Saturday, 11 December 2010

The Youth is Wasted on the Young

I heard an interesting news yesterday on a 22-year old guy who committed suicide because his ex-gf broke up with him. At the back of my mind, the thing I was thinking was, "The youth is wasted on the young."

Taken from the safety of a sealed window on the 11th floor

The standard thing which many might think like "What about your parents? Have you thought about them?" or "There is a bright future ahead." or even, "There are many fishes out there to fish. Why fret over your ex?"

Actually, aside from reason, we are emotional beings. When sadness overwhelms us, don't we cry? When anger rages inside, don't we go berserk? It is too easy for us to use reasons to justify why one should not commit suicide but to a person emotionally overwhelmed by a sense of loss, do you think they want to hear reasons? Do you think they have not considered all those reasons NOT to die?

My grandpa died 6 months after my grandma. Perhaps he didn't show much affection to her when they are alive (or at least not in public) but his heart was broken when she died. He cried every single night after her death (until his fall in the bathroom which turned him senile). Afterall, they have been together since their teenage years.

I had also secretly and intensely admired someone so for almost 2 years before I shared my feelings for her. Her rejection of my affections (via e-mail), in a cold months of 1998 winter in Adelaide, was too painful to bear. I wanted to talk to somebody, desperately, anybody but when a person you thought was your friend decided to slam the room door at your face because she claimed on pretext she had to study (but clearly, she is avoiding because she thought I had feelings for her) or another whom you thought was a senior decided that solving his homework questions are of utmost importance, what would you do?

Suicide was on my mind actually. I don't have the luxury of doing a 45 minutes countdown via Facebook (it doesn't exist yet) before I jump but clearly, the intent is the same. But the difference is, I let my fear of heights to stop me from jumping. I thought of cutting my wrist but the pain, the pain. I just want to end it quick if I had a choice. So yes, taking pills... taking pills would be easy while I get myself drunk and wallow in my sorrows.

I guess in comparison, at least Alviss Kong had 4 months with his Bin. I only managed to share my feelings.

I didn't die on that cold and lonely night. A vision from God (His hand was holding onto my hand as the world around me collapse) and a random call to somebody (who turned out to be my best friend) I met in cell group (plus the next 6 hours call every night for the next 8 months) actually helped me to get out of the depression I had.

I can only encourage all suicide wannabes to just call somebody, anybody and pour your heart out. And please don't stop at 1 person. Just keep calling and calling. Your friends may not be the most attentive ones but like me, you might meet a stranger who is willing to lend a listening ear.

It is not stupid or silly. Look, having your head smashed and blood splattered all over is a waste. What is spilling your hurt and anger to a listening ear? You may actually end up with a dear friend instead.

The following is a video dedicated by jennysmallghost in remembrance of Alviss Kong. I feel for the deceased and how close it is for me too...

Other postings on the net on Alviss Kong suicide:

- 22 Yrs Old Malaysian Alviss Kong jumped off a building committing suicide after leaving a Facebook Message

- Alviss Kong Left A Facebook Message And Later Committed Suicide: 4 Reasons Why I think He Is Selfish
- A summary of the Alviss Kong tragedy

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Only good but not the bad?

Not too long ago, I was told by a friend that a mutual friend of ours was on long leave because her mom was sick. It turns out her mom was having breast cancer and she had to take care of her mom.

I immediately wrote to her via blackberry messenger to tell her I felt sorry to hear what happened to her mom. She did respond but when you read the replies, somehow, one can sense she was putting a brave front. So I told her that thinks will be ok since it was an early detection.

I told her that my mom had breast cancer not too long ago. I shared with her my mom's ordeals and how she is doing fine in remission stage. She began to open up and more responsive to what I wrote. She said she felt her life froze when she found out her mom was sick and she was worried if she could move on from there. On finding out there are other sufferers who had done well, she felt somewhat relieved. But what took her as a surprise was when I told her to trust me because I too am a sufferer. She was shocked. I related to her what I went through when I was 19.

After I finished, she said she then saw me in a new light and she said I was strong because I had no bitterness. I told her it is not unusual and I am just an ordinary sufferer like everyone else. I wonder why she spoke of bitterness and she mentioned she had seen other victims of cancer who survived physically but mentally scarred with bitterness and in me, she realised I had none!

I try to playdown the whole no bitterness issue but now that I reflect on it and as I read this interesting book, "How can a good God let bad things happen?" by Mark Tabb, I had a glimpse of what Job went through when when his wife told him to stop holding fast to his integrity and curse God and die!


I read Job's reply before on numerous occasions but the impression I had this time on what he said made me realised that what we see as evil and bad, may not necessarily be so.

"You speak as one of the follish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" Job 2:10

You see, whenever I see a doctor or dentist, they always ask me to open my mouth. However, whenever I open it, they said your mouth is not wide enough! I merely smile and told them that it is so but in actual fact, there is a reason for that. That is my "scar" that reminded me that while the cancer and the side effect of radiotherapy is real (where it killed my mouth muscles and after it recovered, I could no longer open it wide). That though I recovered from cancer, the impact is still present until today.

And God intended perhaps with this "scar" I can share with a friend and encourage her that what her mom went through is common and many survives more so those who detect early. As it helps her to move on, it is indeed worthwhile that I should just count my blessings and not do as what Job's wife told Job to do.

I do not deny life is hard. But it is a blessing that I can still write this after 12 years later and that my reflection of my past changes with new experiences intertwined with the past. For if a moment of familiarity and sharing can elevate the pain of others, is it really all bad?

I guess I really like the adage, "If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger."

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Power - Of Obsession and Datukship

It is interesting to read about power. I mean, who isn't intrigued by it? For instance, it appears that Malaysians, together with Slovakians are world Power Distance Index (PDI) champions as our society worship power (we are at 104 btw).

From home to office to everyday lives, wouldn't we want more power? Isn't it great if we can wake up to a nice breakfast served to us in our beds, our children don't cry or make a fuss but obediently do their homeworks and houseworks or order people around to clean up our streets, fill up the potholes and importantly, do our every whim and bound? You can go off and do whatever you want while others sweat, panic and worry how to meet your deadlines.

According to Mr Lim Teck Ghee in the same article:

The idea of a hierarchy is very strict in Malaysia. So whatever the boss says, goes.

Interesting indeed. Deep down, who wouldn't want power? In any society, power exist because of hierarchy. It is the order of things. You can't have everyone running around like headless chicken right? You need order and to do so, you need hierarchy. Power is implied yet very explicit when exercised.

The interesting bit is of course in relation to why other societies have low PDIs such as US (40), UK (35), France (68), Denmark (18), Japan (54) and Australia (36). It doesn't seem to be an Asian thing too considering our neighbours results - Thailand (64), Indonesia (78), Singapore (74), Hong Kong (68), China (80) and India (77). If you want to point out it is an Islam thing, well. the Arabian world only average at 80 while Pakistan (55) and Bangladesh (80).

You can read more about the index here.

To say it is mainly a developed democracy thing with everyone perceiving each other as equals as how Mr Lim postulated in the same article seems like an over-generalisation because countries like France and Japan rank not too far from Pakistan.


So we can't derive much from the index really. The only conclusion is Malaysians, compared to the rest, are power crazy. On the same note, I wonder is that why there are so many people who would chase after Datukship. I wonder too what special positions do Datuks have in our society today.

If a Datuk goes to a bank and apply for a loan (but it turns out his/her conduct of account is bad), I doubt the bank will approve the application. Even if his records is impeccible, he/she can't borrow whatever he she wants. The bank will still assess his/her credit strength together with his/her earning power and then make a decision.

Or do a Datuk, when he walks into a packed restaurant tell the restaurant manager, he/she is a Datuk, therefore he/she can get a table instantly while there is a long line of customers waiting to be seated? Maybe but not those restaurants I have been going.

Or by invoking a Datukship, will someone get a discount from buying stuff in Starhill or Bukit Bintang? If I am going to buy 10 Patek Phillipe watches with cash versus a Datuk who only say he wants to buy 1 with credit card, who do you think will get a better discount? Will a Datuk also get the same discount?

Even if a Datuk were to be chauffeured via North South Expressway, he/she pays the same rate as everyone else. Compared to a Datuk who shops in Isetan without Isetan membership card, my parking fee is waived for the first few hours in KLCC, Lot 10 and The Gardens whenever I spend above RM100 in a single receipt simply because I have Isetan membership.

I guess there are other intriguing things but I certainly don't see how useful it will be. Which is why I find MIC Youth chief call for a centralised database for false datuks and datuk sris quite useless to me.

Maybe it is useful for those who perceive a title signifies power but in today's society, isn't it more true that cash is king while the rest means nothing?