Touted as one of the few other democratic countries in the world other than the United States, Taiwan is known for its distinctive culture which combines Chinese, Japanese and Western influences. Today, some rather unfortunate news came out of the country as a woman proceeded to take her own life by inhaling poisonous toxins, while simultaneously chatting with friends on Facebook. What could be even more disturbing about this incident? The fact that none of the people speaking to the woman through the social media site thought it was important to contact the police.
Claire Lin made the fateful decision that life was no longer worth living on her 31st birthday, March 18. When investigators looked at her computer, Lin’s last activity showed her chatting with nine friends and telling them all about how she was in the process of killing herself. In fact, a picture she uploaded to her page from her mobile phone clearly showed a charcoal barbecue burning next to two stuffed animals, while another snapshot showed the room Lin was chatting from rapidly being overtaken by fumes.
According to reports, a fellow Facebook (News - Alert) chatter named Chung Hsin said to Lin, “Be calm, open the window, put out the charcoal fire, please, I beg you,” which prompted Lin’s reply of, “The fumes are suffocating. They fill my eyes with tears. Don’t write me anymore.”
Although a small number of her Facebook friends pleaded with her to get some help, no one took the additional step of calling the police.
The last words Lin ever typed were: “Too late. My room is filled with fumes. I just posted another picture. Even while I’m dying, I still want FB (Facebook). Must be FB poison. Haha.”
Still uncertain why she pulled the plug on her young life, recent postings on Lin’s Facebook show she was extremely depressed due to a boyfriend ignoring her and not coming home with her on her birthday.
Chai Ben-rei, a sociologist at Taiwan’s Feng Chia University, said that this fateful exhibit highlights social isolation in the Internet age. “People may have doubts about what they see on the Internet because of its virtual nature, and fail to take action on it,” he commented.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin