During times of crisis, people commit suicide. It’s unfortunate, but it happens.
When people commit suicide because the government fails to assist them, or because the bureaucratic system is unjust, this is also unfortunate. But it should not happen.
It’s the result of a broken system.
A 59-year-old female taxi driver drank rat poison in front of the Ministry of Finance.
The incidence took place on April 27. She was rushed to the hospital and treated. The reason she gave for the attempted suicide was economic hardship and rejection from the 5,000 baht government cash relief program.
Was her suicide attempt out of despair, or was it a form of protest?
There are a number of reasons that drive a person to commit suicide, as explained here, 15 common causes of suicide. All of which boils down to despair, the complete loss of hope.
The taxi driver’s attempt at suicide was out of despair. The choice of carrying out the act in front of the Finance Ministry was a form of protest.
A 19-year-old female security guard committed suicide.
Around one week before doing so, on April 22, she drew a portrait of General Prayut Chan-o-cha and wrote messages on her social media account.
“I drew this picture filled with emotions knowing I don’t have enough money to buy milk for my child. Everything is so expensive. I drew this with emotions, knowing I work 12 hours a day, but am left with nothing. I drew this with tears,”
“I feel like this government is very cruel and terrible. Do you see how people die because they have no way to go on? That they kill themselves because they have nothing left. They die because of this government.”
The act of suicide was out of the despair. Her social media messages, one week prior, were a protest.
A 46-year-old firefighter in Chiang Mai committed suicide.
The April 4 suicide was during the height of the Chiang Mai fire. He left a note, which his family gave permission for the media to publish in memory of his struggles.
“Being born humans, we all have different perspectives. It’s sad. We are right, but not right. We are correct, but not correct. This decision doesn’t have anything to do with personal conflicts. The bureaucracy is as it has always been. Nothing can be fixed…”
He went on to briefly describe the Thai patronage system.
His suicide was an act of despair. His note wasn’t a form of protest, because he did not publicize the content. It was his family’s choice after the fact.
A 49-year-old judge in Yala Province committed suicide.
The March 17 suicide was his second attempt. He was rushed from his home to the hospital where he later died from his wound. His first suicide attempt was on October 5 last year, at the provincial court house.
The judge made it clear from his first suicide attempt that it was in protest against “judicial interference.”
Suicide as a form of protest is debatable.
Is it counterproductive, as the person could perhaps achieve greater results if he or she continues to fight against injustice?
Is it productive, as it can be viewed as an act of self-sacrifice that could be a rallying cry to inspire others to fight against injustice?
One thing is for certain: Whether purely out of despair or also as a protest, it is Thailand’s broken system that has failed them.