Are our media insensitive or are the public sado-machosist?

Last night I got so disturbed watching the dead body of little girl in her swimming suit on TV. Sprawled face down on the sand, with her limbs and head in an awkward position. This morning, I saw an extremely distraught photo of a father. All these are too hard for me to stomach.

It makes me wonder? Why do all the local media have to show these scenes? This is especially worst in the vernacular papers like those cheapo Chinese papers who earn money out of people’s tragedies and airing some dead people dirty laundries (most times are mere speculations) to sell more papers. I hate them to the very core. I am ashamed of my fellow Chineses (and Malays and Indians, Malaysians to be exact). Why do we gloat like that? Why?

Possibly we have became very cosy in our own little, protected world that we do not know the meaning of grief and tragedy. We need gory images to assault our senses before we can get the meaning of the real situation.

I had witnessed so often how people would gather together to read some news and then, added in their own theories. All the juicy gossips and wild imaginations. It happened to me twice. Once, my mother-in-law’s house was burnt down. The whole row of 5-6 houses were burnt to the ground. People care very little about all the homeless. People were more interested to know about the background of the two neighbours burnt to death. The damn, blardy cheapo Chinese papers dug out the two women’s past. They were from juvenile homes, the two women were actually living with the married man etc etc. The paper did not interviewed the homeless but focus on the funeral of the two women. Speculating why no one turned up at their funeral etc etc.

Then, another close relative of mine, a young adult committed suicide. Fact : she had depression which was not noticeable by family and friends. Chinese news report – UPM hostel where she stayed already had previous deaths. Room may be haunted. Family may have pressured her to death. Photos of her suicide note, her distraught parents appeared in the papers. Before her body had reached Penang from Skudai, the people gathered at her home were already pointing fingers at green face datuk-kong (ha ha ha) monster, bad fengshui at their family home, mother nagged too much, competition from siblings too heavy to bear and so many other things. These supposedly good neighbours and relatives were sitting there pointing fingers and enjoying the latest ‘news’.

I was disgusted beyond words. Real disgusted. The media had fanned and encouraged the Chinese community to continue believing in the 3rd dimension. Datuk Kong, dirty spirits, wrong fengshui, bad pat chee and all kind of shits. It may be fun for others to speculate. But how do the family feel? My 60+yrs old sister-in-law had to suffer the loss of her grandaughter. Do you think it is amusing for her to choose whether it is datuk kong, fengshui or knocking into a black dog that caused her suicide? Until today, the poor bereaved mother of the girl is still in an abyss, wondering if it is bad karma, god’s punishment, datuk kong, green face monster that took her daughter’s life away?

Sure, I did try to talk and reason. I know a bit about depression after knowing someone else who died of paraquat poisoning. But would they listen to me? I am but a person. The papers said it all. Who would they believe? Me? Definitely no. The papers. The stupid, irresponsible, sadist news editors who only have money in mind. They do not care about the truth. They only care about selling more papers.

Sorry for being so geram. But I just read the name list of victims and there are so many children who died. Children who are the same age as my own kids. I found the link from Jeff Ooi’s blog which he got from Bernama. And to echo Jeff’s word – salute to Soo Ewe Jin and team of The Star Online for the reports online.

So, my fellow Malaysians, please do your bit. Tell your mom, grandma, ah soh, makcik, ah chee, Ah Lian and Ah Beng friends, neighbours, colleagues and everyone to boycott the bad media. Let them close shop. They dish up nothing but shits. They are idiots who focus on the wrong thing all the time. And the better media, please do not keep on repeating the same scene again and again. Don’t follow CNN footsteps. Watching a dead body once is enough. Showing it again and again is cruel.

Update at noon : TV3 interviewed this man who lost all his 4 children and his wife. The poor man is in a state of shock, he is sobbing and he is on national TV. Wow! Instant celebrity. It is sad how little our public knows about dealing with grieving parties. The man is obviously numbed at this stage. He is not aware that all the media are abusing his privacy. And all of us are watching TV like some Kisah Benar (a true stories) series.

I had been there before. Intense grief made us leave our own inner self. I remembered sitting by the cot of my just demised son, giving comforting words to the doctors in UMMC and also giving a cool report to another doctor in Penang on my handphone. (I forgot that it should be the other way round.) We are usually insulated from the real pain in the initial stages and therefore, it is certainly obsence when the media abused this weakness of the grieving party.