Hawaii legalised assisted suicide this week. It becomes the seventh American jurisdiction to do so. Since 1997, the legislatures of Hawaii, Oregon, Washington state, California, Colorado, Vermont and the District of Columbia have passed laws permitting assisted suicide. In Montana, a court decision found that it was legal, but there has been no legislation.
The new law follows the controversial Oregon model. One of the drawbacks of this legislation is its definition of "terminal illness". It is usually understood to be a condition which will lead to death withinn six months or a year. But if a patient decides to spurn all treatment, treatment which could keep them alive for years, his or her illness will automatically become "terminal". This is a flimsy basis for such an important law.
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Unnecessary and expensive cosmetic surgery cops a hiding in BioEdge from time to time for departing from the traditional view of medicine as restoring health instead of reinforcing body image stereotypes.
But what if the body belongs to a large-scaled fish with sage-like whiskers and an aggressive personality?
The New York Times recently ran a feature about the Asian arrowana fish, the world’s most expensive aquarium fish. The cost of a single fish ranges from hundreds of dollars per fish to tens of thousands. A collector from China is said to have purchased an albino specimen for US$300,000. With prices that high Eugene Ng, a Singaporean breeder, can also practice as a piscine cosmetic surgeon.
He gave it an eyelift for the benefit of the NYTimes. “I know some people think it’s cruel to the fish,” says Mr. Ng. “But really I’m doing it a favor. Because now the fish looks better and its owner will love it even more.”
Other procedures include fin jobs and tail tucks.
American journalist Emily Voight, author of The Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World’s Most Coveted Fish, says that the arrowana has a special cachet in Asia, even though its popularity dates back only to the 1980s:
A fish that loyal deserves to have cosmetic surgery!In Chinese, the creature is known as lóng yú, the dragon fish, for its sinuous body plated with large scales as round and shiny as coins. At maturity, the primitive predator reaches the length of a samurai sword, about two to three feet, and can be red, gold or green. A pair of whiskers juts from its chin, and its back half ripples like the paper dragons in a Chinese New Year parade. This resemblance has spawned the belief that the fish brings good luck and prosperity — that it will even commit suicide by vaulting from its tank, sacrificing its life to save its owner.