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Decision Making – Majority vs Minority, Popular vs Right


It’s Friday.

Let us be philosophical for a while. Forget the chaostic world out there and take a little time to think. Today, I am going to share a story on decision making I received from a friend. Some of you probably came across this story before, it’s quite an old story but worth to just read it again.

Good things last forever, it’s only wise for us to ponder over it, again and again because it is only too natural for us to forget. It is good to have a reminder every now and then, it rejuvenates and prepares us for the coming days.

A group of children were playing near two railway tracks, one still in use while the other disused. Only one child played on the disused track, the rest on the operational track.

The train came, and you were just beside the track interchange. You could make the train change its course to the disused track and saved most of the kids.

However, that would also mean the lone child playing by the disused track would be sacrificed. Or would you rather let the train go its way?

Let’s take a pause to think what kind of decision we could make.

How do you decide? What’s your decision and why?

Take a second to think before scrolling down.

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Have you decided?

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The answer:

Most people might choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice only one child. You might think the same way, I guess.

Exactly, I thought the same way initially because to save most of the children at the expense of only one child was rational decision most people would make, morally and emotionally.

But, have you ever thought that the child choosing to play on the disused track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place?

Nevertheless, he had to be sacrificed because of his ignorant friends who chose to play where the danger was.

This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday. In the office, community, in politics and especially in a democratic society, the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are, and how farsighted and knowledgeable the minority are.

The child who chose not to play with the rest on the operational track was sidelined. And in the case he was sacrificed, no one would shed a tear for him.

The friend who forwarded me the story said he would not try to change the course of the train because he believed that the kids playing on the operational track should have known very well that track was still in use and that they should have run away if they heard the train’s sirens.

If the train was diverted, that lone child would definitely die because he never thought the train could come over to that track!

Moreover, that track was not in use probably because it was not safe. If the train was diverted to the track, we could put the lives of all passengers on board at stake! And in your attempt to save a few kids by sacrificing one child, you might end up sacrificing hundreds of people to save these few kids.

While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made, we may not realize that hasty decisions may not always be the right one.

“Remember that what’s right isn’t always popular… and what’s popular isn’t always right.”

Radiohead – A Reminder

ps: Guess what? I was going to say, let’s spare the smart kid.

pss: Have a nice weekend my friends! I am going to Similajau, hiking and enjoy the beautiful greenery tomorrow. (I think..)

pss: I am doing fine in Miri. Thanks for asking!

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22 Responses to “Decision Making – Majority vs Minority, Popular vs Right”

  1. pakdi wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    a very good philosophical discussion.

    [Reply]

  2. aman wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    wow..great article..
    aku pun first ingat slamatkan bebudak yang ramai tue, tapi dah memang salah diorang bermain kat tempat bahaya. patut selamatkan budak yang sowang tue jerk..

    [Reply]

  3. bongkersz wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks for dropping by Aman 🙂

    Sekali baca, aku pun fikir penyelesaian yang sama. Baca lagi sekali, baru sedar mengapa perlu selamatkan budak-budak yang ramai dan tidak bertanggungjawab tu.

    Berani buat, berani tanggung. Betul? 🙂

    [Reply]

  4. bongkersz wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Indeed.

    Thanks for dropping by, Pakdi 🙂

    [Reply]

  5. LadyBird wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    wahhhh so the-very-‘bermadah’ your post this time and it is true indeed that those who play safe always end up as ‘mangsa keadaan’.

    cisss g hiking la pulak. kensel la jemputan g makan cendol paling best kat miri ujung minggu tok. malas ku offer gik eh.. 🙁

    [Reply]

  6. bongkersz wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Eh, terlupa lah pulak pasal cendol paling femos di Miri! Plan what time to eat cendol? 😛 Sunday still can make it lah! Hihi… You show the place, I’ll pay the bill, okay? 😀

    [Reply]

  7. roy wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    moral of story: the govt shud provide more playground for kids so that they wont play @ the railtrack, not to mention near the hillside etc etc haha

    fatwa on yoga shud be dropped so that adults too wont be playing @ the railtrack due to boredom etc etc haha

    ps: uh? who is this using my nick and email to comment on my own blog? LOL! edited the nick, email and url. (okay.. clarified)

    [Reply]

  8. roy wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    eh sorry bong, ndak ingat aku kak kansel nama dik tadik haha

    [Reply]

  9. bongkersz wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    cheebuy.. terkejut aku.. enda kerja ka nuan? cesshhh! legi orang ingat tua bisi skandel.. hahaha!

    [Reply]

  10. roy wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    keja, but outlook still gloomy, nobody wants to buy, sellers scared to sell.

    eh, aku googled for flaccid mind just now, and ur nick and email were there by default. luckily i dint edit ur blog content. pegi check diak.

    [Reply]

  11. bongkersz wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Because I logged in using your laptop last time, so the browser auto fill in the name, email address, url 😀

    Don’t think you can log in, but if you can.. log out lah oi! Haha!

    [Reply]

  12. nono wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    too deep. hardly to think.. hardly to decide. seriously 🙄

    [Reply]

  13. NoktahHitam wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Dude, a bit confuse if the the group of kids changed track for what? Fear of derail or for fun?

    When I first read it, I want to be the one child using the unoccupied track. Then, ma chibai, why have to use my track? If you have to use this side of the track, dont kiss my ass.

    You dont have to look far. Just watch the dark knight, the ferry scene. If there is a bomb, and one were to ignite another, whom to kill? Easy. The criminal, fuck humanity when there’s a boat filled with rapist, murderers, public offenders etc. If any of them is innocent, please, spare let God spare them in heaven.

    [Reply]

  14. NoktahHitam wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    aahhh… byk nye error kt atas. Ko betulkan bong, so that it makes sense. Save my water face please. thank you 😛

    [Reply]

  15. sub wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    ponder…
    this world is cruel, or at least those policy makers…

    [Reply]

  16. nono wrote on Dec 12, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    wah.. let’s cendolling with me and amoi. mau? 😛

    [Reply]

  17. mysugoi wrote on Dec 13, 2008 at 2:43 am

    Great post! Interesting question, unpredictable answer with good ending quotes. FYI, when I read the question, my answer was not to change the course of the train cos that would mean i play god to decide to sacrifice that one child. I would be the murderer even though I “save” the others. Anyway, my thoughts of saving those hundred lives was to run near group of kids or attract their attention to warn them, that’s all.

    [Reply]

  18. bongkersz wrote on Dec 15, 2008 at 11:52 am

    That’s the brutal, honest truth my friend! ➡

    [Reply]

  19. atreyu strange wrote on Dec 16, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    ahaa. i chose to save those on the operational track! lol~

    [Reply]

  20. bongkersz wrote on Dec 17, 2008 at 8:28 am

    😛 it’s okay, don’t despair. we make mistakes.. haha!

    [Reply]

  21. Anonymous wrote on Feb 10, 2009 at 1:48 am

    😆 :XO: :vangry: :up: :down:

    [Reply]

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