I always tickle a few good friends when they ask about my blood pressure readings. I would reply that I haven't had one for a lo-ooo-ong time (to live up to part of my name)! they stare at me for a moment i.e. momentarily (a longer word for a longer stare...), and I glibly add: "Ignorance is Bliss." I don't like to, and haven't mastered the art of adding "lah" at the end to make it sound natural, ah, but I digress. That's the advantage of Blogging instead of news-writing as one can go off tangent and there is no sub (that is sub-editor for those not exposed to journalism lingo, and this is language unique to media...) to bring you back into line!
Back to my blood presure story. I told MGF (that is for myGOODfriend from now on) this morning that I prefer not to know my readings regularly, and in fact I had gone without medication for one lo-oo-ong week one time. He remarked, with a slightly dropped jaw and an even lo-oooo-onger stare, that I was completely irresponsible, and it was dereliction of duty of the higest order, to myself!!! (3 exclamation marks for his raised voice, which I seldom do in my writings, this is definitely an exception.)
Well, I was sharing with MGF and another The Star page 1 report with headline stating April 30 stays, and subhead: Ignorance can be very expensive, with Deputy Finance Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen saying that there will be no extension of the April 30 deadline for submitting tax returns and settling tax dues.
She added the warning that "Every citizen must know his or her responsibility to pay taxes. Ignorance can be very expensive."
I read and re-read the whole report, but nowhere could I find how and why ignoring the responsibility, or not knowing about the responsility, can be expensive.
Of course, being an educated citizen, I can guess the unsaid message: that the tax evader/(ignorer?) will be penalised with a fine, commensurate with the quantum, and maybe, the period of being late, in paying up. But (is the journalist) are the journalists not guilty of omitting the details -- the how and why of the 5Ws and 1H of reporting? For those not acquainted again with journalese, the 5Ws are who, what, where, when and why plus the 1H is how?
Another friend (less informed, nevertheless always passing stories to me he heard on the market grapevine!) at the breakfast table said he heard the dealine is June 30, not end-April. He was adamant about his information being correct.
To me, ignorant can mean two things, i.e. not knowing, and knowing, but choosing not to cat accordingly.
Both MGF and I told our mutual friend he was ignorant, i.e., not knowing of the fact (as proven by the news report in front of him, unless the reporters were wrong), and now that he had been informed of the fact, he has no excuse for not submitting his income tax returns before the end of this month. His failure to meet the deadline means he's guily of dereliction of duty as a good citizen.
Me, I know the fact that not checking my blood pressure regularly and taking my medication every day is dangerous to my health. MGF reprimanded me that my case is a good example of knowing, yet not taking appropriate action, as I choose to practise the silly dictum: Ignorance is bliss!
Both my market friend and I are guilty of dereliction of duty, but mine is life-threatening, whereas his is only an expensive exercise hitting his pocket!
PS: I've heard the most dangerous profession is that of psychiatry, as I had read a survey report dating back some years that psychiatrists ranked the highest of suicides committed by professional groups. For journalists, my anecdoctal evidence is that almost one in two journalists is on hypertension (high blood pressure) medication by the age of 40! (This is not authoritative viewpoint from a medical perspective, be forewarned, merely a journalist sharing his salt of 30 years.)
So desiderata's advice is: don't lead your children up the ward or down the 4th estate, there is a high and higher price to pay. Another advice to my friends addicted to high blood pressure pills, take it without fail daily like your wife would that pill to prevent pregnancy. Then say your prayers; remember me in thine (the prayer, not the pill, silly!).