Bedok Reservoir deaths: media should cease such reports

A friend said to me the other day in a tone heavy with sadness, “You know another case at Bedok Reservoir?” Thanks to the media, everyone in Singapore  knows what Bedok Reservoir is now associated with.

The media in Singapore seem to have a fetish for such stories with an eye to their sales figures no doubt. Their reports are now more restrained than in the 70s when such cases provoked runaway sensationalism in the media then. And then as now it led to copycat  incidents.

How reports of the deaths in the reservoir is of public interest I fail to comprehend. Reports of dengue clusters, loan-sharking activities, street-walkers for instance we can understand under the banner of “public interest”. Bizarrely, some people seem to harbor a morbid interest in cases of unnatural deaths. 

That reports of deaths in Bedok Reservoir have led to copycat tragedies is crystal clear, and the media should bear part of the blame. It should exercise greater responsibility in refraining from publicising such cases for really it serves no purpose at all except to encourage those on the brink of taking their lives to take that final fatal step.

If you need further evidence, reports of people falling onto MRT tracks and killed by a train prompted more of such copycat actions. Saddened by this, I wrote to the authorities to express my concern but unfortunately they saw no  merit in my complaint.

The government should now say enough is enough. Those who have an academic interest in such unnatural deaths can always get the facts and figures from the relevant government department anyway. 

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11 Responses to “Bedok Reservoir deaths: media should cease such reports”

  1. […] Suicide Club – SpotlightOnSingapore: Bedok Reservoir deaths: media should cease such reports – TOC: Bedok Reservoir deaths – are we missing the bigger […]

  2. Media should report such incidence. Increasing suicide rate could reveal that our society has done something wrongly. Stopping the media from reporting is a superficial reaction to suicide. What’s good if the media only report pleasant news? Moreover, we shouldn’t jump into the conclusion that people are committing suicide BECAUSE of copycat mentality.

  3. Don’t really agree with you. I don’t think the media publishes stories like that because there is a morbid fascination with people regularly dying at Bedok Reservoir. It is genuinely newsworthy that bodies are found there regularly because since not all of the deaths have been attributed to suicide, it has now become a public safety issue. There is a possibility that some of those found could have been murdered, or it could be that someone is dumping bodies there. Whatever it is, no one knows yet but at the meantime, it is reason enough to make people aware of this string of coincidences.
    I also can’t understand your logic that this would lead to copycat acts. Does reading a story like that make YOU want to drown yourself there? Of course you say you have no wish to kill yourself. Which leads to the next point – if someone wants to commit suicide, not telling the person that Bedok Reservoir is the place to die isn’t going to convince the person not to commit suicide in the first place. There are a lot of other ways a person can take his or her own life.
    The bigger question we all should be asking is not whether the media should be reporting on things like that or not, but rather, is the suicide rate going up? And if so, why?

  4. I agree with Ed.. the public has the right to know, and there is no stopping a person who has already made up his/her mind to commit suicide unless someone is physically there to intervene. In addition, more safety and security measures should be taken by the relevant authorities to ensure the reservoir doesn’t become an even more popular suicide or dead body dumping place. Suicides and murders are on the rise here, and it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to look into this and honestly report to us, the public, as to why this is happening now.

  5. Disagree, don’t think gahmen should get involved with the press.

  6. When press dun report it… people accuse that the gahmen is hiding something, when press report it, people accuse media of bad influence…

  7. Are you a propoerty agent trying to market properties around Bedok Reservoir?

  8. Just as barricades have been placed at MRT platforms to prevent people from falling or committing suicide, some kind of barrier or fence should be placed around reservoirs.. Come on lah, this is our drinking water.. its precious.. Water Dept and NEA should act on it, and not wait for more suicides and dead bodies to appear before acting.. aiyoooo!! Money clever to make, but safety and security of the people, they don’t care!!

  9. It is not because the press reported on the Bedok Reservoir deaths that other people decided to kill themselves. It may have contributed to how they did, but if people want to kill themselves, they will find a way, whether a “new” kind of suicide is reported in the press or not. The public has the right to know about these deaths rather than go on blissfully ignorant and thinking that Singapore is a perfect place with low crime rates and low suicide rates. People have to be aware of the changing realities in the country. If kept under the rug how will anyone do anything about it??

  10. Mass Media have the massive influencing power.
    To report bad and good news are both importants. You have to strike a balance.
    Bad news you have to report but not emphased, not putting 3-4 full pages just to report a suicide incident.
    Good news, like the good deeds our citizents done, our good samaritan have done.
    People or student who are poor but with the helps of the society, and personal hardworks, that finally make a different in their life, these positive news, you should continuously report them in big proportion of our medias.
    Media corps are making the changes by producing the charity related projects. This is something news paper and news production need to learned from.
    The more you report, the more awareness the society will tend to lean towards.
    Report violence, more violence will results, same thing happened previously in the MRT suicide cases.
    We heop media take the responsibility to mould the society towards a better living, not towards a worst and miserable life.

  11. A more important question should be, why more and more people do not find a way out of their situation, their so call miserable life, and have to commit suicide?
    Have you asked yourself whats wrong with our society?
    If someone already made up their mind of committing suicide, do you think barracet can stop them? If not MRT or Reservouir, then HDB or Sleeping pills.
    How we can let everyone have a sense that we are not lost in hopes, not a cold society but a place with compassions and willing to accept everyone in anywhere. We are the key. Changes starts from our hearts not from gahment, news paper or medias. But each one of us.


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