Euthanasia goes against culture of strong family ties

The rise in the number of suicides among the elderly here is indeed a cause for concern, but legalising euthanasia will most likely result in more harm than good (Consider legalising euthanasia, by Mr Seah Yam Meng; Aug 1).

In Singapore, strong family ties and inter-generational obligations form the bedrock of our society.

If we were to legalise euthanasia, we run the risk of eroding this culture that we have nurtured over the years by increasing the temptation for family members of the sick, elderly and severely disabled to view them as burdens.

It may even cause these individuals to internalise this fatalistic attitude and perceive themselves as burdens.

Legalising euthanasia as a medical treatment option might also profoundly alter the very nature of the doctor-patient relationship, as it could reduce patients' trust in a physician's commitment to their well-being.

Moreover, if we were to allow the sick and elderly the option to end their own lives on the basis of compassion, what about those who are severely disabled or are too sick to possess the rational cognition to exercise the right to be released from their suffering? Why should they be denied the option?

Those who seek to end their own lives often suffer from mental or terminal illnesses, or simply loneliness.

Instead of embracing euthanasia as an option, we should preserve their dignity by providing these vulnerable individuals with the appropriate medical care and human interaction that they need.

Natalie Ang (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2018, with the headline 'Euthanasia goes against culture of strong family ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe