Suicide is Not Painless

Today I read of two young seventeen year old girls in Singapore, friends, who within a matter of three weeks killed themselves. July 9th, 2010

As I read the article and the following contributions I learnt of the stressors placed on young folk in Singapore to succeed, many identifying this as the core to these and other youth suicides. Probably so.

But Singapore, Australia…most countries pursuing the model of ‘education based on future financial success’ are experiencing an alarming increase in youth suicide as well as a massive increase in adults taking legal let alone illegal mood altering drugs.

Frankly, doesn’t that tell you something???

Well let me share with you what it tells me.

Being born into any society where the emphasis is on the achievement of financial gain as indicated by the whole structure of our society means that the Human Being emotionally suffers.

 The Human Being suffers because this model of society demands a materialistic, mechanistic reductionist logical left brain approach.

 Now of course there is a place for the left brain and its skills. Without it we would be unable to reduce hunger, create vaccines, perform surgery, understand the basic workings of the natural world.

 But what about the right brain? That part of us that imagines, that creates that thinks beyond. Indeed the part that ponders the reason for life, how one should live, death and, the word with more definitions than a dictionary could hold, God.

 Now on the scientific and academic side of why ignoring the needs of the right brain is leading to misery I would refer you to a book by Dr Iain McGilchrist, eminent English psychiatrist called (don’t be scared of the title) ‘The Master and his Emissary: the divided brain and the reshaping of Western civilisation’

 An older but excellent book if you are interested in these concepts is Madness and Modernism by American psychologist Louis Sass.

 Both books express in academic ways the simple concept that our society has become so dominated by the left brain reductionist approach, that the power of beauty, of spirit, and of true art as well as empathy, connectedness and so on are lacking to such an extent that we have become seriously out of whack.

 Which leads to misery.

 Which leads to seeking to alleviate misery.

 We seek help and here is where I think things are getting real scary.

 In the United States when I last checked around 1992, six million Americans were on prescribed mood altering drugs from antidepressants to anxiety medication and so on.

 In 2003 whilst in the States I was shocked to see continual advertisements on regular TV encouraging Americans if their not feeling great to go get on whatever specific drug they were advertising.

 I wondered what message this gives to their kids. Australia is only a little behind.

 More tragically increasingly even scientists are talking of relating new discoveries in Neuro-science to creating drugs and manipulating the brain in order that we responder more positively to the world outside us. A recent example:

 Lone Frank, an award winning Danish science journalist and broadcaster who started out as a neurobiologist and has just written Mindfield: How Brain Science is Changing our World said recently on Australian radio

 “I mean in the future when this revolution (neuro-revolution) has played out and we have a lot more drugs and cognitive techniques that can, you know, change our brains in different ways, I think it would be completely normal for people to manipulate their brains and nervous systems to get moods, or states or whatever.”

 Scientists increasingly scoff any discussion of spirit, god etc but as I’ve discussed before based on biased interpretation of data that would have had Socrates scoffing all the way to his hemlock!


 If we are to become more than;

 Drugged robots attending work most hours of each day to keep the ball rolling…

 Starting our kids earlier and earlier on drugs so they’ll conform…

 Potentially altering our brains in the future to ensure we and our children will be happy with this way of living…

 And we even have the reductionist psychological therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy to change those silly thoughts of ours that suggest unhappiness;

 Then eventually our kids won’t kill themselves.

 But they won’t really be alive either.

 We abhor suicide as we should.

 Yet isn’t suicide the result of that materialistic, mechanistic reductionist logical left brain approach or paradigm. If the machines broke throw it away.

 Nope. Suicide is not painless. Personally, I think it’s our souls screaming.

 It is neither our brain chemistry nor our brains structure that is at fault here.

 We need to rebalance.



4 thoughts on “Suicide is Not Painless

  1. US have a fair education system to allow all their students to have elementary school (primary school), junior high school (secondary school) and high school (junior college) education before university education.

    In Singapore, Primary school education has 6 grades. During my time in Singapore, they will judge you on Primary 4 (grade 4) & base on your result to enter different stream such as EM1, EM2 & EM3. The different is EM1 can have addition higher mother tongue subject while EM3 have a simple version subject call basic mother tongue & they are short change by one science subject for their Primary School Leaving Exams (PSLE) even if they are taught in school which will affect them to attend different stream in Secondary school or vocational institute.

    Vocational institute is for those who fail their PSLE and went on for their 4 years education learning rubbish just to get their ITE Skill Certificate (ISC) before they are allow entering Institute of Technical Education (ITE) for their National ITE Certificate (Nitec) course or force to enter workforce with normal/bad results.

    Secondary School (grade 7 to 10 or grade 7 to 10.2) has different 4 streams and one of them is Normal Technical (NT) stream which is similar to Vocational institute. Mostly those good EM3 students will go on for their 4 years education learning rubbish just to get their GCE N before they are thrown into Institute of Technical Education (ITE) for their National ITE Certificate (Nitec) course. The different is those who work hard will have the course of their choice while those who did not work hard can only chose the courses base on what subjects they have pass in GCE N.

    Another stream is Normal Academic (NA) stream which is for normal EM2 or top EM3 PSLE graduate. NA allows them to have 3 options. 1st option is to have a GCE N at Secondary 4 (grade 10.1) and follow by a GCE O at Secondary 5 (grade 10.2). 2nd option is to skip GCE N at Secondary 4 (grade 10.1) and take GCE O at Secondary 5 (grade 10.2). 3rd option is to have a GCE N at Secondary 4 (grade 10.1) & went to ITE for Higher Nitec course. Have you wonder why NA stream education system is so messy? The most funny part is both NA & NT are GCE N graduate but NA allow to go for Higher Nitec courses while NT only allow to go for Nitec courses.

    The other remaining 2 streams are Special and Express stream. Both having similar things like taking GCE O at Secondary 4 (grade 10) but only Special stream take 1 GCE O higher mother tongue subject at Secondary 3 (grade 9). GCE O allow graduate to enter post secondary school like ITE, Polytechnic (Poly) and Junior college (JC) education.

    Now we talk about post secondary school (US High School) education. They have ITE, Polytechnic (Poly) and Junior college (JC).

    ITE have 2 main courses for academic education which is Nitec and Higher Nitec. Each course is 2 years course.

    Nitec is for ISC, NT GCE N, lousy NA/Express GCE N/O results graduates to upgrade their education. Those who have good Nitec result can enter 3 years Poly education or 2nd year Higher Nitec education. Those who have a normal Nitec result will end up in 1st year Higher Nitec education. Those who have lousy result will force to enter workforce.

    Higher Nitec is for Nitec, NA GCE N, lousy NA/Express GCE O results graduates to upgrade their education. Those who have good Higher Nitec result can enter 2nd year Poly education while those who have a normal Higher Nitec result will end up in 1st year Poly education. Those who have lousy result will force to enter workforce.

    Poly is a 3 years course for Nitec/Higher Nitec/GCE O graduates and only good result Higher Nitec graduate allow them to enter 2 years course to get a Diploma.

    JC is a 2 years course for good result GCE O graduates to get a GCE A.

    Both Poly Diploma & JC GCE A allow them to enter university education if they have good results.

    MOE website does not have this details information to mislead users using the information.

    My question to you is it fair to judge you are the age of 10 (grade 4) and force you to have a rubbish education by entering EM3 just to shortchange you for PSLE to throw you into NT to get GCE N (grade 10) before throwing you again to ITE just to say hi to your peer who fail PSLE and get a ISC to become your Nitec classmate while your NA peer who get their GCE N (grade 10) went to Higher Nitec courses and your Express peer get a GCE O (grade 10) went to Poly/JC?

    Is this a fair system?

    For me, US have a fair and better education system compare to Singapore!

    This is one of the reasons why students committed Suicide when they have poor results and enter to the lousy stream.

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