The Next Great Singaporean Debate
The Next Great Singaporean Debate The intellectual battle between Wei Ling and Philip Yeo was touted as the debate that could have the potential of generating great discussion in the MSM. Chok Tong also encouraged it to go on. But after staring down at each other from their respective corners, the fight fizzled off. No KO in the first round as it was discontinued. Now Stomp is heralding its greatest debate of all time in its forum, 'To fine or not to fine pedestrian using mobile phone.' It claimed that this is a hot issue. Fining is a great obsession in this island, bigger than Opt In/Opt Out. Both are our greatest problem solvers. Just fine the people and the problem will be solved, or simply opt them in. Would pedestrians be fined for using MP3, reading papers while eating as they risked being choked to death. Commuters in MRT could be fined for crossing the yellow lines or using mobile or listening to MP3 too. All acts that could endanger self or others can be fined. What about blogging and posting in cyberspace? A dangerous activity, really. Back to the great debate. Another one is really brewing. This time between people of the same profession. Not between a doctor and an engineer. No mismatch. The combatants are Dr Lee Wei Ling and Drs Patrick Kee Chin Wah and Wong Wee Nam. So no need to take snipe remarks about not being qualified to talk about the issue, Hota and Opt In/Opt Out. Drs Kee/Wong made this a public issue by discussing it in the MSM. For they had hit a wall when they appeared before a Select Committee. Any discussion in such circumstances, like within an organisation, will lead to a decision by the decision maker. Period. Not an issue of bigger right or bigger wrong. The one who calls the shot makes the decision. It is therefore appropriate that an issue where right and wrong are relative and subjective be discussed in an open forum, to be fully aired. After the first letter by the two doctors, Wei Ling replied. According to the last response by Kee/Wong, she made 3 assumptions. 1. 'given a choice, the vast majority of families would object strongly if they thought this could prevent their loved one's organs from being removed.' 2. 'the only incentive at present not to opt out is that those who opt out go to the bottom of the waiting list if they ever need an organ.' 3. there is 'a separate organ donor form where one can specify which or all organs one wishes to pledge....' Kee/Wong pointed out that based on the recent case, the families did not object to the donation of the organs. This proved that Singaporeans have accepted the fait accompli of donating the organs. The second, they believed that many did not opt out more of ignorance and apathy rather than fear of going to the end of the list when they need organs themselves. As for the third point, 'Amendments to Hota have already been made so organs other than kidneys can be taken. What we are seeing is the contest between being practical, pragmatic and functional as against being compassionate, feeling and emotional as human beings. We made rules for the good of the people at large. But should we make rules that are so clinical, mechanical, with no regards to feelings and emotions of the living? We are afterall humans with feelings, emotions and attachments. These are things that make us different. The ability to feel, to love and to care. The complicated thing in this debate is that brain death is still not conclusive and not necessarily accepted as death by the general masses. The medical profession may have its definition of biological death, the law may have its legal definition of death, the people may have their own beliefs of what is death. We are touching on a grey area that no one except God is the wiser. So, should one group of people pronounced their judgement on others? When there is room for doubts, or when there are strong emotions and pain on the living, can the law be more human, more compassionate? This is not a criminal case, or it maybe, if one day it is proven that a brain dead person could be revived and live again. In criminal cases, there is a term called 'beyond reasonable doubt.' Is brain death beyond reasonable doubt?