Monday, June 6, 2011

To Hell With Cultural Relativism

This week I am taking a very different direction and making a political statement. I promise to go back to music-related stuff soon.

The CBC has been covering a story about luxury condo residents who don't want a palliative care facility built next to their luxury apartment building on the UBC campus.  Read about it here:

Apparently, having sick and dying people nearby brings 'bad energy' and offends their traditional Chinese cultural beliefs.  The spokesman for a group of condo owner and Chinese community leaders, David Choi, has asked for a more 'humanistic solution' meaning, as I understand it, that they should just build the thing elsewhere.  This kind of garbage just infuriates me.  The idea that all cultural beliefs are somehow to be automatically valued and respected is ridiculous.  There are traditional cultures who hate gays, who kill female children, who enslave other people, who hate on the basis of skin colour, who abuse their children as a matter of course, who treat animals inhumanely etc etc etc.   Are these ideas to be respected and valued in our country? NO.  Some cultural traditions and beliefs are simply not worth keeping.  They have no place in our society.  Thank goodness that some of the negative cultural values brought here by my ancestors (including racism, homophobia, and classism) are no longer accepted by the majority of Canadians.

Palliative care facilities are there to provide comfort and care to the sick and the dying and to give them a calm and quiet place to spend their last moments.  The beautiful environs of UBC are an ideal location for such a facility.  I have been to a few places like the one planned for UBC.  The feeling in and around them is beautiful and tranquil and many of the people who work in them are wonderfully kind and caring.  The design of this hospice appears to be very attractive and aesthetically in balance with the neighbourhood. The residents of that hospice are certainly not going to be making a lot of noise with loud parties or taking up a lot of street parking.  Real estate values will not be affected except in the case of potential buyers who harbour ignorant and backward beliefs.  As far as I can see, there are no legitimate reasons to oppose the builiding of this facility.

To Mr. Choi and the members of his group I ask a simple question.  Where and how do YOU want to die?  Should we ship you off to some dark corner of an industrial park where your dying won't offend someone's delicate sensibilities? If you don't want to live in a country where we treat sick and dying people with the utmost love and respect, then go live somewhere else.


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