Monday, 30 March 2009

Old age

Just read an article about old people on a sunday times magazine (though it's already monday night now) - a few quotes:
'We are one of the very few cultures in all the world that does not treat age as an achievement.'
'most people in this country die weepingly lonely, left in no doubt that they have overstayed their welcome. This is the greatest shame and horror of our age.'
'The cure for this youth-tormented terror is blindingly simple. Reclaim the old. Include them in our lives. The antibiotic for loneliness is company.'
'The old aren't the problem. It's the rest of us. We would rather consign them to a netherworld where they are out of mind and out of sight.'
'You really should spend an hour listening to someone who's lived twice as long as you because you'll hear something funny and clever, touching and probably astonishing.'
'We should ensure that nobody ever sits alone wishing for their own death because they know of nobody who wishes them to live.'

This is such an important issue in its own right, and more so given the aging trend in many countries. These people who have contributed to the present well-being of society get forgotten - and even abandoned.
And those 'care services' are only interested in the money.

This reminds me of the elderly's home my great grandmother was put for a couple of years before she passed away >< Its a shame. My grandmother, aunt and uncle had looked after her for a long time until it finally became very difficult. I wasn't the one caring for her so I could hardly say, but I still remember how bitterly I resented that elderly's home (a rubbish private business basically abusing its monopoly over the neighbourhood) for its inhumane treatment of the elderly and wanted to report it to East magazine, which I somehow innocently thought would be interested in these issues. That was many years ago...

Sunday, 1 March 2009


i have read enough about how outcomes of legal cases can be a matter of lottery - there are always certain thresholds which determine the outcome (as far as establishing causation is concerned). In a civil case, it's the balance of probabilities (more than 50% chance), whereas in a criminal case, it's proof beyond reasonable doubt. The pressure point is on that very line. if it's 49.999% it's still somewhere short of 50%, and blame the statisticians whoever are responsible for the unfortunate gap. There's occasionally some controversy about where these thresholds should be drawn. Many people say it's a matter of lottery because it all depends on a lot of circumstantial factors which could be determined completely by chance. Say the evidence that can be and has been unearthed, the nature of the incident, the reasonableness of the judgment of the judge and jury....

And it's actually so true of life in general. it's all determined by chances. The extent to which human behaviour plays out is like the number of lots you draw and which areas you draw from and whether you put in the right box, or whether you have some magic sure win ticket etc. every time we make a decision we're drawing a lot. in fact every moment of life involves drawing a lot of lots. if i were a mathematician, i would definitely work on probabilities.

maybe thats why decisions can be so important because they can change your chances to different extent. they can be life changing experiences, or they can be completely futile mundane steps to take in life..... whether guided by your autonomy they could make a world of difference, and they could also be of complete irrelevance because your lots might totally not count at all.

who has this hand on these lotteries?

how different are go-getters to laid back-ors, really?

can there be more equality of chances? hm.... food for thought.