately saved. However, on the same day, there was another incident just a few train stops away, where the suicidal involved did jump to his death and in which case netizens were promptly drawn to express their “grief” without any nagging.
As mentioned in my previous post, a recent high-profile suicide in Hong Kong seemed to have given permission to many who had similarly mulled over the idea. Over the long haul of curbing the towering suicide rates (see above graph from our local Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention), I believe it is not a battle to be won, least of all, by lavishing jeers and taunts upon the depressed individuals, nor by whitewashing tragic losses with well-intentioned but self-serving, fast-food comments. Instead, we must arm ourselves with kindness and tolerance as we learn to listen to each other with willingness and sensitivity. That, I believe, is the only way to redeem our lost neighbourhood from the menace and possession of a growing societal disconnect.
Photo Courtesy: on.cc & CSRP (HKU)