Sunday, November 12, 2006

Taking One's Life

I've not had the liberty of watching TV for awhile now but in recent days, I've been presented the opportunity to do so. To be honest, I'm not a TV fan but I find it to be very therapeutic whenever I need my brain to just wander off. The entertainment value is priceless.

couch potato

I have a fixed appointment with the idiot box every Monday night which I try not to miss. I will try my very best not to reach home after midnight on Mondays. If I reach home not having enough time to freshen up, that will just have to wait till after the sitcoms are over. I just have to get my weekly dose of laughter or I'll get really cranky.

Everybody Loves Raymond

That however is not the point I'm trying to make here. Instead, it's something totally the opposite. Very morbid as a matter of fact. An episode from a drama series I'm (technically) following made me think. Very deep thoughts. Very serious thoughts. Thoughts I've never given much thought previously.

If you are paralysed from the neck down, unable to speak, having to depend on someone to attend to your every whim, your mind works in overdrive. That is to be expected since your brain is one of the few body parts left that you have control over. One thought would almost always come to light. Wouldn't it be best for all parties if I were to leave this world? Then the issue of having to care for me wouldn't arise. Then everyone would be able to carry on with their own lives. Wouldn't that benefit all parties?


Euthanasia. The taking of one's life. It's an ethical issue. Whenever one decides to play God, it always is. Who decides we live or die? Do we have a say in this matter? It is after all our very own lives. I'm not saying suicide is alright and everyone should start jumping down from their apartments but technically, this is not suicide, right? Mercy killing is different from suicide, no?

Christopher Reeve

Of course reference to Peter Tan or Christopher Reeve aka Superman would come into the discussion sooner or later but let's not forget that Peter is paralysed from the waist chest down. He still has control over his upper body. Christopher Reeves may be paralysed from the neck down but he could still speak and reach out to the world, although he did contemplate euthanasia once early in his recovery.

If you are paralysed from the neck down, unable to speak, having to depend on someone to attend to your every whim, you won't be faulted for feeling helpless. Matter of fact is, you ARE helpless. And if I were to be in such a condition, I would seriously consider euthanasia and have my organs donated to patients who urgently need them and are able to live a more fulfilling life.

That's just me. What would you do?


  1. To me, euthanasia presents no problem at all. If you have a terminal illness in which you might not recover at all and you would like to end your life, by all means. It's already legal in countries like Holland.

    Ending your life when you still can lead a functional life is the silly part.

    It's the "if you're in a coma" question that gets people worked up. When someone else becomes a proxy to your life and you're terminally ill, do they have the right to carry out your death?

    That boils down to personal choice. Pro-life supporters will say nay to that. Pro-choice supporters will have no qualms about it one way or another.

  2. never really thought about this either.
    i think i can accept it too if there's totally no chance of recovery for that person.
    but then again, how is it determined that there are no more chances of a recovery? sometimes we hear of people waking up from their comas years later. and yet, these are very rare cases.

    there's an award winning spanish movie about euthanasia. i haven't watched it yet, but heard that it's really good. called 'mar adentro'. it means the sea inside.

    besides that, great new blog! and thanks for the birthday gift from the birthday boy! :)

  3. The terminally ill... should select a person to whom he/she entrusts the life with. It could be a sister, brother or a husband/wife. It's not anyone's decision to take a life... but if only a person could will his life to another person, when in consideration of euthanasia.

    It's a heavily debated topic. No right or wrong answer can be found, even if the discussion goes for eons. Just like abortion. A moral question cannot be answered. The best answer to euthanasia would be 'Cryogenic Freezing'.

    At least, if you have plenty of money anyway. But that would be another discussion for another time, wouldn't it?

    Kenny Teoh

  4. First of all, thank you all for contributing to this discussion. I do hope this discussion will not just stop here and more will add their views regarding this topic.

    Like I've said earlier in this blog entry, I would like to stress that ALL opinions are welcomed and respected however divergent they may be.

    We are here not to debate what is right or what is wrong. We are here to give our own views on the topic at hand and hopefully educate ourselves with the different perspective offered by another person.

    The truth is, there's no definite right or wrong. There are plenty of grey areas and we should embrace it instead of just accepting black and white.

    Kenny, as a matter of fact, abortion and cryogenic freezing has been slotted for discussion in the near future. ;)

    Again, thank you all for your contribution here.

  5. How do you find time to keep up two blogs!

    I am so struggling with one. Been so busy.
    Anyway, hope to see you soon, KS! CNY maybe?

  6. two? i think FIVE is more like the right answer. :P

    i'm hoping this blog will be self-sustained with the help of readers who will bring in their own views to the discussion. i just come up with the topics and hopefully all of us will dive right in.

    i just don't want to make my personal blog too serious with such discussions. i think the mood is very much different.

    if we want some meet-up thingy, the issue should be brought up now so all those interested will be able to make time.

    hey, you've not told what your actions will be yet for the child predator discussion.

  7. I am paralysed from the chest down, not waist. I have limited functional use of my hands. I have met people who are totally paralysed but leading fulfilling lives and travelling all over the world. To these people, death is not an option.

  8. It's great to hear from you Peter. Thanks for the clarification about your condition. I'm really glad to hear those suffering total paralysis chose to live a fulfilling life and even travel the world over. It's truly inspiring.

  9. I think the controversy with euthanasia is whether is should be made legal. Personally, I think it should stay illegal (apologies to people who might genuinely have a strong case for euthanasia).

    Reason for this is that people with debilitating conditions or any condition that might make them consider euthanasia are inevitably in a vulnerable and confused state of mind. In such situations, it is easy for them to falsely think that euthanasia is their only/best option.

    However, we do hear of cases of people with bleak diagnosis who end up fighting their illness and coming out a survivor, or people (as Peter has highlighted) leading fulfilling lives despite their situations. No doubt these same people would have had times when they thought life sucked... that it'll probably be easier to just end it... and these thoughts might have been quite intense and at that moment, they might have thought of euthanasia as a very valid option.

    Everything is a balance of pros and cons. I believe that if we legalise euthanasia, the number of lives we will lose unnecessarily will significantly overweigh the number of people with exceptionally dire and helpless conditions whose carers or themselves could benefit from legalising euthanasia.

    If euthanasia were to be accepted and legalised, very careful guidelines need to be in place to prevent misuse.

    And all that's my 2-pence (or less) worth! :P

  10. very strong points you have there SooHuey. thanks!