A 14 year old girl is dead and our puritanical society reacts predictably, with bans imposed on mobile phones in schools and a handful of holier than thou hypocrites lashing out against movies, media, advertising, music and western culture etc.
Why blame the mobile phone when it could have been anything? A colleague of mine once attempted suicide because her examination results did not meet parental expectations and she could not bear to face their anger. If she died, would they have banned A/L exams?
Also, why hasn’t anyone blamed the principal, the parents or whichever social norm that instilled so much fear in her, she chose suicide over being confronted?
How much evil can a 14 year old girl generate with a phone? Access porn? Indulge in phone sex? Engage in sordid crimes?
Chances are she merely used the mobile phone to keep in touch with her boyfriend.
But still she felt that her school and her parents could inflict upon her a fate worse than death. Disciplinary actions threatened by her school and the consequential wrath of parents drove her to extreme heights of terror.
Maybe it’s hard for most people to understand that kind of apprehension, but I know it all too well. I have contemplated the same for much less.
My father ruled with an iron fist and didn’t care to spare the rod. I remember wanting to run away from home when I lost an expensive racquet. At the end of term, I used to wander around in school, too afraid to go home with my report card if my position fell below 3rd in the class. But the worst was anything boy-related. I distinctly remember looking around the house, wishing for ways to die when my father obtained a detailed phone bill and found out that I had spent hours on the phone at night, talking to a boy which was absolute taboo. Fortunately I had more grit and sanity prevailed. I was 15 then and it wasn’t the last time I felt that way. In the face of expulsion from school I know I could have done the same.
You might say that it was cowardice on my part, but it wasn’t. I was small, scared and knew perfectly well that my father was capable of making good on his threats. He was no monster, just an exceptionally strict parent who’s bark was a lot worse than his bite. But the fear he had drilled in to me was so great that I would never expect him to understand, accept or forgive.
The feeling of panic that engulfs you at that moment of getting caught erases all capacity for rational thought. You believe the worst will happen and frantically seek means of escape. Every threat that has been directed at you becomes real and magnified out of proportion. It’s not really surprising that death becomes an option.
Had the parents been more approachable and the school not so crude in their method of enforcing discipline, maybe she wouldn’t have resorted to such drastic measures.
Sadly, our self-righteous authorities still keep ranting away about mobile phones and porn, when instead they need to focus on the real social evil which is the lack of understanding between parents and children. Perhaps it’s more convenient to blame technology and western culture rather than admit that sometimes the roots of evil may lie within the so called sacred units of family and school.