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Sado-Masochistic Charity

AS ANOTHER WEEKEND APPROACHES, i dread the prospect of yet another so-called charity show on TV.

Someone really should put a stop to this kind of pointless suffering and warped 'righteousness' -- where the lives of many healthy people are put at risk in the name of charity. There's a sado-masochistic ring to the whole thing. The 'sufferings' are self-inflicted, artificial and completely avoidable. Reminds me of cruel gladiator shows in ancient Rome, bull fights in Spain and staged wrestling shows in modern day.

A number of the artistes are almost literally putting dangerous sharp objects (spears, darts, swords, bees, etc.) against their own bodies (throats, backs, feet, arms, legs, etc.) and sending 'threatening' messages, "Please donate -- see how much I'm suffering."

And the audience, if they are donating out of genuine compassion, wouldn't a good entertainment show with touching video excerpts of real sufferings (e.g., of the kidney patients) suffice? Instead, show organizers and supporters of charities like the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and Ren Ci Hospital apparently see the need to entice donations through greed (in NKF's case), guilt ("Don't kill or maim yourself, I'll donate."), or worse, sadism ("Now, I've got my money's worth of entertainment.").

What are we Singaporeans turning into? A gracious or vicious people?

PERHAPS SOME MIGHT ASSOCIATE what these artistes do with the self-mortification of many saints. As an online friend V. asked, "Is self-imposed suffering different and acceptable only when one associates a spiritual value or a religious purpose to it?"

Frankly, i cannot see why the saints should do such things though i've read about them. Self-denials are understandable. As another online friend S. put it, "Mortification of the flesh works to control temptations of the flesh and to turn one's attention to the spirit. Sorta like the way atheletes train hard to win a race. thus you don't refer to weight lifting as sado-masochistic -- so mortification can have that function."

But self-torture or self-mutilation? If they actually ask for my approval (which is very unlikely), i'll say, "No" too. ;-)

In any case, these saints don't do such things and then tell others, "Please do as I want (e.g., donate money), because look! See how much I'm suffering!"

Speaking of this reminds me of people like Gandhi from India and Aung San Suu Kyi from Mynamar who went on hunger strikes to make political statements. i believe they did such things because the stakes at hand are critical and urgent, they had no other recourse, and they did not want to choose violence. i respect them for this. Note too they were practising self-denial, and not self-torture or self-mutilation.

Yes, i believe that the people NKF is helping need to be helped. i still donate to NKF on a regular basis. However, NKF can and do raise money in many other more meaningful ways to appeal to people's sympathy and generosity. According to The Straits Times, NKF has around 260,000 regular donors. If the average donation is $10 a month, it would have more than $26 million a year. If $30 a month, it would have more than enough to keep running every year, without additional funding. Yes, times can be uncertain. But NKF has a reserve of around $189 million which can keep it running for more than three years, and the reserve in turn can yield about $4 million in interest alone (if the rate is only two percent).

What i'm trying to say is: NKF is not in a desperate situation to merit such desperate measures.

All said, I realize that I cannot expect everyone to have the same perspective as me. Can only pray and hope that God would open the eyes of enough people to put a stop to these 'senseless sufferings'.

by tree#138680 on Wed Apr 14 04 11:11 pm | profile


Just how many regular donors does NKF have? And what's the average monthly donation? One moment, i read in The Straits Times that one in three Singaporeans donate to NKF. Another moment, the number is around 260,000. Then, yesterday, a commentary by Susan Long stated that "NKF's bread and butter is the $3 to $5 monthly Giro donations from about one million ordinary Singaporeans".

i cannot understand this. When i did a casual check with a few existing donors last week, the average donation amount is $10 (or more) a month. How was the "$3 to $5 monthly" figure derived?

Another mystery? If not for so many important urgent matters pressing for my time right now, i would certainly want to investigate this.

Posted by: tree#138680 on Tue Apr 20 04 10:44 pm

I personally do not watch the NFK shows. Not only do they not appeal to me, they are also shown (thank goodness!) at a time when I am most busy. But reading about the stunts that the actors/actresses go through makes me wonder how much more fantastical and dangerous stunts will they dream of the next time around. I dread to think of it. A few performers have already injured themselves over the past couple of years.

No, I do not donate to the NFK. I think there are other more worthy causes to contribute to. One of them is my church. She is more in need of donations than the NFK.

Posted by: CatholicLady on Wed Aug 18 04 3:07 am

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