Even Facebook can't save Alviss Kong. Real shame on his 'friends'!!

Just go to YouTube and search for "Alviss Kong", you'll find a lot of tribute video clips. Pity it won't do nothing to bring him back. It's too late, but what his father said just strikes me to be the real words of wisdom: "Why didn't he think about his family as much as he did for a girl he only knew for four months?"

How true. It's not easy to move on, I'd be the first to admit. But to have an easy way out to do so, it's just sad.

"Goodbye, my friend, goodbye My love, you are in my heart."

Russian poet Sergei Esenin wrote this suicide note in his own blood and passed it to his friend the day before he hanged himself.

That was in 1925; imagine what he would have done if he had killed himself today.

When Alviss Kong, 22-year-old from Malaysia, decided to take his life after his girlfriend of four months left him last week, he posted a farewell status on his Facebook page together with a teary photo of himself.

The status at 11.15pm read "Count Down For 45 Mins...What should I do in this 45 mins?"

In the ensuing minutes, up to 204 Facebook members "liked" his suicidal status post on his Facebook wall, but no one stopped him or alerted his family on his suicidal intentions.

Only his sister Chelvin Kong, 28, reportedly tried to talk him out of the suicide, but Alviss assured her that he was joking.

A few hours later, his body was found sprawled on a car, fallen from the 14th floor of his apartment building in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

This tragic tale has been getting a lot of media coverage especially in the Chinese press, begging the question -- what do you do when someone tells you that he or she wants to commit suicide?

Student Ariel Yong*, 17, believes that many thought that Alviss' message was a prank and simply played along.

"Sometimes when my friend and I wait for the LRT train, we make stupid jokes about throwing ourselves in front of the train. But we know it's just a joke. I suppose on Facebook, it is difficult to know what somebody really means unless you are also friends outside."

She feels this shows the significance of "friend" or "community" on Facebook: "Most are not real friends. My real friends would really know if I am joking or serious or if I am depressed or happy."

International survey firm TNS last month reported that Malaysians had the most "friends" on Facebook and spent nine hours a day on average surfing the site of more than 500 million members.

Real friends or not, Kim Chua*, 19, hopes Alviss got some comfort from those who responded to his wall posting.

"They may not be his real friends or close friends, but no one wants to die alone," she says.

The psychology student says studies show that an estimated 12--20% of suicides are accompanied by a note and people write it to ease their pain, not as a cry for help.

Paul Jambunathan, consultant clinical psychologist at Monash University Malaysia and Sunway Medical Centre describes those who "liked" Alviss' Facebook status as "emotional voyeurs".

"People love to hear about what is happening to others and how they are suffering," he says, linking it to the trends in today's popular culture.

"This culture includes suicide as an option to past history within the family or significant others, movies, lyrics and media sensationalism. They all have an effect that makes suicide an option when really it should never be," he says.

But ultimately, no one can be blamed for Alviss' death except himself. It was irresponsible of Alviss to put up the posting on Facebook, says Jambunathan.

"He expected society to be responsible for him. He killed himself because he was depressed, and became helpless and hopeless. It is unfair to pin this on the girl when the only person responsible is himself, his choices in life and the kind of friends he kept."

Jambunathan believes that Alviss might not have jumped if there was any inkling of help or hope.

Consultant psychologist Valerie Jacques agrees that Alviss was deeply depressed and put his hopes in the relationship to make him happier.

"Nothing external will make a person happier when they are depressed from deep inside," she says.

What is clear -- and somewhat comforting -- is the notion that love and the way people deal with its ups and downs have not changed over time.

Jambunathan concurs, saying that les affaires du coeur (affairs of the heart) have been known to drive men to "madness."

He explains that very deep-level emotions are involved from even the early stages of love such as infatuation right to the latter stages of mantaining a functional relationship.

"How angry are you when you are hitting on a girl you have just met, and someone else is doing the same? (Love) evokes and stimulates the very basic and deep-rooted issues in people.

"These emotions lead to aggressive behaviour that can lead people to harming others or themselves," he says.

This is probably why people act uncharacteristically when love is the core issue at stake. As they say, "love makes the world go round" or on the opposite end "love hurts."

Jambunathan points out that while suicide seems to be an extreme option, others regularly indulge in self-destructive behaviour because of failures in their relationships. The "broken-hearted" might turn to alcohol to try and forget their relationship or sleep around to make themselves feel better, he adds.

Julia*, 30, remembers when she drove to see her then boyfriend after they had a fight over the phone. She was at a party and had been drinking a lot.

In any other circumstance, she wouldn't have driven but at that moment she really had to see her boyfriend.

"I had many near misses on the road. I almost drove off a bridge but in the end I arrived at my destination. It was a very stupid thing to do," she recalls.

She says that while career and financial issues are important, they are not as important as her romantic relationships.

Nazmi Johan*, 35, says that even tough-looking males can be "over-sensitive" when their relationships fail.

"It's quite funny to see a grown man cry because of a girl but it happens," he says.

"Love is the biggest seller. In almost every movie, there is always some sort of love element. People always believe that there is someone out there made for them and they will live happily ever after," he muses.

Gregory Tan* who has been "dumped" a couple of times admits that he felt lost and turned to alcohol when his heart was broken.

"When that "one" person rejects you, it's as if the whole world is rejecting you," says Tan.

These days, he tries to be more philosophical about things. "I try to take an 'everything happens for a reason' attitude. When I fail at a relationship, I would say to myself that I would find someone more compatible," he says.

Jacques believes love, not relationships, is a big reason why people consider suicide. In Alviss's case, she believes that the root problem was that he did not feel loved.

"Even though his family love him dearly, he had a deep belief that no one loved him and so he was not lovable. So, any external sign of rejection or break up can trigger bad feelings," she says.

*Not their real names

From Yahoo! Fit to Post, "FEATURE: Heartbreak in Facebook world".

'GOODBYE, my friend, goodbye My love, you are in my heart.' Russian poet Sergei Esenin wrote this suicide note in his own blood and passed it to his friend the day before he hanged himself.

When Alviss Kong, 22, decided to take his life after his girlfriend of four months left him last week, he posted a farewell status on his Facebook page together with a teary photo of himself.

The status at 11.15pm read 'Count Down For 45 Mins...What should I do in this 45 mins?'

In the ensuing minutes, up to 204 Facebook members 'liked' his suicidal status post on his Facebook wall, but no one stopped him or alerted his family on his suicidal intentions. A few hours later, his body was found sprawled on a car, fallen from the 14th floor of his apartment building in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

Paul Jambunathan, consultant clinical psychologist at Monash University Malaysia and Sunway Medical Centre describes those who 'liked' Alviss' Facebook status as 'emotional voyeurs'. 'People love to hear about what is happening to others and how they are suffering,' he says, linking it to the trends in today's popular culture.

'This culture includes suicide as an option to past history within the family or significant others, movies, lyrics and media sensationalism. They all have an effect that makes suicide an option when really it should never be,' he says.

From Straits Times, "Heartbreak in FB world".

“It was the first and the last time he said he loved me in 22 years of knowing him. And now, he’s gone,” sobbed air stewardess, Chelvin Kong, 28, recalling her last conversation with her brother.

He committed suicide in the wee hours of Wednesday last week. Stating she and her brother, Alviss, 22, had drifted apart since she moved to Brunei after getting married and joining the Royal Brunei Airlines some nine years ago, they still stayed in touch via Facebook.

"I would check his status updates on Facebook before going to bed and we would tease and exchange comments with each other," Chelvin told The Malay Mail.

She became concerned when she saw Alviss' status at 11.15pm on Tuesday, stating there was a 45-minute countdown to the end of his life.

“At first, I thought he was joking," said Chelvin. "What freaked me out was him asking me to take care of the family, especially my mum.”

Taken aback by Alviss' comments, Chelvin said: “Never once had he expressed such mushy words in all the years I had known him.”

Chelvin then tried to call her brother about 1.30am.

When she did not get a response, she contacted her father to check on Alviss. Her father told her Alviss was at his usual mamak spot near their apartment, having a drink with his friends.

Chelvin then persuaded her father to go to the mamak stall and call her from there.

“I spoke to Alviss when my father passed the phone to him. When I scolded him for not answering his handphone, his excuse was he had not heard it ringing. He told me the Facebook comments were just a joke and that he was pulling a prank on his friends.

”During the call, Chelvin said he assured her everything was fine and told her to go to sleep. Reassured, Chelvin called it a night. Thus, she was shocked to get a call from her father later at 3.30am telling her Alviss had jumped off the 14th floor of the apartment building.

“I heard a loud noise and when I looked down from the veranda. It was Alviss lying covered in blood on a car at the ground floor," he had told her.

It is learnt Alviss had been emotionally istressed over a recent breakup with his girlfriend.

Chelvin said she knew about her brother's relationship and learnt the couple had split from his Facebook relationship status update.

It is learnt Alviss and his ex-girlfriend were together for four months. Both had been blogging about the end of the relationship.

In a farewell note on his Facebook profile page, Alviss posted one last picture of himself tearing up. Alviss' father, a taxi driver, was disappointed at not being informed his son had been harbouring suicidal thoughts.

Declining to be named, the 60-year-old said he learnt only later that Alviss had confided to his friends about his heartbreak.

He felt they should have alerted a family member, whether or not it was a prank.

"I was there at the mamak stall with Alviss. His friends could have alerted me then about the comments and his conversations with them."

He denied barring the ex-girlfriend from visiting his son's body last Thursday.

“I'm not angry with his ex-girlfriend. She can come and pay her respects if she wants.”

Noting Alviss had introduced the woman as his girlfriend a few months back, he said: "Why didn't he think about his family as much as he did for a girl he only knew for four months?"

Meanwhile, Alviss' mother had yet to be informed of his death as she is reportedly emotionally weak and the family was waiting for the right time to break the news.

She is currently in Brunei to help care for Chelvin’s newborn daughter and is still under the impression the couple had rushed to KL on an urgent work matter.

Mutual friends of the ex-couple were seen outside the funeral parlour at Jirat Kwong Tong here on Friday night.

“We are all here to show support when his ex-girlfriend arrives. To us, no one is to be blamed here. We don’t want reporters to question her about anything," said one of the friends at the wake.

“Speculation from family, friends and the media stating his ex-girlfriend is the cause of the suicide should end. What has happened was just a breakup, common among youngsters these days," said another friend.

From Malay Mail, "45-minute suicide countdown on Facebook".

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