Cross-posted from CL's blog: ratana
NB: Lack of grammar and syntax is for some strange reason exclusive to when she blogs. Other than that, her emails and SMSes use perfect English. And so without further ado...
(mock the stupid)
i know it is sometimes mean, but i really cannot stop myself here. tell if this is funny, or just plain *omg i hope he never reproduces*
some context: i attended a public forum on making end of life decisions this afternoon. the speakers were experienced, compassionate and humourous professionals. while what they shared was not necessarily ground breaking, for families faced with difficult choices, this can demystify some of what they are going through, and can show them different grounds by which certain decisions can be made. of course, for the people who are not in that particular situation, it is just good forward planning.
(S: I absolutely agree. Whereas CL has actually done her job in getting an AMD, all I have really is a hope that the common law doesn't screw me other between now and when a decision has to be made on my behalf. CL and my mom know my decision to pull the plug.)
while i like to think that there is no such thing as a stupid question, there was a particular gentleman who really did take the cake. he might even surpass in stupidity what was witnessed at a dr. love forum. the gentleman stood up twice.
(S: Get CL to tell you what happened at the Dr. Love forum and mind you, these were ladies in their 30s and 40s asking basic biological and anatomical questions. I blame MOE and the lack of the internet for that absymal lack of knowledge)
the first time, he had a question, and a suggestion. if it had come from the ri boys (who are 14) i was relief teaching, it might have been good for a bit of a chuckle. but this is a grown man. he wanted to know if HK had access to advances in medical technology that SG did not. why HK? because he had been watching a HK drama, where the police were able to question a witness who was in a coma by reading his brain waves. *insert snotty comment about the state of the gentleman's brain waves*
(S: Repeat after me...not everything you see on TV and particularly Chinese dramas are real. He isn't stupid I think but it's a fantastic manifestation of not thinking things through. After all, if such technology existed, we wouldn't have a problem with end of life choices for certain)
the suggestion, i suppose, is forgivable, given that a) he is SGean, and b) he's not a debater. it was that the people who wanted to get euthanised but could not, since it was illegal, why not move them to somewhere where it was? one of the speakers was an experienced social worker at beth israel and she explained the limitations that were placed on Oregeon's Death with Dignity Act (google it, some of the experiences are very heartening)--the short answer being, nope, you can't just move in out of state. this is likely the same with the Dutch laws, and this is certainly the case with access to abortions. sometimes i forget what debate can do. sigh.
(S: It's not exclusive to debaters but on average, I would submit that your average teenage debater knows way way way more than your average adult Singaporean. I'm even willing to stake money on that to be honest. If you put your average Worlds Debater in competition then it's an outright trashing. It's really a matter of being well read enough to have facts and being able to think and apply those facts)
the second time, and i really should be ashamed, he asked something that, if you wanted to be generous, is a question that many people facing these hard choices ask--which is the right way to go? while the confusion and the pain (on the part of the loved ones) is understandable, he asked the question in such a singaporean way--gimme all the answers, i don't want to think for myself. it isn't mock the stupid any more..i don't know what to do about someone so disrespectful of the tensions that patients' loved ones face by being so completely unable to even grasp the depth of the tensions regarding end of life decisions.
(S: I'm not even sure why a doctor's opinion is relevant here. Her expertise in terms of prognosis, suffering and quality of life I can understand but to make a choice like that I see absolutely no reason why a doctor's opinion on almost any end of life decision is better than any one elses. Note the caveat, this is not a matter of deferring to expertise but the notion that doctor's have so kind of special claim to morality. For an example of what I mean, it's worth taking a gander at some of the absolutely horrific arguments made by medical doctors during the euthenasia debate.)
oh, and by the way, man-with-limited-electrical-activity-in-the-brain, no one can make the end of life decisions for you or your family. the palliative care team can provide certain services, the social workers can help provide some ideas, but at the end of the day, the risks, consequences and values are very personal experiences. as to why the AMD is so vaguely defined? it's SG. oh, but i'm sorry, that's also why your electrical activity is so limited, isn't it?
(S: C'est la vie. Peace)