Paper Pledges

When my mother died, they came for her eyes. We didn’t have a good relationship, so what she might or might not have wanted wasn’t for me to say. In any case, in Singapore, organ donation is the default. You have to opt out if you don’t want to give your body to Science. Capital S Science, that’s how she put it. My daughter thinks she’s so smart, she’s studying capital S Science, she’s going to be a big-shot doctor, she’s too good for us. I was going to be a doctor, but I didn’t think any of the other things, the bit about being smart, or too good for her. Those were her assumptions. Another assumption of hers: that she would live forever, that the packets of herbs and ground roots she got from the temple would guarantee health, that capital S Science was godless, and that Western medicine was a scam. She didn’t want to know anything about my field of study, my specialization, my internships, the hospital. That’s probably why she didn’t realize about her organs. That once she heaved her last breath, everything she had left unaccounted for would revert to state ownership: her heart, her liver, her remaining kidney, her eyes.

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