Work Cut Out?

I have been gotten numerous feedback since my article "Some Lives Are Not Worth Living?" was posted on The Online Citizen. For those of you who have supported the intent of the article, I want to say, "thank you". Here, I aim to address some of the questions, as well as some of the aspersions cast by some other readers of the article.

Am I Pro-PAP?
It is true that some of my articles seem to favor some of the policies and programmes of PAP and that I have questioned some remarks of the opposition politician. But does that automatically make me pro PAP? Elsewhere, I questioned the policies and programmes of the PAP government. Now, does that make me anti-PAP? Let me state categorically, "I am not pro or anti PAP! Neither am I pro or anti opposition parties! I am merely PRO-SINGAPOREAN!"

Am I Religious?
It all depends what your definition is of religious. If by religious you mean someone who follows a set of patterns, formulas, rituals, traditions, dogmas or doctrines of established religions, then I most certainly am not religious. But if by religious, you mean someone who is devoted follower God, then, I most certainly am religious. You see, although I am a passionate follower of Christ Jesus, I do not go to church, I do not celebrate special days (I celebrate everyday) and I do not observe any rituals or traditions of any form of Christianity. I would like to classify myself as being non-religious. In fact, when someone asked me what my religion was recently in a government agency, I declared that I have no religion. But it seems that even if you do not follow religion, religion seems to follow you. And now to answer the question, "does my body belong to myself?" It most certainly does! But I choose to worship God by offering my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him. But that is my choice! Not something that I would compel upon everyone. I have many relatives who are Hindus, friends who are Muslims (in fact during the past fasting month for Muslims, I broke fast at a mosque with some of my Muslim friends), Christians, Catholics, Buddhist, Taoists, Atheists and even free-thinkers. I do not force my views on them. My lifestyle is very often my witness.

Who is Rita Marker of International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force?
Instead of writing away an organisation because it does not have an actual address, it helps to ask "why?" and "who are the people involved in such organisations?" The International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force has been in operation for over 20 years. Why do they list a PO Box address instead of an actual address for their organisation? There are specific security measures that activists are encouraged to implement at their offices, clinics, homes, and on the road, because violent and harassing activity is often directed towards individual activists, and even their families. To protect themselves, various personal security measures must be implemented. It's unfortunate to have to divert time and resources to prevent unjustified attacks, but putting at least some personal security measures into place will decrease the risk of becoming a target. It may also help ease the stress of living and working in what some call a "war zone". Such security measure includes;
  • Get an unlisted phone number, a call display device, and a post office box. Never give your home address to anyone, other than to people you're inviting over.
  • Get your address out of databases, including car and health insurance agencies, telephone services, libraries, voters' lists, your bank, cable company, credit card companies, and any others you can think of.
But who is the main person behind Anti-Euthanasia Task Force? It is Rita Marker. Rita has been the executive director of the organisation since it began in 1987. She is a practicing attorney and was profiled in the American Medical Association's American Medical News. Her full profile can be found here. Not everyone who has flashy web pages are credible and not all with web pages that can be designed by a "12-year old" are credulous.

And what about NRC Handelsblad? It is a respected Dutch Newspaper and it did report the "humanitarian termination". Maybe one cannot find the article because it is written in the Dutch language. But the articles pertaining to humanitarian terminations written by Margaret Oostvenn "Ik kan me goed voorstellen dat artsen stervenshulp niet melden" can NRC Handelsblad dated April 1, 2001. The English translation of the article can be found here.

What about the question of the fiscal deficit in Netherlands?
One can be quite deceived one looks at the current fiscal deficits of Netherlands. It pays to look at the economy of Netherlands before the law on euthanasia, which was advocated by the party D66 was legalised in the Netherlands on April 1, 2002. The economy of the Netherlands was booming from the years 1996 - 2000, with GDP growth averaging 3.7% annually. But the year 2001 saw a drastic slowdown and the economy came to a virtual standstill in the year 2002. The fiscal deficit in the year 2002 was 1.6%, which jumped top 3.3% in the year 2003. The health care expenditure per capita in the Netherlands had jumped from $755 in the year 1980, to an estimated $2909 in the year 2003. In 2003, the newly elected government of a coalition of parties including D66 cut back on healthcare spending by 1.5 million euros and the standard of medical care available to the broad public suffered. If the budget seems well-managed by the year 2008, it is because of various cost-cutting measures by the Dutch government including trying to bring under control the ballooning healthcare costs for its aging population. An USA Today article suggests that most at risk by these cost-cutting measures are "pensioners, the elderly, single parents and non-native households".

The government of Singapore which spends merely 3.7% of its GDP on healthcare, may find investments in development of palliative care and pain management much more costly, and may adopt the culture of euthanasia as the easy way out to manage the escalating healthcare costs for the aging population of Singapore. You see I am also a minarchist and libertarian at heart, who who does not stoop to name-calling and who believes in the individual freedom to express oneself. But everyone is entitled to their own style of expressing their opinions.


Unknown said…
I know I do sound like an asshole at times. =( But I'm actually very cuddly wuddly in real life!
Seelan Palay said…
Great to know that unlike most other Singaporeans, you at least have an opinion and a point of view.