Shaving head for Hair For Hope has little meaning

Since its inception in 2003, the annual Hair For Hope event organised by the Children's Cancer Foundation has garnered massive support from various institutions and the public, with thousands shaving their heads in support of the cause.

I participated in a Hair For Hope in 2012, but now question the rationale for it.

I have no doubt that the people who shave their heads are genuinely motivated to do their part for the cancer patients.

However, while the cause is indeed worthwhile, the act itself might not be so.

Choosing to shave one's hair off is never quite the same as losing one's hair because of chemotherapy.

The celebratory overtone of this event, with people proudly displaying their shaved heads on their social media accounts, also lies in stark contrast to the sombre mood of cancer patients who have to deal with hair loss much more frequently than once a year.

Seen in this light, I believe that the act of shaving one's head, while undoubtedly brave, is nowhere near as meaningful as it is generally perceived to be.

I believe that a much better way of displaying our solidarity with these children is to engage in deep and meaningful conversations with them, because only then can we begin to understand what they are really going through.

Hoe Li En

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2017, with the headline 'Shaving head for Hair For Hope has little meaning'. Print Edition | Subscribe