In today?s issue of The Star Business it was reported that Astro is going to raise its monthly subscription by RM5 effective May 24. Jeff Ooi commented on this in Screenshots. This additional RM5 may add a whopping RM83 million to its annual sales based on the 1.39 million subscribers Astro currently has.
My favourite channels are the Discovery Travel & Adventure, AXN, Discovery, National Geographic and Star World. I am appalled by the oft repeated programmes, some which I have watched two years ago. Watching these is like going through a d?j? vu every few weeks. While we cannot deny that some of those learning channels have opened our eyes to sights we have never seen and taken us to scenes we can only dream of, it has also cultivated a generation of idiot box worshippers whose lives revolves around and are regimented by television programmes.
The pay-TV operator said in the May edition of its viewers’ guide that it would raise monthly subscription rates by RM5 after May 24 ?to improve the variety of programmes and channels.” Astro expects to ?deliver over a hundred channels by next year, courtesy of a new Measat 3 satellite.” It did not elaborate.
The Star Business, April 27, 2004.
What I am against of is that the raise in subscription price does not correspond to an increase in service. If it is in the works, it was neither announced nor elaborated as evident by the excerpt above. This is a sure-fire way to increase one?s coffer without doing much. I am not about to pay Astro for it to finance its expansion of services which I have to fork out more again if I want to subscribe to those extra channels later.
Unless Astro can justify the price increase, I will have no qualms in ending my subscription. It is unfortunate that I was taken in by one of their free decoder promotions. I am bound to maintain and keep active the account for twelve months or pay RM500. There are a few more months to go before the twelve-month period is up. I shall just have to wait and see if the increase is warranted.
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We are a society of reactive people but that is not our fault. We each have our own cross to bear that blinds us to the needs of others who are less fortunate. Most times, we are caught up in the daily grind of trying to make ends meet, trying to meet deadlines, trying to keep our sanity intact. We have one thousand and one trivial chores in our minds that barely leave enough room for the essential and the genuinely important concerns that should capture our attention.
Following the news of the totally paralysed man in Hong Kong who had asked the legislators there to start a motion to legalise euthanasia yesterday, the Direction Association for the Handicapped (DAH) has initiated a fund raising drive to raise HK$5 million (RM2.4 million) to help him, identified by the media as Peng Chai. The news link is here.
The DAH is an organisation that serves the severely disabled people in Hong Kong. The amount raised will be used to acquire an electric-powered wheelchair and a portable respirator, both which would allow him a great amount of mobility and the luxury of going home, where two maids will be hired to look after him. For a man who has lived thirteen years of his life in a hospital bed, this progression will be freedom unparalleled.
On all accounts, Peng Chai is a courageous and thoughtful man. He did not want to burden his family. Only those who are nursing a family member who is totally and permanently paralysed will know the amount of mental pain and the intense labour that goes into the caring. To him, death was the only way out. To a caring society, his death wish was a slap in the face. More could have been done to help him, and that is exactly what they are doing now, only after the story was highlighted in the media. This should not be the case. Why now only after thirteen years? Still, it is never too late. I pray that Peng Chai will accept the offers of assistance and go on living. The quality of life should not be measured by health and physical abilities alone. It is the mind that makes all the difference.
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What do you do when a loved one faces prolonged suffering after all treatment options have been exhausted? What should we do when he pleads to us to help him end his sufferings? Do we continue to allow him suffer the physical and psychological pain until he passes on naturally? Or do we help him fulfil his wish?
The patient does not suffer the pain alone. It takes its toll on his family and those close to him, too. What can be more distressing than seeing a loved one who had always been active and healthy deteriorate to a state where his every need has to be taken care of? What can we do when the pain eats into his very heart and we have to wait for another three hours for his next dose of pain killers?
I am greatly disturbed after reading about the paralysed man in Hong Kong (reported here and here) who pleaded for the right to die. Being a quadriplegic myself, I can partially relate to the torment that he has to go through day after day. Unlike him, I can look after myself to a certain extent. However, he is totally paralysed, needs everything to be done for him, and breathes with the help of a machine. In addition to that, chronic and acute disabilities like this put a great mental and financial strain on his family as well.
“I lie in bed 24 hours a day,” the man wrote by tapping on a computer keyboard with his chopsticks. “I need other people’s help to eat, urinate, clean my body, turn around and sleep. I am a total invalid and a financial and mental burden to my family.”
The Strait Times, 21 April, 2003.
The question is do we help him execute his desire or do we deny him his appeals to end this torment? My faith disallows euthanasia but I have my own personal opinions regarding this issue. My views on this may be flawed and could still be based on my experiences and beliefs before I converted. Nevertheless, euthanasia is against the law in most countries. If so, how then can we improve on the quality of life of people like him who have already given up hope and looking forward to be delivered from their sufferings? Palliative care alone is truly not sufficient.