The Jump

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.


Colin Lee



2018.08.20 The Jump 2On 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.”

“Practising levitation?”

“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.

2018.08.20 The Jump 3

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: & CSRP (HKU)



12 thoughts on “The Jump

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  1. I agree with V.J…cannot “like” these situations but I do appreciate your compassionate perspective. This touches close to home as a family member of mine was thankfully talked off a building ledge several yeas ago by a police officer who was trained in Crisis Intervention. That family member is very happy to be alive today. Yes, we need to listen and “arm ourselves with kindness” (it could be us or our loved one)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear this, Lynn. Thank God. Bless that police officer. You’re right — it could be any of us. We never know when a straw will break the camel. Thank you for your good heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i pressed like but I felt numb reading this. we will never understand that one man’s heartbreak, we judge we small minds and empty hearts. While I thank you for bringing this as a awareness it is too hard to continue reading and feeling the sadness for him.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We are all lovers-haters to ourselves, aren’t we? Suppose everyone can use a bit of grace — and that’ll be the up side of humanity we’re talking about. How unfathomable it is thus for Christ to say … Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Hmm.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ironic Colin, the book that contains so much love often used by so called seekers of peace and justice. I am probably not in a good frame of mind and just rambling. it hurts me to see so much suffering caused by self absorbed humans. and when sometimes that includes myself, it stings all the worse. I so appreciate what you say, grace, yes grace, I say it all the time too, grace and space, that’s what we are all looking for.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I wrote something a long time back comparing ChiangMai and Tokyo. I recall part of the comparison as including the efficiency with which Japanese workers can clean up after a rail-station suicide. In one instance, the official “apologies” for a two-minute delay reduced at each station until I exited and was handed an official “excuse” for a 30-second tardiness. So is the value of a life in such social “perfection”. I walked to my destination, excuse in hand, questioning whether I was the only person wondering about who this person was?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. As suicides become part of the everyday routine, with pre-printed notices even, as though no more than some occasional malfunctions of the railway’s nuts and bolts … this is downright beyond tragic. And we just live with it, most of the time, pretending not to know about it … like pests removed from our vegetables, or scrap taken out by the factories of our consumer products.

      Rail-station suicide is one reason the MTR in HK have installed thousands of platform doors and shields all over the city in the past decade. The latest suicide hotspot is the IFC Tower in Central. We even have a local saying: There’s a queue at the IFC; come back on another day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree entirely, and I’ve noticed the ubiquitous station shields in HK. In Japan, it makes the news when someone cares enough to rescue a drunk or a child who falls onto the tracks. So at what point does humanity turn into mere mechanisms that either work or fail? Below is part of a message I recently sent to someone else having to do with my ethnicity, but coincidentally touching on the topic of preemptive concern for others as humans in such a circumstance. Some people do care… maybe the rest of us just need to notice it more?

        “When I was in college, the professor for a particularly difficult class once approached me, inquiring whether ‘everything was alright’. Despite it seeming very odd, I thought he was trying to hit on me and brushed it off. Later, I realized that the university had just had its elevenths suicide in four-years, and it was the fifth time an Asian woman had jumped from a balcony of the same building.

        I probably should have thanked him for noticing something that I fought to ignore in my youth.”

        Liked by 1 person

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