The NTU Stabbing & Suicide

March 15, 2009 at 21:04 Leave a comment

I was just talking to a church friend who’s at Nanyang Technological University, and the subject of the stabbing-suicide came up. This was something that happened about two weeks ago. An Indonesian Engineering student, David Widjaja, was believed to have stabbed a tutor, Professor Chan Kap Luk, before dying from a five-storey fall. Needless to say, news flew and rumours abounded. I read that David had been an excellent student, but started getting poor grades and had had his scholarship revoked months before graduation, and that he’d been negotiating with Prof Chan for a passing mark on his final-year project, to no avail. 

I hear that NTU’s response to this event centres around marshalling its counsellors to help distressed, unfortunate students before their emotions compel them to do the unthinkable again.

At the risk of sounding like an uncompassionate bastard, I think that people need to take responsibility for their own actions. I think that it is sick to put the blame on psychiatric illnesses and other people, and revere the wrongdoer as a victim of circumstance. We seem to live in a culture that assigns the fault to everyone else. It’s the other driver’s fault that we crashed our car. It’s our mother’s fault that our characters are rotten. It’s our doctor’s fault for not predicting our actions. Other people were imperfect and let us down; it had nothing whatsoever to do with our own decisions and actions, oh no.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to feel sorry for David. He must have been under enormous stress, and probably would not have done what he did if not for some severe provocation. If it had been me in his shoes, I might have done the same thing. I cannot begin to imagine the pain his family must be going through. It is not my place to judge him. I simply do not know. But I do have my thoughts on the repercussions of his actions.

I do not think that the answer lies in giving the university counsellors extra work. There must be thousands of students on campus; surely the idea cannot be to have the counsellors approach each one asking, “How are you? Are you under stress? Do you have any homicidal or suicidal urges? Would you mind signing on this paper saying that you were OK when you talked to me, so that if anything happens, it will not be my fault?”.

Of course there should be work done to promote awareness and increase capability of the counselling system, but it seems to me that the onus still lies on the individual to seek help if it is needed.

If we could be cheerful, optimistic and hopeful all the time, then such things would probably never happen. But if God had wanted us to be that way, He would have installed a Prozac infusion pump in our brains from the start. Instead, in His wisdom, He gave us a range of emotions and the power of choice, as well as conscience and intelligence, family and friends to help us along. We don’t always choose wisely, but wrong is still wrong. What’s our problem with admitting something as simple as having made a mistake? Why do we enjoy labelling ourselves as victims and pointing the finger at someone else? It’s weak and pathetic.

Yet, it is part of the beauty of human nature that we live and learn. I think I’ve grown different from the whiny, manipulative brat I was in my adolescence, and there are still lessons aplenty to come, if only I can reap what God would like me to. Things have the potential to get saner and better. If they don’t, there’s always Heaven to look forward to.

Entry filed under: The Manx's Take. Tags: , .

Dear Saturday The University Streakers

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Welcome to my blog!

My blog-name is Katie but I will not respond if you call me that in real life because it's not my real name. Yes, I do practise virtual-world paranoia. No, I do not enjoy stalkers. But I do enjoy writing and having folks reading said writing, so welcome to my world. It's nice to meet you.

Playing in my head over and over again argh

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce)

Book(s) of the moment

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Books read in 2010 and 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - 'cos the movie's coming out!
Frankenstein: Lost Souls (Dean Koontz) - ah, bugger, it's part of a series! Now I hafta find all the books...
Dismantled (Jennifer McMahon) - oh, good one
Tigerlily's Orchids (Ruth Rendell)
Shutter Island (Dennis LeHane) - reminds me too much of work
Holy Fools (Joanne Harris) - it's official: I prefer her scary books
A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Beatrice Letters (Lemony Snicket)
The Little Friend (Donna Tartt)
The main books - 11 so far - of the Southern Vampire series; the Aurora Teagarden series except for A Fool & His Honey - that makes it 7; Sweet & Deadly (Charlaine Harris)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
Room: A Novel (Emma Donaghue)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The Bachman Books (Stephen King)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
The Sandman, Vol 1 (Neil Gaiman)
The Burden (Agatha Christie) - her crime novels are waaay better
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)

Visit my photoblog!

I started my first photoblog on 3 May, 2009. Each post features one picture, with a little story of how it came about. Do take a look by clicking on: Manx Pictures
March 2009
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Delicious Bookmarks


Don’t say I didn’t say this…

Disclaimers: 1) I cannot help but bitch about work sometimes, but everything here comes under the realm of personal remarks, and nothing here is said in my professional capacity. Nor does anything here reflect the opinion of the institutions that employ me. This is just me shooting off. 2) Most identities have been anonymized, particularly those of folks I know on a personal basis. Same goes for my workplaces. However, commercial and public places and figures remain named. Otherwise some things just wouldn't make sense. 3) Links and sources have been provided where appropriate and possible. They are not meant to challenge anyone's ownership. If this causes any discomfort or offence, please let me know.


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