Pros and cons of changing the law on euthanasia in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 August, 2009, 12:00am

As Victor Fung Keung pointed out in the Observer column ('A person has the right to a dignified death', August 18), most people object to euthanasia without thinking about the subject in a rational way.

They ignore the fact that someone who is terminally ill will not get better. And they are indifferent to the suffering and mental anguish that these patients endure. It is cowardly to ignore the excruciating pain they suffer before dying. People opposed to euthanasia banish thoughts of their loved ones ever facing such pain.

There are those who attempt to take the moral high ground, saying a life should not be ended in this way under any circumstances.

We have to face the issue of euthanasia. We must address it now, not just because of the pleas of the quadriplegic Choi Wan-fung ('Quadriplegic thinks about how to kill himself every day', August 16), but also because it is simply inhumane to stand idly by while people die in extreme pain.

The government and legislators should have the courage to reform the law on euthanasia.

Ko King-tim, Kowloon Tong

I do not agree with Victor Fung Keung's article ('A person has the right to a dignified death', August 18). I think a person has the right to a dignified life and that there is no dignity in death.

I disagree with the promoters of euthanasia, because people choose to die, not through free will, but under pressure, mostly from family members. You reported on the plight of quadriplegic Choi Wan-fung. If I was in a situation where I felt I had become a financial burden to my wife or my children, I would want to opt to die. That is why the present law exists, to protect me, not to encourage me to commit suicide. At the same time, a civil society should provide the means for someone in that state to be able to lead a dignified life.

Mr Fung says that 'dying with dignity is humane' but how does he know? As Hamlet says, that is 'the undiscovered country'. A friend of mine died last year of cancer at 53. He was in great pain, but just a few days before dying, and in spite of suffering, lying in his garden he explained to me how overwhelmed he was by the beauty of flowers.

Angelo Paratico, Sheung Wan



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