Friday, January 30, 2009

How much is the life of a dog worth?

A dog was trapped between two walls. A lot of people had tried a lot of ways to get it out, to no avail. The dog was getting weaker and obviously could not last much longer.

One way to rescue the dog was to remove a few bricks from one of the walls. Unfortunately, each of the walls was part of an ancestor hall in which villagers worship their ancestors. People were afraid dismantling even part of the walls might cause damage to the “fengshui” and bring bad luck to the villagers. It was asserted that any such action require the consent of all villagers, including those who were overseas - an impossibility given the urgency of the situation. No one was willing to take the responsibility to allow firemen to remove even a few bricks.

Some argued that the ancestors, even if they were actually in a position to be upset, would not really be too upset if a few bricks were removed to save a life. A bad thing was done for a good cause - the ancestors would understand. But the argument fell on deaf ears.

Some villagers put it this way: what is more important? the life of a dog? or the lives of so many villagers? - implying it was obviously (to them anyway) the later. It was a false argument anyway since, as explained in the previous paragraph, it was quite unlikely that the villagers' lives would be adversely affected. Others said too much fuss had been made on a mere dog. Yet others complained that the commotion (people trying to save the dog) was hindering the New Year celebrations in front of the ancestor halls.

In the end the dog was taken out of the walls after being stuck for more than 4 days (no bricks were removed). But it was too late, the poor dog died soon afterwards.

It is yet another sad commentary on the value system of some of us in Hong Kong. It was said that we should respect each other’s beliefs. But I think this is too much. Our actions (or the lack of it) speak louder than our words.


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