Suicide’s a delicate and complicated subject, but in Hong Kong, psychologists, in cahoots with the Education Bureau, believe a ham-fisted preventative approach works best for youngsters who want to end it all. In Hong Kong, as ever, heavy doses of unwavering practicality, bluntness, box ticking and paperwork are the only answer.
22 students from as young as 11yo have taken their lives since the start of the school year in September. The 4 most recent cases occurred in the space of 5 days. With these grim statistics in mind, here’s what the experts have come up with:
The genius of a form like this is its simplicity. A think tank sits around a table with suicides piling up all around them, aware they must act. They must do something…but what?
Can they wave a magic wand and magically turn Hong Kong from the disgusting, nasty, dog-eat-dog, ‘me first’, cramped, polluted, vacuous place that it is, into a relaxed ‘life before work’ chilled out village? No. Can they somehow convince parents to ease up on the mania…the sheer unadulterated mania and manic delirium they have for all things education? Fuck no. Can they click their fingers and change Chinese culture in one fell swoop – suddenly turning it from the highly authoritarian, discipline based, ‘face’ obsessed, snobbish, group-think, money driven, materialistic culture that it is, into a culture that values the kind of happiness you can’t buy in a shop? No way. Can they put an end to pre-kindergarten attainment test interviews for 2yo children and all the pressure that instils? Nope. Can they look in the mirror, at the very education system they run and administer…where every facet of every class at every year level bears the psychological weight, importance and pressure of a space shuttle launch…and step back for a second, howl at the moon and scream ‘oh God forgive us what the fuck are we doing we must be out of our fucking minds!’? No fucking way!
So what do these MENSA graduates do? That’s easy. They make a form to fill out. I promise not to kill myself between now and April 17th. How practical. How blunt. How Hong Kong.
Let’s not even get into the real reasons behind why things are so fucked in Hong Kong for so many people. We wouldn’t want to cause any loss of face for the small number of cartels and big business bosses greedily scooping up 99% of the pie while the majority of Hong Kong sits around arguing whether they are eating it or not. Or more exactly:
“Lets face it, Hong Kong is facing a disintegration of its social fabric; the student suicide rate is just a symptom of that process. The disintegration is due to falling social mobility caused by a cartel of businesses who reduce real wages, push-up costs and exploit workers. These factors, coupled with high property prices, terrible pollution and over-crowding of our city, has placed unbearable strains on all of us. Just to add to that feeling of despair, we have a malfunctioning government, with officials out of touch with reality and low quality politicians. Any young person with an ounce of intellect realises they face years of study, then earning poor wages to buy a cramped concrete box in the sky, at inflated costs; maybe they will get 18-days holiday a year, they will pay into the mandatory provident fund to earn a paltry pension and that’s their future.”
– ‘Kubrick’ Mar 12th 2016, 10:33am