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Saturday, May 12, 2007
Who deserves the seat? -vwv

Suppose there is a person who was born very weak physically, had some serious coordination problems and somehow was without legs. He had trouble moving around without a wheelchair. But after years of hard work, he managed to overcome his difficulties with the aid of prosthetics and is able to move around like a normal person.

Then there is another person who was initially quite normal. He spends his time watching TV, eating junk food and doing nothing else. One day, he suffers a stroke due to his unhealthy lifestyle. Now he has to rely on crutches to move around and could hardly stand for a few minutes.

If these two guys were a crowded MRT train with only one seat available, who deserves the seat?

-- permalink --
Yiheng made
1:33 PM


You seem to be implying that the guy with the attitude to overcome his disabilities should be more deserving of the seat, but that in real life, people are prone to commit the Type I error of giving the other guy the seat whom you think doesn't deserve it.

I don't think people have the liberty to decide based on those parameters because such background isn't available to them. Even if it is, it would be hardpressed for a person to make any objective assessment of the disabled's 'karma'. More often, it's first come first serve. Or as I would like to think in Singapore, trains are so crowded, bai-kah should just stick to taxis. (typically govt way of thinking omg)

But it's good that people don't think that way. Should we be thinking that we are to reward the 'good' guy with the seat for his efforts in overcoming his odds? Or that we should punish the 'bad' guy cos he totally deserved it for the plight he's in? Allocation of limited resources based on a person's merits may not be a good way forward, because at the end the day, assuming disabilities are equal, both of them need the seat more than any of us.

What about the case for pregnant women? Two single pregnant women of the same age on the train, and one available seat. One smoked, took drugs and slept around with bad company and now had to pay the price. The other was a rape victim but decided to keep the baby. Who would you offer the seat to?

By Blogger Soqcrates, at 1:57 PM  

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