Monday, July 7, 2008

Making decisions

There was a nice posting on my egroup today. Reading it make me reflect on two events that happened last week. First, here is the posting:-

Making Decisions

A group of children were playing near two railway tracks, one still in use while the other disused. Only one child played on the disused track, the rest on the operational track.

The train is coming, and you are just beside the track interchange. You can make the train change its course to the disused track and save most of the kids. However, that would also mean the lone child playing by the disused track would be sacrificed. Or would you rather let the train go its way?

Let's take a pause to think what kind of decision we could make........ ........

Most people might choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice only one child. You might think the same way, I guess. Exactly, to save most of the children at the expense of only one child was rational decision most people would make, morally and emotionally. But, have you ever thought that the child choosing to play on the disused track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place?

Nevertheless, he had to be sacrificed because of his ignorant friends who chose to play where the danger was. This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday. In the office, community, in politics and especially in a democratic society, the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are, and how farsighted and knowledgeable the minority are. The child who chose not to
play with the rest on the operational track was sidelined. And in the case he was sacrificed, no one would shed a tear for him.

The great critic Leo Velski Julian who told the story said he would not try to change the course of the train because he believed that the kids playing on the operational track should have known very well that track was still in use, and that they should have run away if they heard the train's sirens. If the train was diverted, that lone child would definitely die because he never thought the train could come over to that track!

Moreover, that track was not in use probably because it was not safe. If the train was diverted to the track, we could put the lives of all passengers on board at stake! And in your attempt to save a few kids by sacrificing one child, you might end up sacrificing hundreds of people to save these few kids.

While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made, we may not realize that hasty decisions may not always be the right one.

"Remember that what's right isn't always popular... and what's popular isn't always right."

Everybody makes mistakes; that's why they put erasers on pencils.

Event number one.

A colleague with more than twenty years experience in the business, stood up to voice out her concern about losing focus of our core business. There were just too many ad hoc programmes which impinge seriously on some of our schedule.

Boss was gracious enough to 'accept' the comment during the meeting.

But guess what? The next day there was news of a repercussion for giving an opinion in a meeting. One after the other colleague thinks she should have taken it to the side behind boss's closed door.Although she was on the right track, vox populi sidelined her far sightedness.

Event number two.

I set up an egroup and named it exssssssHD. Exssssss because I am an ex student of SSSSSS. HD stands for Heavy Discussion.

After more than half a year, a newly elected president of the alumni's association which is registered as EXSSS caught whiff of my egroup. He asked me privately to explain what exsssssssHD is all about and subsequently 'asked me nicely' to change the name. He insisted to have it put on record that he had asked me nicely. Others have abide by his request in his capacity as a president of the alumni.

I posted my answer to his question on another egroup which actually belongs to him copied of course to my own egroup concurring to his request. Included in my answer was my opinion that rather than asking me to change the name, why not make it compulsory for such like groups to register with the alumni association and have the president or his representative join the groups to keep an eye and disseminate information.

I received a few brickbats for my posting.

Some of my friends thought I should quietly abide to the request and not make a mountain out of a molehill.

Some thought it was morally wrong of me to have my own group and discuss issues on it.

No one sees the logic of my suggestion. Some even missed the last line in which I proclaimed my group closed !!! Ssshhhheeeeeezzzzz !!!

I set up the group AFTER the owner of the other group announced [few times] to close it down.

Also, many members of the other group abhor long postings of heavy topics.

Furthermore, there was no legal complication whatsoever with naming the group as I did.

I believe there was no reason for the president to ask me to change the name. In fact by doing so, he has encroached on MY right. He is telling me what to do in matters beyond his jurisdiction.

I am an ex student and a member of the alumni. Does that give the president of the alumni the right to DICTATE what name I give to my egroup? Or rather, what name NOT to give.

Legally and morally, I am convinced I did not commit any wrong doing.

Just as it was not 'becoming' for my colleague to state opinion in a meeting, so is it for me for not giving way to the president of an alumni.

Huh! Whatever was it that actually caused PRU12 tsunami? Paradigm shift or ???

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