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7/06/2008

Giving is the greatest act of Charity

To give selflessly is the greatest act of Charity. Singaporeans were encouraged to give their money and whatever, in charity shows, not for anything in return, but an act of love, to help the less fortunate. But when something is tied to this act, to give and to receive in turn for the good deed, it is no longer a charitable act. If one wants to give, one must give without any thought of getting something back. As the greatest debate on organ trading descended on paradise, we are hearing two opposing views on this sensitive and painful issues of organ donation. The do gooders, the champions of the poor and unfortunate, the protector of the weak, say no, we cannot exploit them. The value of their organs is priceless. On the other corner, the people who have experienced the pain and despair of a dying kidney failure patient, were strongly in favour of legalising the trade. They have lived through their parts of seeing a loved one dying. They have gone through the desperation of finding all avenues of help closed to them. They have lived like the end of tomorrow was staring at them. Only the availability of an organ could bring back some hope to their lives. Their argument is that the donors will also stand a chance to benefit from his involuntary act other than saving a life. The money he gets could bring to them a new lease of a better life. Is that wrong? When there is no compulsion, no exploitation, with all the regulations in place to ensure that it is a deal that is as fair as possible to both parties, would not that be sufficient to let the transaction go through? Only the donor will know how bad he needs the money and how much he is willing to part with his organ. He has his own price given his own situation. No price is right or too expensive. But price is relative, just like the price of a human life. Some are dirt cheap or worthless. Some rather die than live. There is one group that is conspicuously absent from this debate. The hard thinking, pragmatic and market mechanism believers. This group can be expected to come out and say the brutal truth. Or at least say something that we should not meddle with the market forces and let the market determine the value of the organ. Maybe they are waiting for someone close to be afflicted with this modern day plague before they speak out in favour of organ trading. Or maybe they are indulging in such trade quietly, not wanting to be known that they too have done it. For the moment, the gods of righteousness and high moral win. Organ trading should not be allowed. The law should deal harshly with those who committed such despicable acts of exploiting the poor and desperate. And those who went overseas quietly to have it done, they should be punished on their return. This is the current morality on organ trading in paradise. I am saying current because the standard of morality is subjective, relative and variable from place to place and in time.

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