I noticed the trend of our Singapore TV dramas these recent 2 years is increasingly moving towards the topics of the spiritual world and mental health. Story plots often revolve around out-of-body experiences, soul-switching, mind-reading ability, ghost encounters, fulfilling the spirits’ last wishes in the human world before reincarnation, and many more. Some may even correlate these spiritual experiences with mental illness. Could these dramas perhaps contain some clues or answers to my own mystery of schizophrenic experiences since 2013?
One of these dramas that caught my attention was this one titled “Mind Jumper” that was first broadcasted on Mediacorp’s Channel 8 in April last year (2021). The drama is about a female ex-accountant with mind-reading ability named Kai Le joining hands with the chief of a private investigating company, CFI, named Zheng Yi to solve some of Singapore’s most intriguing crimes, from financial scams, illegal betting to extortion and human trafficking. The series is said to have adapted from some of the real crime cases in Singapore in the past.
In episodes 6-8, the drama focuses on a case regarding a cult brainwashing its followers into committing suicide and donating all of their estate and assets to an unknown “charity” linked to their cult. The cult leader, Lord Yun who was thought to have similar mind-reading / supernatural ability like Kai Le’s, is in actual fact a victim and mere puppet of the cult’s Emissary of Light, Irene who is the real mastermind. Lord Yun was actually a schizophrenia patient who had become depressed after working as a hospice social worker. Irene was his psychiatrist who had seen him for his treatment consultations 8 years ago. After listening to his account of hearing voices saying they want to offer him money to set up a self-help organisation, Irene developed the idea of the formation of the Dawn Order cult to scam its followers of their money in order to pay off her own debts.
I felt that there were a few learning points I could take away from this story as someone who was also diagnosed of schizophrenia in 2013.
Learning Point 1: People with schizophrenia are innocent themselves, it’s the society which could have taken advantage and led them on the wrong path
In the story, the cult leader, Lord Yun was clearly innocent. His schizophrenia was stemmed from the despair at his inability to help those people at their death beds at the hospice he worked at. What started out as a good-willed desire to help these dying people to find comfort, maintain their dignity and accept death peacefully was taken advantage of by selfish people with evil ulterior motive of turning it into a money laundering opportunity. Lord Yun talked about hearing a voice telling him not to believe what they say. They want to offer him money, but in reality, they want to harm him… It made me recall my own voices mentioning about money before too.. They might be urging you to do something… Trying to brainwash you with the deception of offering you money.. You know they can’t be real.. They might be fooling you into doing something bad or something only for their own benefits or gains but serve no actual interest to you at the end..
Learning Point 2: Voices in our heads are not real and we don’t have superpowers
Similar to my previous point, you don’t exactly know who these voices are and where they come from, so it’s important to be self-aware and tell them apart from what’s real and decipher between what’s right and wrong. In the case of Lord Yun, the voices he hears are deliberately inserted into his mind through a receiver secretly planted in the back of his ear by Irene to brainwash him and trick him into believing that he had some sort of supernatural ability of knowing one’s secrets. This would have further exacerbated his pre-existing condition of schizophrenia that he was already diagnosed of.
Watching this drama gave me an interesting perspective of how a schizophrenia patient could have been misrepresented for a cult figure. Although I don’t know which real crime case in Singapore that this cult mass suicide story was based on, I’m sure several details such as the insertion of the receiver into the back of Lord Yun’s ear are very much fabricated; these could not have happened in real life. But I perceive the inserted receiver as a figurative way of showing how our imagined voices are what the society has been influencing and brainwashing our minds each and every day. Is it that we live in such a practical world filled with selfish people that have made us fall sick? Or is it that we have lost our faith and hope that there can still be genuinely good and kind people who exist in this world today? I wish for all people who are suffering from depression or schizophrenia like myself to still cling on to that hope and hang in there long enough to see the good side of this world.