Sunday, December 12, 2010

The feeling of Sadness...

Posted this originally as a comment on Mabel Teoh's blog on the suicide of Alviss Kong

My first inkling of this incident came on Facebook when I saw a link posted by someone to someone else's blog telling a girl off for claiming to be suicidal and to go do an "Alviss Kong" instead of creating more drama.

After a little snooping around, I found the articles and stories...long story short, Alviss was in love with a girl, and had a 4-month relationship with her, which ended despite him 'confessing 5 times' to her - and he jumped off a building (for reasons apparently ranging from to prove his love for her, to not being able to handle the rejection...I'm not sure and won't claim to understand).

True enough at 22, and on his second relationship, he hasn't gained the maturity to understand love isn't always mutual and often go unrequited. Four months may have seemed an eternity. Perhaps it's effects of Chinese pop culture - I've always wondered why Chinese loves songs are so melancholic, so full of rejection, death and pining - the idea and romanticism of love in a culture that ironically isn't all that romantic and more often, plagued with practicalities, tradition and conservative in-laws. It affects the young who pined over someone for years, and gained the idea that once they're in love with someone, they have to possess the subject and when spurned, they have to stalk, hurt and destroy the subject's happiness, or not allow anyone else to be with the poor person, either. It's all typical stories, and I've heard about them in various degrees about acquaintences (of acquaintances)...if only we all learn to be more siu sa or 冷淡 about it...

But I digress.

It is the ugly comments and posts of fellow Malaysians, that highlight how unforgiving, judgmental and shallow the society is.

Everyone played the blame game, those without sympathy said so with such derision ...and so very very few showed kindness or empathy. Is it true our collective emotional quotient is so low, so few learned to show aa bit of kindness and understanding towards others?

I remember the case of the Singaporean medical student who died in a hit and run in London on her birthday, and felt so sad for her lost life. But a bit of googling revealed the comments by Singaporeans questioning why she's outside the hospital she worked in at that late hour, as if it was of utmost importance. Some poured unfounded accusations of her being a sex worker out at night (like so many other Singaporeans who abused their student status, apparently), and showed their contempt at her for being a scholarship holder at Cambridge (green-eyed monsters, anyone?). You know the saying 'if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all?'

The Internet and the anonymity it provides allow nameless and faceless people to pour their shit wherever they want. Instead of expression of sadness or shock or condolences, people receive contemptuous, cruel, thoughtless comments and jeers. Medium is the message though.

This is just a microcosm of our society and culture, one so steeped deeply in me by my mum and peers, the culture I've tried hard the last two years to cut my ties and untangle the webs's a kiasu society stricken by a structural lack of empathy and understanding towards those who are sad, or different. Those whose aspirations don't fall into the typical line of study hard > great career > marriage > car & house > children. A culture that refuses to acknowledge there are different ways of life. It is a society that can be so cruel with thoughts and words, and one that can stand aside to watch others suffer and not lift a finger to help, while maintaining a commentary of cruel comments for their own amusement. A society that both cared too much about what others think but at the same time, is extremely individualistic and self-centred. A culture of superficiality, maintaining appearances and refusal to seek out depth of understanding on emotion. One that's quick to point out someone is chi sin, or chi ma gan, ngong ...the deragatory terms go on and on. What mentality is this?


I'm rambling on slightly, but how people reacted to Alviss, and to Mingwei's deaths, both for such vastly different reasons, made me recoil with disgust.

Because I am a product of this society, and I too had my reckonings and learning to be indifferent and different, and why I am staying away. It's not really easy, especially with the feelings of isolation and having no one I could relate to, or talk to. Especially lately as I fight this blanket of pain, anger, sadness and helplessness that suddenly drop on me for no particular reason at all. Lately I feel hopeless and ready to give up, and yet, I have to tread carefully, maintain my sanity and present a normal person to the world, when my insides are screaming. Because I know to show weakness is to ask for trouble and judgment.

Where do I go?

But I'm okay. I'm okay.


Was it worth a life, your life?
You claim you love her and now you've given her
A lifetime of haunting.
Regrets and sorrow.
The living have to continue living.

My condolences

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