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Q1: Longevity is a blessing. Comment.
‘Longevity is a blessing.’ It is interesting to note how in the past, the people in the Chinese courts had to wish their emperors ‘Wan sui’ (thousands of years of long life) and even today, the Chinese wish their elders ‘shou bi nan shan’ (May you live as long as the mountains). We have never really pondered whether by wishing them longevity, we are actually blessing or cursing them. How ever, in my personal opinion, longevity is more of a bless ing than a curse. I shall go on to illustrate how longevity is a blessing and also bring out the fact that by wishing our elders long life, it can be an irony too.
Every moment of life is precious. We should be seizing every opportunity to learn more, acquire deeper knowledge and wisdom throughout our lives. Thus, a long life is a blessing if we see it as an extended opportunity in life to acquire more knowledge, to see how changes have taken place in society, in the world. A long life allows one to compare the past to the present, and see what kind of changes have occurred. Indeed, it is a blessing for the older generation in Singapore to see how fast the country has progressed, from an undeveloped island to a highly modernized country. I would thus consider it a blessing to be able to live through several phases of change in the country and in the world.
Longevity would mean more time on hand to do meaningful things, like doing volunteer work, helping to impart wisdom and knowledge to the younger generations. We can see this in the example of Mother Theresa who has lived to ninety years old. Almost all her life, she has been doing charitable work and as long as she lives, de spite her failing health, she vows to continue her work. If we view life that way, then longevity is a longer opportunity to do good and meaningful things. Thus, longevity is a blessing in this case. Furthermore, as one gets older, one gets wiser too, and more experienced. Thus, people with long lives are those with a storehouse of knowledge and experience. Their knowledge can be tapped upon. People like Richard Nixon, Mother Theresa, who are in their old age are being consulted by the world leaders of today because they have gone through a lot. Similarly, every person who has lived a long life can act as a counsellor to the younger generation. Thus, longevity is a blessing in light of this.
Also, it is a person with a long life who in his last years, gets to reflect upon his life, whether it be the good old days’ or the ‘bad old days. I always feel it must be quite enjoyable for an old person to reflect on, to reminisce on the past, evoking fond memories and how they got through the difficult times. A person with a shorter life would not have the opportunity to do that. He would probably die still in his working days, too busy to reflect on life. In addition, a longer life would simply mean more time to be with the family, friends. Thus longevity is a blessing.
However, as I mentioned before, it can be an irony to wish our elders a long life, that is, longevity can be a curse too. Firstly, the older one gets, the more prone one becomes to sickness, ailments, like heart problems, rheumatism, backache and so on. The old are subjected to poor eyesight, difficulty in hearing, weak bones and slower reaction. They are thus the ones who suffer falls, often get involved in traffic accidents and so on. Thus in a way, we are actually cursing our elders by wishing them long life. Longevity can be a curse too.
To the country, more old people would mean a financial burden on the society and the tax-payers. In society today, very sad to say, old people are being seen as a bur den and even a nuisance. That is why old-folks homes are thriving in Singapore. Longevity can thus become a curse to the country. To reiterate, we are addressing a very controversial issue in the world today. Are old people a burden? Is longevity a blessing or curse? Well, it all depends on the individual. One who wants life to gain knowledge, to do meaningful things would consider longevity. a blessing. However, one who wastes his or her life doing meaningless things or one who is stuck with some incurable illness would probably find longevity a curse.
Nonetheless, I would not want to live too long a life.
(This essay on longevity and health is written within time, similar to actual exam conditions.)