Monday, October 10, 2005

Misplaced Sympathy - The Conclusion

First I will like to lift some points from Assoc Prof Lee Wei Ling's letter to The Straits Times Forum on 08 October 05:

On the Nepalese twins:
".... However, the mother and grandfather insisted on coming to Singapore. They refused to let the local surgeon treat the twins...
After my previous letter to ST Forum, I received a letter from Ms Angella Cheng, who is very close to the twins' family and was their guardian when they were in Singapore. She wrote, and I just confirmed over the telephone with her, that the twins' parents' motive for coming to Singapore is to get more sympathy money, which they have actually got while in East Shore Hospital this visit."

On Sillyporeans gullibility:
"... I am disappointed with my fellow Singaporeans' gullibility. Some of you may remember the Indonesian baby with grossly swollen head who landed on our shores not long after the technically successful separation of the Napalese twins.
Public sympathy again produced enough funds for palliative operation to be done. Last seen at age 2 1/2 years, the baby was severely disabled, mentally and physically."

On the Yishun siblings:
"...Then there was the saga of the Yishun siblings who had an operation for deep-brain stimulation done in Taiwan at tremendous cost, again paid for by the Singapore public. They could have been treated in SGH or the National Neuroscience Institute at a fraction of the cost.
The operation was claimed in the press to be a miraculous success, and the siblings were shown walking with assistance. Now they are no longer able to walk, not even with assistance."

On Huang Na:
"...When the story of Huang Na's murder hit the papers, many people donated money to the girl's mother, with the total sum enough to cover many subsidised patients' hospital bills or provide bursaries for many, many poor students.
But what good is the money to Huang Na who has died?"

I will like to add my two cents worth:

On Huang Na's case:
"She brought her daughter to Singapore, hoping to give her a better future."
I remembered seeing this quote in the papers a few times. But have we forgotten the fact that Madam Huang Shuying has tried different means to enter and work in Singapore? She was jailed for overstaying and another time for illegal entry.
The third time she changed an identity and returned as a study mama to continue working here. Now, you see what I see?

On Bai Jin (contributions towards funeral expenses):
As far as I know, Bai Jin is used to help the deceased family in coping with funeral expenses. It is also used to help the family tide over any short term financial hardship, if necessary.
Any excess amount should be kept to meet future expenses on death anniversaries and to upkeep the deceased's final resting place.
Alternatively, the excess Bai Jin can be donated to charitable organization as a mean to help the deceased chalk up good deeds for a smoother passage in the ether world (as believed in Buddishism and Taoism).

The role of the press:
To quote Assoc. Prof Lee again "I cannot resist one last story which illustrates both the propensity of the press to sensationalise and ...."
To borrow words from Eldwin, a regular reader of my humble blog, "I think what we have seen here are case studies of Impression Management. Impressions that people are hard up are magnified, or rather exaggerated, by the media. As a result, the public feel the urge to give out of sympathy when in fact the proposed recipients may not need so much aid. "
I just want to put my point across, there are a lot of needy people out there who are more deserving but do not know where to seek help. For those who turn to the press for help, surely they will be able to find other avenues too.
I believe the press will not allow itself to be used as a tool to milk generous Sillyporeans.

Ps: I just hate to be taken advantage of. By the way, I have stopped giving to charity a long time ago. Instead, I volunteer my time at deserving organizations. Sorry folks, I cant reveal too much about myself, cos I am an angel by day but a devil by night.


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8 Sightings:

Blogger kukukucinta said...

so mysterious leh. but nair adds an element of surprise and anticipation to your blog, cos everyone is soooooo curious how u look and do...and then they will continue to stalk your blog everyday in the hope of seeing yer pic one fine day!

6:40 AM  
Blogger sÞ¡ηηєє said...

keke... humans are like that la... they only sympathize with people that they could see through their naked eyes, and so long someone can behave or act very pitiful, one will give, no matter they're singaporeans or not.

the truth is, the people in this world have evolve through the years. looks are definitely deceiving in this society.

that's y it's hard to trust anyone nowadays. too complicated to get into such a playground. just feel with your heart. if you have really been taken advantaged of (i dun like it either), den let "tian shuo" them lo... kekeke...

7:13 AM  
Blogger Midnight said...

This society is getting so complex that at time, it is very difficukt to differentiate what is right or wrong; real or friction...

I guess everyone is using "Game Theory" to get the maximum out of things.
for this matter of fact, the latest two noble prize winners for economics are game theory thinkers :-)

2:16 PM  
Blogger Mickell said...

I believe there are more Singaporeans, giving some money, be it a few tens of cents, a few dollars or even a few tens of dollars than volunteering those their time like yourself to help out in a welfare organisation. Afterall, making a small monetary contribution is much easier than offering physical help. All those "conmen" who prey on unsuspecting givers shall not get away with it. Even if they get away with it in this lifetime. They shall be revealed on Judgement Day.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Kurakat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Kurakat said...

Problem is, if all of us wait till Judgment Day without trying to remedy these social justice issues (if may be permitted to use this term), then we do not know how many people will have suffered or benefited through unethical means.

The media can assist by providing fair and balanced coverage of tragedies. For example, in the instance where there are Iranian parents who brought their twins to S'pore for an operation, the Media shpuld have attempted to provide coverage not only on their plight, but on their motives too (if possible). We do not want to make wild speculations, but a balanced coverage can help us to see things with an informed mind.

As for people who chose to go overseas for treatments, we really do not have all the details why the parents chose to have their kids treated overseas. When it comes to medical treatment, we are not just looking at the costs, but also at the quality of treatment as well as the special expertise of the surgeons (if any) in that particular locality/hospital. Thus, unless we have all the facts right, let us not be quick to judge.

Regarding Huang Na's case, no matter what kind of person the mother is like, the fact of the matter is, she has lost an adorable little girl. And for that, let us just show our sympathy by letting them go. Send them our blessings and hope that the mother will have other children who can help alleviate her grief.

I agree with Midnight when he says that society is getting more complex. However, whether game theory is a solution to our woes is still a big question mark.

Our society is highly bureaucratised, or should I use a more modern word - corporatised. We see the media, telco firms, the civil service, the schools and even churches coming to experiment and implement world class corporate management approaches in organising themselves. This is actually desirable cos this is in fact an uplifting of standards in the abovementioned agencies. Efficiency and effectiveness are in the spirit of corporatisation.

The nature of modern societies is that information passes through many layers (corporatised units as well as individuals) and sometimes, we can never really have access to all the sources of information. This means that we will have to rely on people or organizations for information. Distortion creeps in in these intermediate stages of information collection and dessemination. However, these problems also arise when peopel communicate with people. See those Taiwanese variety shows where 10 guys and gals try to relay a message down the line. It is amusing to see how amusing the last person's received meesage is, as compared to the initial information feed. Communication Problem!

All these communication distortions are unlikely to vanish in the forseeable future. In fact, things gonna be intensified. We, as the public, will have to sharpen our wits, constantly questioning the things that happen around us. This little list of comments at gHoSt's blog is an example of questioning what is taken for granted (the pitifulness of these donation recipients) Are they really so pitiful?

Yet at the same time, we must not be so overly critical thatwe forgot how to love and care for people who have difficulties (financial or otherwise).

Hope I did not put all you guys off with my wordy comment.

Have a nice day, everyone. =)

10:43 AM  
Blogger GhOsT said...

Thanks for you comments, Eldwin.

You really add value to my blog!

Thanks again.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Kurakat said...

Actually, its the bloggers' comments here that sparked off my inspiration. And I am thankful to be here babbling my 2 cents' worth of ideas and being tolerated by you guys.

The honour is mine. =)

1:23 AM  

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