It must have been around 3:30pm yesterday when one of my staff, Edward, came to my door to say that someone's about to jump from a nearby building. There was already a commotion on the other side of the general office where we had a window with a clear view of the poor fellow. I rushed to the window, and true enough, there he was, a bald-headed old man, standing on the ledge of Wisma Jubilee, which is just a stone's throw away from our Menara MBf.
I don't know what's his problem, this guy—maybe he lost heavily in Gin Rummy or Chap Gee Kee over the Chinese New Year holidays; maybe he lost his winning ticket for a lotto 6/49 jackpot; or maybe his wife has been depriving him of sex for far too long, and he's just so tired of having sex with himself. But, well, he decided to bid adieu from the 11th floor of Wisma Jubilee.
Of course within no time at all, the crowd of onlookers was quickly building up on the ground. I mean, it's not always one gets to see such a real-life scene. As the drama unfolded, a good samaritan was seen at a closeby window, apparently trying to pacify the fellow. Maybe he was telling him that the winning lotto ticket was not worth it (It's worth only a few million bucks; it's just money, you see); maybe he was telling him that the wife was not worth it, because she's fit to be The Biggest Loser participant. But anyway, the fellow on the ledge was not biting. He was adamant that life's no longer worth living.
So there he was, wiping his face and seemingly trying to muster all the courage he could to make that big plunge. He appeared to be counting one, two, three... as his body rocked to and fro. And everyone held his breath. But each time he seemed to have made up his mind to leap, he pulled himself back again.
When all else fails, and everything seems to come to a climax, there is always that inbuilt survival instinct somewhere in the human brain that will prevent one from taking his own life. And so as he kept wiping his face and swayed forward over and over again, the onlookers were biting their finger nails.
There's something about looking at someone standing on a ledge of the 11th floor without any safety net at the bottom. This was not a scene from a James Cameron's thriller. This was the real thing, I tell you! And seeing the fellow moving on that ledge made me feel unsteady. My knees became soft like jelly. I actually felt the hair at the back of my neck rising one by one, even though I just had a haircut the day before, and I had all of the hair there duly shaved. I heard myself saying, "Oh for Pete's sake, just jump and get it over with!"
Someone came up with the original idea of placing a mattress on the ground where the man would land if he had jumped. A mattress? To cushion the impact of a man falling from the 11th floor? Yeah right, I'm sure that's a brilliant idea—talk about dealing with emergencies! Bah! Where are these creatures from? They absolutely drive me up the wall, you know.
And then, after what seemed like eternity, we heard the siren of a police car approaching. From it emerged some personnel in neatly ironed uniforms, and perhaps some newly applied make-up for the cameras. Not to forget a bunch of firemen in full uniform and big boots, all rushed into the liftI fancy that they got stuck for a moment at the door of the liftand soon found their way to the window of the 11th floor where the man was still deciding whether to kill himself or his wife.
A bit of conversation took place. But it still did not seem to work. And then suddenly one of those uniformed men reached out to grab the man's shirt. The latter was startled and tried to jump. But by then another pair of hands reached out to grab his hand. He jumped anyway, but because of the strong grip from those men in the window, he did not quite leave the ledge. Instead, only his legs ended up dangling from the edge. And that just set a chorus of "aaahhh!" and "ooohh!" from the crowd on the ground. Within a split second, one of the glass windows was broken and yet another pair of hands stuck out to grab the dangling man. And by the way—no, there was no mattress placed on the ground floor below the window.
Well, he was eventually pulled in, and the crowd was ecstatic. They gave a huge round of applause as if seeing an elephant successfully picking out number 7 from a set of 12 numbers arranged in a circle in a circus show (How do they train the elephants to do that anyway?)
After the man was safely in the building again, a policeman emerged from the window and showed what I think was a thumb's up to the crowd below. Or was it the middle finger?... I couldn't tell as it was quite high and far from where I stood.
Moments later, the bald-headed man emerged from the main entrance of the building on the ground floor, restrained by the policemen, and all the cameras went clicking frantically. It's also noted that by then the man had no shirt on. It could have been torn during the struggle, or maybe one of those policemen kept it for souvenir, I don't know. He was pushed into the police car and the crowd began to disperse.
So now my mind is clear to investigate who was the person who suggested to use a mattress on the ground floor. I really need to ask him or her if it should be a single bed or king-size mattress.