Living in a mad, mad world
TWO years ago, a man fell to his death from the 10th floor of the office block opposite ours. It was lunchtime and a crowd soon filled the sidewalk, gawking. Someone kindly covered him with a newspaper.
His wife and daughters were grief-stricken.
When someone falls to his death, it is not the person's failure in life. It is society’s failure to listen to him.
In an ideal world, everyone should have a handful of people they can trust to unburden to. And these confidantes should not feel that their friends' problems are a burden.
At Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), patients seeking psychiatric help fill the waiting room. Other patients shun them. Once in a while, one will bolt screaming. And other patients will exchange silent looks that say: “Orang gila (mad person).”
This is the stigma when society does not know how to cope with someone who has fallen from its “norm.”
Who is to say really that the unkempt guy with bedraggled locks wandering on the flyover is not the sane one, shouting at society with his fist in the air. In his own world, he might have a valid point.
Remember the politically incorrect joke about escaping from Tanjung Rambutan or Tampoi – the two towns that house mental hospitals?
Experts say that for every known case, many more are cloaked in silence for fear of the stigma of having a “psychiatric disorder.”