15 October 2008

Suicides: Jumping in the path of an oncoming train

Jumping off the tracks seems to have captured the imagination of suicides in Singapore. In the sixties in Singapore, there were a few blocks of highrise HDB flats that were known to be suicide blocks as suicides would travel long distances to jump there. Right now, the suicide zeitgeist, at least amongst the population here is jumping onto the path of an oncoming train. This meme has caught on like wildfire. 21 jumps locally last year.

Incidentally, there was a report in the Straits Times yesterday where it was stated that there were 200 attempted jumps in the London Underground annually.

My observation here is that the power of memes cannot be underestimated. My interest here is not in that of suicides but rather the transmission of ideas. How did this method catch on? Was there much publicity? In the early years, the media had simply stated that the falls were accidental or people fainting. I mean, right, do people faint in the bus bay of an oncoming double-decker? I think not. Can a meme like this be stopped once it had proliferated?

Well, at least until the next new macabre idea.


Tim said...

These current stock market woes make ME want to jump in front of a train!

Andy said...

I saw an online picture of such a fatality recently. The top of the person's head was peeking out of the gap between train and platform, everything else was compressed to about 4 inches. Looks like a unpleasant way to go.

I kind of agree with Tim however.

Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Tim, you have lots of holdings?

Online image, Andy? That must be rather ghastly. You also have a lot invested in the stock market?

Have you seen images of gunshot wounds and also images of the dead from bombs? I have seen 'squashed people' from bombs. Most horrific. I had also seen the image of a grenade (40mm) lodged in the jaw of a person some years ago.