When values’ real name is money

The recent case of the violent aggression against an elderly lady in a wheelchair perpetrated by her own daughter, filmed in the middle of the city and published in social media, chillingly shows the gradual and inexorable loss of values in Macau. The assault, now being handled by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, says so much about the lack of sensitivity and follow-up procedures by the responsible official authorities. According to information released by the media, the daughter had reached a psychological breaking point. If the reports are confirmed, then the momentary loss of reason is comprehensible, even if the insane act itself is unforgivable. The daughter had quit her job to take care of her elderly invalid mother and a mentally handicapped brother. Any one of us can imagine the tremendous pressure the daughter must have been under and that disaster was only a matter of time, since no-one was available to detect and properly follow up on the situation. No-one detected the problem, despite the fact that the family’s situation was known to the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS). The Bureau must be convinced that all it takes is to throw money at problems and they’ll magically be sorted, which is quite a materialistic and rather insidious logic that has been gaining currency in this small city. The explanation from one of the IAS officials couldn’t have been more disheartening: the IAS was giving money to the family. Now that the evil deed was done, the IAS will pay them more attention. From time immemorial, that’s been the mantra of many Macau Government officials: guaranteeing that they’ll take into consideration the negative results of audits and that they’ll be more attentive but only after the cases are made public. Apparently, no-one is capable of anticipating these sorts of problems. If the IAS doesn’t have capable people, then hire competent staff wherever they may be. If the current IAS leadership does not have the ability to perform as expected, then they should resign or be fired. This strategy of subsidising families and ‘forgetting’ to provide around-the-clock professional and personal psychological support if necessary is a complete regression of the values that presided over the creation of the institution – and the services it is expected to provide to the community.