I would like to highlight a viral message regarding the recent Lawas incident that has been circulating on social media.
While it is understandable that the incident has drawn a lot of interest due to the fact that the woman managed to escape detection while driving cross-border, the identity of the person should not made public, let alone gone viral.
The fact that the message included a photo of the woman’s identity card is simply unacceptable. How would you feel if your face and name were leaked onto an arena as public as social media? How would you be able to cope in the next few weeks, months or years, knowing everywhere you go, someone is watching and making judgement on you?
Another piece of information that did emerge from the viral message was the soundness of the woman at the time of the incident. It was alleged that she has been a long-term sufferer of depression, a fact that should draw more compassion and understanding instead of ridicule and public shaming.
As a nation working to raise awareness on mental health, the authorities should seize the opportunity to bring to attention the consequences of depression and other mental struggles. We as Bruneians should not jump to conclusions based on the action made; we should instead question the reason behind such a desperate act and how we can help to prevent similarly desperate acts from happening again in the future.
I would like to believe that Bruneians are generally conscientious and kind-hearted. But the ‘Lawas woman’ viral message makes me wonder if a lot of us are in fact petty and shallow. While it would be nice to count on the population to do the right thing, at times it is necessary to call on the authorities to step in and keep people in line. And this viral message is one of them.