The oath that doctors sworn when they became doctors is the promise to save lives. This is a noble pursuit, but inevitably, it sets the tone of a culture to battle death. Professor Maggie Little, a Director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, and Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown shared in his lecture on Bioethics on Death & Surrogate Decision-Making.
“Now think about what that implies. It’s got a good side and a bad side. The good side is that when we can save your life, that’s awesome. You want that warrior by your side and not giving up on you. Right? But when it becomes clear, or should become clear, that we’re moving to not whether you’ll die but how you’ll die. Having a warrior who identifies with death as failure is not who you want at your side. So doctors as a gross generalization, but still as a true generalization, are incredibly aversive to death. But if the culture is aversive about death, that sets up a really bad scenario. ”
One of the greatest myths in dying is not about dying per se – it’s truly about living. Having the autonomy to choose how you would like to die allows us to have a dignified end. The idea that you want to live your life in a wholesome manner all the way till that end can be terribly liberating.
You know it when you want to eat that plate of Char Kway Teow so badly that you start to give less crap about death and more about what makes you happy while you are alive. Like you know for Asians, everything important happens over a meal context. So, if you take away the food, you probably take away a large part of the ‘Living Wellness index’.
Abstinence if you wish. Moderation if you can. If not, just eat lah.
But make sure you have done your advance care plan first.