By: Dr Ang Yong Guan
Reflection on 14 year old Benjamin Lim who committed suicide on 26 January 2016 after he was arrested by 5 plainclothes policemen and interrogated for 3 hours: Policemen, like soldiers, take orders from their ground officers.
These ground leaders must have the right values like empathy and compassion whilst exercising authority at the same time. Exercising authority in an appropriate dose (not 100-0, or 99-1, etc, but say 51-49). How to do it?
Just visualise this: if Benjamin Lim were my son or brother or close friend, would I want 5 plainclothes policemen to go to his school? Would I interrogate him for 3 hours and regard this outraging of modesty of a 11 year old girl equal to that of a rape, a robbery or a murder?
Would I adopt a 100-0, top down approach or will I apply a 51-49 relationship where I am still in control (51) and exert authority with Benjamin (at 49 position) cooperating with me comfortably.
Have we been habitually taking cues from the top echelon in society (who are so used to adopt a 100-0, or 90-10 or even 80-20 approach) that we have forgotten about a more appropriate, humane, compassionate 51-49 approach?
Let us strive towards a more graceful society where relationship is more 51-49 or 50-50 (in the case of some equal relationship) than 100-0 or 99-1?
Finally, in another perhaps more genuinely democratic society, this topic will be hotly debated publicly over television, radio and newspaper so that lessons can quickly be learnt to prevent another such incident from happening.
Republished from Dr Ang Yong Guan’s Facebook page ‘Simplifying Psychiatry‘.
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