» Archive for category: ‘death

posted by Roy Huijsmans

Volume 12 of the Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia is a themed issue on ‘The living and the dead‘. The volume contains five articles and five review essays on the topic including an article by Abdur Rozaki entitled ‘Suicide among Indonesian Children/Teenagers’ (freely downloadable in Bahasa Indonesia, English, Japanes and Thai).

The article starts with the worrying claim that ‘suicide among Indonesian children/teenagers is apparently increasing every year’. Although an important issue it is unclear whether this trend can be substantiated empirically as the author notes that ‘there is no specific national data regarding number of suicides’.

The main thrust of the article is trying to explain why Indonesian teenagers (which appears a more appropriate term than ‘children/teenagers’ used by the author) commit suicide, and why the prevalence appears higher in the Gunung Kidul regency (Yogyakarta) than elsewhere in Indonesia.

The conclusions leave one, however, with more questions than answers. The author concludes that ‘children [teenagers] are forced to face a complex reality beyond their emotion control and capacity to overcome certain life problems and when cornerned, they decide to choose “short cuts” to find solutions’, something, it is stressed, has increased because of the socio-political changes since 1998. This supposed relation between broad based socio-political changes and the particular condition of adolescence (based on an assumed limited capacity for ’emotion control’)┬áis hardly specific and questionable. Not in the least since it would apply to all Indonesian teenagers, thus still leaving readers with the question why the incidence of teenage suicide appears higher in certain parts of Indonesia than in others.


International Institute of Social Studies

ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment.