More Indians than the rest of the other races are taking their lives in Singapore, in terms of absolute population ratios.
The population of Indians in Singapore is just 11% and yet some 17% of them were reported to have killed themselves, data from the Samaritans Association of Singapore (SOS) showed. Chinese figures held steady at 75% in the national population matrix. And the Malays recorded the least number of suicides at just 3% vis-à-vis population percentage numbers.
As startling was the incidence of female suicides. More women than men killed themselves in 2015, at 138 compared to 2014’s numbers of 123. The highest recorded number of female suicides was in 2012 when some 169 of them took their lives.
The figures for Singapore’s Indian community also mirror the lot of their Indian brethren in Malaysia.
“The suicide rate among youths was 1.03 per 100,000 population in 2009, accounting for the male gender (66.0 percent), with Indians being the highest suicide completers (40.4 percent and 5.6 per 100,000 population),” the Business Standard said, quoting a study published in the Asia-Pacific Psychiatry journal in September 2015.
“The most common method of suicide was hanging (56.6 percent) followed by self-poisoning (15.1 percent),” Malaysiandigest.com news portal reported, citing the study.
Prof Dr T Maniam of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Psychiatric Department felt Malaysian Indians resorted to suicide because of their “socio-economic condition, alcoholism, unemployment, high dropout rate from schools and their attitude towards life. We (meaning Malaysian society) have to reinforce to the community that the Indian culture does not condone suicide. We also have to create awareness that religion too does not allow such acts,” Bernama quoted him as saying.
The chilling figures for the Indian community in both nations will now compel social scientists to grapple over the deeply vexing issue of life and death and formulate solutions to stem the slipping slope to death, ruin and social dislocation.
In an incident known to The Independent a middle-aged Indian man who after being driven to desperation over money woes took his life in 2013. And this was not before the deceased felt a deep loss of self-worth and dejection on the heels of constant taunting from his wife.