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Game For An Exit Strategy?

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Game For An Exit Strategy?
Hwang Dong-hyuk, the creator of Squid Game is at it again. Can’t wait!
In Squid Game, he revealed the sordid parody of modern life; a violent dark satire on income inequality that we can all relate to. It was gloriously over-the-top. Adults playing children’s games. It was ridiculous but felt real. The tension between the two was what hooked us.
Now he is developing a new film provisionally titled Killing Old People Club. Details are hazy, but he promises that it will be more violent than Squid Game. Imagine that. He says was inspired by a novel by Umberto Eco, that intellectual polyglot.
Once again, Hwang Dong-hyuk is slamming headfirst, all lit up in neon, into what we tiptoe around.
When will these old fogies exit already?
They cost a lot of money to keep alive but do not contribute usefully to society. When old people can no longer serve any purpose to society, what are they for? Off with them!
This is not a new theme. There is a Shirley Jackson’s 1948 short story “The Lottery”. It is about a fictitious small town that was indistinguishable from all the other small towns but for one small tradition. This was an annual lottery where a randomly selected person was executed. It created a furore which surprised the New Yorker, which published it.
Then there was the Charlton Heston film, Soylent Green (1973), a dystopian novel set in 2022, where nothing works if you’re the hoi polloi. Slightly based on Harry Harrison’s novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966), the film extends the theme of over population and climate change to show old people being repurposed as nutrition.
We may not have reached this stage yet, but there’s something too familiar about all these dark future perspectives.
I imagine Hwang Dong-hyuk will be more graphic, brutal and controversial than before in this new venture and I look forward to his perverse but irresistible logic. We pussyfoot around old age and death too much.
During the Covid period, a number of countries adopted as official policy, that old people in nursing homes who contracted Covid-19 could be left to die. There was no need to even waste vaccines on them. Cost benefit analysis. Better use of resources.
The extended artificial palliative care period was unfortunate, but utterly and inexorably rational.
Rationality works against the old. I read a letter to the editor on the difficulty older people have in sometimes going to banks. The doorways are sometimes too narrow and often there are no ramps, only stairs. The writer asked how her parent could do her banking.
I was surprised at some responses. One indignant correspondent did not understand what the fuss was about. He pointed out that the old person could simply send a younger family member in her stead by filling in a few forms.
He missed entirely the point of autonomy and pride. It may be these don’t matter to the younger administrators who slip into gleaming new roles. To them the elderly are just vestiges of inefficiency. Parts of a population that no longer serve a purpose. Like an appendix or a tonsil. Useless but occasionally painful till you are rid of it.
Recently, taxis and private car hires have been increasingly hard to find. Twice last week, when I was at work, I could not get a taxi or car for my mother for two hours. She was exasperated.
What was she supposed to do, I wonder, given that she does not drive and buses and the MRT would be too strenuous for her to manage? I see no official recognition of the problem.
I suppose the way to go is don’t be so busy. Stay home and be by yourself. If you’re old you are obliged to have a second childhood even while mentally alert.
I read recently that the authorities are doing away with paper birth and death certificates. They will be issued electronically. All you will have to do apparently, is download an app on your smartphone. No smartphone? Tough. Get with the programme. It does not matter that some older folk prefer things real, with a tactile feel. They will just have to let go.
All is not doom and gloom. Traveling costs 93 cents per trip regardless of distance and number of changes between buses and trains. A steal. Cinema tickets come at a discount. Moan a bit and you get a seat on a crowded train. Not too bad if you are in good health.

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Ravi Samuel

Lawyer and avid reader, he likes to speak plainly to get the message across.

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