Charitable coercion

Recently there has been a spate of charity and fund-raising functions in Singapore. No doubt the intentions are generally good. However, inevitably there will be some who become overly eager and end up adopting the ‘hard-sell’ tactics. Worse still are those who feel that they are somehow more superior and berate others into giving ‘voluntarily’ to charity.

I don’t think this is right.

Consider this. If a person is not giving on a particular occasion, does it automatically imply that he is not a generous person? Maybe he/she is having a lousy day at that moment? That does not make a person bad. Sure, objectively perhaps such personal problems may seem trivial compared to the hardships targeted by the charity, but can everyone honestly believe that he/she can behave rationally all the time?

Compassion is both an emotion and a right. Exercising of this right is a matter of choice, and this choice naturally includes the right of not giving, even if this is against the wishes of the rest of the whole world.

For example, what does the sentence “I hate the whole world” mean to you? It can be the result of having a bad day in the office. Or, I may be Max Luther, as in the Superman stories. In fact, the entire world had been destroyed for something even less (according to the Bible). However, I am sure a large portion of the population will not question that God is ultimately good, even though the method may seem perverse to some.

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