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Death By Debt

Death By Debt

September 27, 2011

The deadly lemming effect of the recession in Sand City.

You know the economy is in recession when people start killing themselves.

In the Sand City there is a new pass time doing the rounds. This one involves killing off your family and then finally finding a way to finish yourself off.

As a mallu, suicide is nothing to new to us. We have been at it for a long time. When the government passed laws making killing yourself (or trying to do so) illegal, we just decided to drink ourselves to death. That kind of got our government approval since its a win win situation. The government makes money and we get to die happily drunk.

Of all the suicides that occur in the Sand City,
70% are Indian nationals.

Most have done themselves in due to financial liabilities. In the current economic climate where people are either losing jobs or having to accept pay cuts (or in some cases where no salaries have been paid to them for over 6 months) it makes living in this place a tad bit difficult. Most live a life here doing the tango with the banks on a financial tight rope. A shift in their income makes a tremendous difference to their life. An average person who comes here to work is literally a slave. He / she comes here to work their arse off for a lower salary than their western counterparts to pay off debts back home, to educate their children, to provide a comfortable life for their family back home. I guess its the same purpose as any expat who comes to work here. It can’t be the climate. They make a lot of personal sacrifices to ensure that their families back home live a good life.

But when caught up in the debt trap, life becomes a living hell for them. The threatening calls from the banks and other creditors, the looming chance of imprisonment, deportation, the humiliation and worse, the feeling of utter helplessness leads them to the only way they see as a way out. Opting out.

There are no moral judgments in this. I have listened to heated debates about their actions with clenched fists. How easy it is for us to sit and pretend to empathise. To argue that each of us would have taken different steps. Probably true. But imagine what goes through the minds of a father and mother who unable to see a way out kill their 8 year old daughter, covering her face with a sheet and then hang themselves. Imagine what makes a family do that? What can drive them to do that?

I don't know.

I do know that the world today is run on economics, which in my opinion makes civilization as we know it prone to the butterfly effect. That somehow cant be a good thing. It depends too much on having every component running smoothly. One hiccup too many and the whole thing will collapse in a domino effect.

And here the dominoes will be human lives.

Photo credit
: Sherman Geronimo-Tan 


    19.12.11 03:44 AM

    I understand the argument, but what I am saying is, killing is never justified in any case, because if you have not any mean to pay you can't pay. For example you took mortgage and you became jobless, you can't do any thing , therefore killing your self is fruitless and it's not justified.

    You can't see future, so you can't say you will live happy ever after, and don't forget we are from nation, where 90% of population in total live on day by day.

    I know a individual who went bankrupt and now he is millionaire, but if he had killed him self and his family, then he would be nobody except a murder who committed suicide. So you see my point.

    There is no love in killing, because if this is true, than it give our state right to kill us, when they think it is justified in their book. I am not saying it is greed but I am certain it is more to this than that. I am not passing any judgement, but killing your kids, because of your personal errors in life, is not love.

    I will give you another example, people in Japan did not kill their kids or any body else, when they lost every thing in tsunami, and many people loses everything everyday, and if they take this as another option and a last option then we will lose the concept of civilisation. You see what I saying.

    You and I are a part in creating this world, but we all control our own life and future, the way we live and make decision in this world. So blaming others for our action is not a solution. Killing is not love and is never justified in any circumstances, no matter how good the reason behind it is.

  • tys
    19.12.11 02:47 AM
    @harry : dont be so quick to judge...most of the expats that land up here are looking for a quick fix...this is not due to their greed but due to the prevalent way we run things..livelihood is now primarily dependent on world economy...

    fear of our children's future is something that as a parent we worry about...imagine a scenario of you being debt ridden...your cheques have bounced...the law of the country where you are states that you can be imprisoned...the residency of your wife and kids are dependent on your visa...which means that while you are inside, your wife and kids will have to fend for themselves in a foreign country...where your wife cannot hold a job because she does not have an employment visa and your children cannot get schooling..

    what do you do?

    its still love, harry...the motivation is still love...dont judge them ...we have not walked in their shoes..we cannot imagine the last thoughts in a parents head when they dont see any other solution than killing their child and ending their own..

    dont blame them...blame the world we have created...

    you and i are responsible...each and every one of us...but i guess when we make the bed, we have to lie in it..
    19.12.11 01:09 AM
    Hi TYS
    I did wanted to comment on this in past, but then decided to opt out of this, due to the subject matter. There are few questions that are bugging me, since I have read this article. Since I now know you better, so I will ask.

    Do you think, that people in the world have started to live beyond their mean?

    Because people in Indian don't have anything and they don't kill them self.

    The question is would I kill my self? and also in prosses end a life of a child or two of mine ? NOT IN A MILLION YEARS.

    I personally think, that this is a very selfish decision on the part of a perent, who does this. Money comes and goes, but this is not an answer to the problem.

    What is a worst thing that can happen to you, apart from losing everything that you own. Prety much nothing. They may jail you, but if you can't pay, you can't pay, and their is nothing much you can do, or for matter of fact neither can they.

    I think people have lost concept of cash, what it means to have it.
    They think plastic ( creddit card ) is god. When you believe in this all your life, and in end it demands sacrifice, this is when you will have to give at the end of the month when bill come throu.

    I was told of this demon ( creddit card ) prior to owning one, that it will demand the ultimate sacrifice, and the day I say no, the whole world will turn aginst me by a very wise individual. So I have learned my lesson early, and thank GOD I did.

    Every time we fell, we have got up in past, so why not now, and those who take easy option, or so called easy option, I don't have respect for them, because for their selfish reasion, they have taken innocent kids life, who had every right to live.

  • Stanley
    28.09.11 02:58 AM
    It is without a doubt a sad irony that people take the easy way out with the catchphrase of the day being "suicide". The author has surely validated his claims irrespective of the statistics associated with it. It is because our sheer hard work and blood that the so called sand city get its name, but to get recognition in that part of the world is as cruel as it can get. Everybody deserves a great future at the end of the day, that does not necessarily imply that we kill the family and ourselves. One does need to know that 'The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming' (quote from dark knight). We as expats represent a huge segement in the middleeast enough to probably overrun the nation, all we humbly ask is to give us the due respect and nothing more. We are resilient by force and not by nature.
  • Saurabh
    27.09.11 11:45 AM
    Statistics can be a bit misleading. 70% suicide by Indians also hides the fact that 60% of the population there is made up of Indians. Still, the point remains - financial troubles are the single biggest cause of suicides the world over.

    The best way to improve the situation is to impart financial education and help them with their finances.

    Teaching them how to handle their money is the best way to reduce the suicide rates.

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