The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


When You Destroy Their Hope, You Destroy Their Will To Keep Trying …
November 30, 2021, 8:00 am
Filed under: Apathy, Colenso, Culture, Death, New Zealand, Youth

A 26 year old Kiwi killed himself yesterday.

That’s him in the photo at the top of this post.

His name is Jake Millar.

Of course the press refer to Jake’s death by saying ‘he died’ … due to some twisted logic about not wanting to encourage more people to die by suicide when that strategy has obviously failed given NZ continues to have one of the highest death by suicide rates for youth per capita in the world.

And what was the probable cause of Jake’s terribly sad decision?

The joyous pile-on the press did on him for having his second business fail.

They accused him of terrible things.

Theft. Arrogance. Exploitation. Purposefully ignoring – or devaluing – the amazing success this young man had achieved prior to this situation.

Hell, he felt he had to move to Kenya to be able to get away from the judgement and sniggers.

And even that wasn’t far enough away for him.

NZ is in danger of robbing kids of their right to try. To fail. To explore. To dream.

The ramifications on the future of NZ for acting this way is huge. But not as much as it is on the youth of the country.

For a nation that loves to talk about being ‘pioneers’, we are openly and actively oppressing that spirit under the guise of ‘staying humble’. It is nothing of the sort. It’s control and fear.

New Zealand is a brilliant, amazing, beautiful country.

I feel truly honoured and grateful to be able to live here with my family.

But this continual situation, is nothing short of a national disgrace.

In March, Colenso bring out a book about the lack of hope youth feel living here, following interviews with kids all across NZ.

It’s utterly terrifying … scarier than pretty much all the places I’ve lived before and done this work before.

But what makes it even worse is it won’t come to a surprise to anyone.

Not really. Not if they’re honest, rather than being culturally complicit.

I’ve been in this country 8 months and it has been as clear as day to me.

A lot of people don’t like me saying that. They think I should shut up and be grateful to be here. In fact I’ve faced a bunch of abuse for talking about it.

Yep … rather than be angry at this terrible, on-going reality, some have chosen to be angry at me for talking about a situation everyone knows but few talk about. Especially in public.

I’ve been told I should keep quiet. That I don’t know enough about the situation. That I am unaware of all the things contributing to the situation or the ways the country is trying to change the situation.

And they’re right, I don’t know enough.

I’m trying to learn as fast as I can, but I don’t know enough.

But I tell you what I do know …

This country has a terrible youth suicide rate.
This country has a terrible Maori suicide rate.
This country has a terrible farmer suicide rate.

And for all the solutions in place, they are either not enough or not working well enough.

I’m not speaking out because I want to cause offence.
I’m not speaking out because I think it makes me look smart.
I’m speaking out because I am thankful to this country for the generosity it has shown me and my family and I want to repay that gift by actively trying to help address a situation that cannot continue to be overlooked or brushed under the carpet as some sort of inconvenience.

Thankfully there are a great many people in this country who are speaking up. Who are doing things to try and ensure no kid will feel they have no other choice they can make. Who listen rather than judge.

But we need more.

We need the government to deal with the situation, not be political about the situation..We need the media to write about the situation, not be complicit to hiding it – or worse, igniting it. And we need companies in NZ to stop demanding conformity and encouraging individuality.

That’s not going to solve the issue, but it will likely help it. Because the youth are amazing when they’re backed, encouraged and supported.

Yes they will make mistakes – like we all make mistakes – but they’re not trying to destroy anything or hurt anyone so why the hell are we doing exactly that to them?

It may not be intentional.
It may not always be overt.
But it’s happening. Jake Millar is living proof of that..

There will be a lot of people talking and writing about the tragic loss of Virgil Abloh.

Please don’t let that drown out the name and loss of Jake Millar.

You can read more about him here and I offer nothing but my deepest condolences to Jake’s family, friends and colleagues – past and present.


7 Comments

i know you said no comments campbell, but this is a fucked situation and nz needs more people speaking up like you. good fucking work.

Comment by andy@cynic

+1

Comment by DH

Well said and well written Robert. Anyone who criticises your words needs to question what they are doing to change this terrible statistic.

Comment by Lee Hill

That poor young man.

Comment by Mary Bryant

Silence is complicity.

Comment by John

Yep. And denial. Both are in plentiful supply, sadly.

Comment by Rob

[…] When You Destroy Their Hope, You Destroy Their Will To Keep Trying … […]

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