Hong Kong

Do not risk your life just for a photograph

Posing for a selfie on the edge of a 10-storey building in Sham Shui Po has become a trend on social media. But taking such a risk just to gain attention is irresponsible and risky

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2018, 11:16pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2018, 11:16pm

Getting attention on social media is all that matters to some young people nowadays. The temptation to impress can be so strong that some even break the law or put their safety at risk just to take a selfie and show off on Facebook or Instagram. A case in point is the latest rush to pose on the edge of the rooftop of a 10-storey private residential building in Sham Shui Po, with the backdrop of a colourful mural across the street.

The trendy act has been promoted by popular mainland and overseas travel websites and was apparently inspired by a similar pose by Spanish designer Okuda San Miguel in front of his artwork called Rainbow Thief. Whether the spot is as “Instagrammable” as it portrays is a matter of judgment. But those who flocked to the site thought nothing of trespassing on private property, climbing two-metre-high metal fences and standing on chest-high ledges to take selfies. As many as 20 mainland visitors were seen on the rooftop during the afternoon of the National Day holiday.

Death by selfie: why are so many people dying so needlessly?

Taking a few pictures of yourself having a great time arguably hurts no one. But the selfie craze on top of a high-rise building is not to be encouraged. Not only is it a disturbance to local residents, it is irresponsible and risky.

The trend for travellers to share spectacular photos on social media has fuelled desires to emulate and outdo others. Being unfamiliar with the environment, local customs and legislations adds to the risk. The problem is not just restricted to tourists. Two years ago, a man in Hong Kong fell 400 metres to his death from Lion Rock after reportedly balancing precariously on a cliff edge while trying to take a photograph. Globally, hundreds of people were known to have been injured or killed while taking pictures over the past seven years. There are also ample references in medical journals about selfie-related falls, attacks from wild animals, electrocution, lightning strikes and traffic accidents. The casualties might have been fewer had people kept to the dos and don’ts of taking selfies. Many of those are just common sense, such as being careful of heights and steering clear of animals and fast moving objects. But the principle is the same. Do not risk your life for a photo.