A 21-year-old woman on Wednesday night committed suicide by jumping off a bridge at Bitan (碧潭) scenic spot in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Sindian District (新店), reportedly after failing to find a stable job for three consecutive years.
The Chinese-language Apple Daily reported that at about 10pm on Wednesday, Lin Chih-han (林芷涵) left her handbag with the guards near the bridge, saying she would be right back, before jumping off the bridge.
Lin’s parents are divorced and she lived with her sisters, brother and her mother in their grandmother’s house in Taipei, the report said.
Although Lin’s mother has a job, Lin’s grandmother gathers recyclables to supplement the family’s income. Lin reportedly did not want her grandmother to have to work.
Lin had worked part-time since junior-high school and gave all her earnings to her grandmother, the report said, adding that she did not apply for college after graduating from high school in 2010, a decision that might have been based on the family’s financial situation.
Lin eventually found a job at a small company after a long search, the report said, adding that she quit the job earlier this year due to irregular work hours and pay and was unemployed until June, when she was contracted by a biotech company to sell health products she bought from the company.
Lin left the company in August and was unemployed until late last month, when she was hired as a waitress at a hot-pot restaurant, where she worked for two days, on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30, before quitting, the report said.
The owner of the restaurant was quoted as saying that Lin was hard-working and did not seem out of sorts in the company of her colleagues.
He said that Lin had mentioned in passing that she might commit suicide, but he had thought she was joking.
Both Lin’s grandmother and mother were quoted by the Apple Daily as saying that Lin was the epitome of filial piety, adding that they considered taking her to the doctor for counseling because she was emotionally unstable after recently breaking up with her boyfriend.
Commenting on the case, Taiwan Labor Front secretary-general Sun You-lien (孫友聯) said the base salary of NT$22,000 (US$750) usually offered to young people made them feel they were achieving less, but working more hours, adding that such working conditions may lead to a sense of disappointment and despair.
Data from the Directorate-General of Budget Accounting and Statistics showed that the unemployment rate between January and October averaged 4.19 percent.
However, 9.4 percent of people under the age of 29 were unemployed, or about 224,000 people, and 13.71 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 24 were unemployed, or about 106,000 people.
Yang Tsung-tsai (楊聰財) at the Geng Sin Psychiatric Clinic in New Taipei City said young people should at least have three friends or family members with whom they feel comfortable talking about personal issues when they are going through hard times at work or are feeling down.