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Brunei: Suicide attempt stirs online buzz

The story of a 21-year old lady who attempted suicide from a government building  in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei early this month generated an online buzz especially on Twitter and Facebook. A local daily paper, Borneo Bulletin, reported how Brunei netizens “posted minute-by-minute account of the drama and the eventual rescue as it happened on social networks.”

Scarysoul-quest provides an account of the suicide attempt and its impact on the traffic in the vicinity. Discussions on the Net focused on whether suicide stories are funny or must be taken seriously. Haji Khairil Anwar is surprised that suicide cases are happening in Brunei

Shockingly, the ‘performer’ was a young lady girl..She climbed on top of the Ministry Of Culture Youth and Sports Building bravely….It was clearly visible from the road side.. Many passengers and vehicles back from work were stuck in massive jam..”

nfzbrokenrainbow notes how many netizens displayed insensitivity by joking about the suicide attempt

They will make fun of you in which I do not think this matter is something to be laughed at. This happened recently, when a girl tried to attempt suicide. Why don't you use your imagination for this? Try to imagine that she is someone who's close to you. Perhaps, your sister. Will you still sit back and giggle with phone on your hand entertaining everyone in Twitter or Facebook with your stupid jokes ? Won't you go berserk when people say something which is so untrue about the incident?”

Teeaah reminded her readers that suicide is not funny.  She blogs about one of her close friends who almost committed suicide.

“What I find the most despicable about people on Twitter is that people were making fun of her. This is possibly the least compassionate reaction I’ve ever came across when it comes to an attempt of suicide. You don’t make fun of people who had to go through something like that no matter how ridiculous their reason for doing it is. You help them. The jokes are a form of bullying. The more bullying there is, the more likelihood that she will attempt to kill herself one day.”

She also stated her views on social media etiquette in her post: Popularity over Empathy.

“It is not cool to compile photos of suicide attempts and put it up on Facebook because you’re such an attention whore, and the idea of having Facebook notifications matters more than your compassion and pity for human race.” ….If that was your sister who was …jumping down the building…, you wouldn’t want people to take hold of those photos or information. You wouldn’t want them publicised on Facebook. That is when your Facebook notifications matters the least, and it breaks my heart that it takes a real personal tragedy to happen to Bruneians in order for compassion to finally set it.

meinthedeep agrees with Teeaah's views

“I second this. Suicide attempts are not and never a laughing matter no matter what are their reasons. They are going through a phase that they only can understand.”

Soulkonekshen, in response to Teeaah's post, added that

“Some people just do not know how much they are loved because we are a society that do not normally show our feelings until we have to. Everyone goes through depression in one way or another. Some can handle it, while others just have it bad. Perhaps we should once in a while take time to tell our loved ones how blessed we are to have all the wonderful people around us. Never take them for granted. Never take life for granted.”

In his posterous site, Soulkoneshen apologized for writing about the funny side of suicide attempts

attempt at seeing the funny side of today's suicide attempt, as I had expected, had upset some people which I truly regret. I hope my apology has been accepted and will keep it to myself in the future. We are after all humans and humans make mistake.”

Lilyseven also expressed her concern about the jokes made by other netizens about the suicide

“People, suicide is no joke. You don’t know what others go through to really get that stage of suicidal thoughts. It’s scary, depressing and you just feel like there’s no hope left in humanity and especially in yourself.”

No doubt an incident like this may be a rarity in a small country like Brunei but it served as a learning experience for everybody. In particular, it reminded netizens to be more cautious before commenting on sensitive topics like suicide.

The number one cause for suicide is untreated depression. Depression is treatable and suicide is preventable. You can get help from confidential support lines for the suicidal and those in emotional crisis. Please visit www.befrienders.org to find a suicide prevention helpline in your country.

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