DID the movie Casablanca, which was made 70 years ago, have a role in the tragic death of a medical student from Klang last week? Did life imitate art?
That was the question on the minds of many people after 24-year-old Steven Ko was believed to have committed suicide after being involved in a love triangle.
Prior to plunging from the fourth floor of a car park where his BMW was parked, Ko had sent a melancholic SMS to the woman he was in love with.
In his SMS, Ko said she was a very good girl and that he did not want to give her any trouble or pressure.
The sorrowful youth also said he would make way and told her to watch Casablanca, a romantic movie.
Ko, the woman and the male friend studied medicine in Ireland for more than two years before continuing at the Penang Medical College. Later it became a script of two men loving one woman.
Intrigued, I decided to watch Casablanca, rated as one of the greatest movies of all time, on my desktop PC before writing this column. As it turned out, there is no tragic ending but quite a happy one in Casablanca, a melodrama about a gripping love triangle.
In the movie, Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), the owner of a nightclub called "Rick's Cafe Americain" in Casablanca, Morocco, possesses two "priceless" letters that allow the bearers to escape from German-controlled nations during World War Two.
But it was not enough for the three of them to flee to America. Blaine, despite his cold and cynical exterior, decided to stay behind in Casablanca while letting his lover, Norwegian Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), a charismatic and famous freedom fighter, board the plane to freedom.
Ilsa had fallen in love with Blaine after she was told that Laszlo had died in a Nazi concentration camp.
The show ended with Blaine walking spiritedly into the fog with plans to join the French as a freedom fighter.
The self-sacrificing sentimentalist in Blaine felt that he was the one who should back out from the love triangle, and he even went to great trouble to help Ilsa and Laszlo get away.
In all likelihood, Ko, in emotional anguish, saw himself as Blaine by giving up the woman he loved while choosing a tragic ending of Shakespearean proportions.
Inevitably, Ko's emotional quotient (EQ) comes into question.
Such is life that our ability to cope with adversity depends more on our emotional intelligence than our intellect and education.
It is in the stormy seas of human emotions and relationships that Ko's mind, though shaped by academic studies to be clinical, was most vulnerable.
It is a misconceived notion that death is a permanent solution to a broken heart, when it may just be a temporary affliction.
Researchers have suggested that success in today's challenging and practical world is largely dependent on one's EQ rather than IQ. EQ is about how well you manage yourself mentally.
It is about frustration, tolerance and anger management; positive feelings about self, being less impulsive and more self-controlled.
The landscape of life is littered with the bodies of young minds who committed suicide when they succumbed to the demons inside them.
Two years ago, a relative of mine who was only 20 years old, jumped to his death from his apartment over unrequited love for a girl.
In days gone by, stories of girls killing themselves over failed love affairs were quite common.
But, it seems today's young women are emotionally tougher than their male counterparts who are more likely to commit suicide when they face rejection.
American writer Jeannette Walls says: "When people kill themselves, they think they're ending the pain, but all they're doing is passing it on to those they leave behind."
Suicidal youths must think before they leap.
For them, death is almost instant but forever is the pain and grief of their parents.