Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 3: Did Police Pull the Trigger on the Teen’s Fatal Leap?

Posted on Mar 3 2016 - 5:04pm by Redwire Singapore

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This story is part 3 of a 5 part series on the Death of Benjamin Lim. Read more:

Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 1: The Cold, Hard, Emotionless Facts
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 2: Making Sense of a Life Lost and Loss of Innocence
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 3: Did Police Pull the Trigger on the Teen’s Fatal Leap?
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 4: The Importance of a Fourth Estate in Singapore
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 5: Whose Side are You On?

HAROLD CHAI: The death of a child is a devastating blow for any parent. Suicide makes the pain all the worse, because there’s no person to blame. There’s no outlet to unleash the pain.

In this case of Benjamin Lim, the police will have to bear the anger of a baying public because besides officers, the only other people he had come into contact with before making that last leap were his family.

But suicide doesn’t occur due to a single-event. Rather it’s a two-stage factor where there is a build-up of emotional pain over time, and a trigger which eventually tips someone over the edge. The Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) has warned the public to look out for such signs because it sees the worrying trend of more teens taking their lives every year.

In the case of Benjamin Lim, the trigger could have been the police – the way he was handled, the shame he felt having his mother and sister post bail for him, and the greater shame of being accused of as sexual crime. If it’s hard for an adult to swallow their pride and anxiety over such accusations and circumstances, what more a child?

As for what forms suicide triggers can take, this is what the UK’s National Health Service has to say about a suicide trigger:

“A stressful event may push a person “over the edge”, leading to suicidal thinking and behaviour. It may only take a minor event, such as having an argument with a partner. Or it may take one or more stressful or upsetting events before a person feels suicidal, such as the break-up of a significant relationship, a partner dying or being diagnosed with a terminal illness.”

The interrogation could have been the catalyst for Lim’s suicide, but there must have been some underlying pain haunting the boy – 14 years old, a National Police Cadet Corp member, a student, and a worker at MacDonald’s. And it must have been a pain that’s been suppressed for some time now – the SOS says that those whom it has saved say they usually bottle up such feelings until they boil over.

What are the common build-up factors? The SOS says these include, stress with studies or work, financial worries, family life, struggles with social interactions and feelings of loneliness.

That’s what I’m concerned with – the build-up. In our rush to blame the police, the family, or the “lying” 11-year-old girl, what we’ve missed is a boy who was likely in mental anguish for some time now. And that pain was likely missed by those around him too.

Let the government bodies review their procedures now, and give the public a satisfactory answer in due course. But for now, I’d think it’s more important we pay more attention to our own children than this incident which is done and dusted. In our quest for blood, we mustn’t forget that there are other vulnerable young people reaching out for our care and love.

This story is part 3 of a 5 part series on the Death of Benjamin Lim. Read more:

Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 1: The Cold, Hard, Emotionless Facts
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 2: Making Sense of a Life Lost and Loss of Innocence
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 3: Did Police Pull the Trigger on the Teen’s Fatal Leap?
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 4: The Importance of a Fourth Estate in Singapore
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 5: Whose Side are You On?

 

 

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