Sunday, January 16, 2011

Death: Overcoming cultural taboos

Here we learn:

Dozens of angry Asian residents of a posh, University of B.C., highrise building aim to stage a placard-waving protest rally to protest a 15-bed hospice being planned next door.

“We cannot have dying people in our backyard,” said rally organizer Janet Fan, Wednesday “It’s a cultural taboo to us and we cannot be close to so many dying people. It’s like you open your door and step into a graveyard.”

[ ... ]

Qing Lin, who bought a Promontory apartment for $900,000 almost a year ago, said she and her seven year old daughter will have nightmares if the hospice goes ahead.

“We believe that people dying outside will bring us bad luck,” she added. “I’m very angry and upset. If I had known it was going to be a hospice, I wouldn’t buy it for half the price.”

- Damian Inwood, “Angry Asian UBC condo owners to protest 'bad luck' hospice”, The Province (January 13, 2011)

Read more.
Qing Lin, I don’t know how to begin, but we are all close to dying people. We are all dying people. Philosophy, say the wise, is learning how to die.

Yes: How to die.

Walk with me a moment.
In the Western world, some decades ago, people had a strange attitude toward death. We wanted to shove it out of our lives. Of course, that meant shoving imminently dying people away too.

Bad idea. On the brink of eternity, people often stop pretending. If we are not there, we will miss it.

Anyway, we started building hospices to integrate people who have not long to live into the community. So we wouldn’t miss them and they wouldn’t miss us.

Here’s an idea: Volunteer at the hospice and, when appropriate, allow your daughter to meet some of the residents. You won’t have nightmares or “bad luck.” You’ll have happy memories and a special blessing.

Hat tip: Blazing Cat Fur

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