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Kaezeel Yeo (29)

PTK Short Response Task
The family is more important than the government, but only to an extent. Family
refers to the people close to you, with whom you have sentimental attachment or at
the very least, share blood ties. The government includes state laws, justice and
politics, which governs and influences our daily lives but in which we largely do not
necessarily invest attachment.
A typical family is the core of society, just as filial piety is the root of all other virtues.
Our family would have raised us up and given us the resources we needed. They
would have shaped our ideals and particularly cultivated our sense of loyalty towards
them. Thus, favouritism and nepotism is inherent in family due to the gratefulness or
at least blood ties we share with them. After all, isnt it an unspoken obligation for our
family to be of upmost priority and importance? Wouldnt it even be a duty for us to
cover up for our family if need be? To cover up for our family is to protect and defend
them even when they have committed a crime and is deemed the right thing to do. In
reality, wouldnt one favour the person he shares a home with than a stranger he
barely knows, at least for the sake of blood ties? The physical and emotional bond a
family shares cannot be rivalled by the government and state laws or the loss of the
If the culprit did not commit the crime with ill-intention and was not aware of the
consequences of his actions, the severity of the crime is alleviated and he would be
less culpable. Even in the eyes of the law, an unintentionally-committed crime
translates to a lighter sentence than that of a person with criminal intent. Thus, one
should cover up for a family members crime, especially if it is just a minor and
unintentional one, out of respect and loyalty to blood ties in the name of filial piety.
After all, blood is thicker than water and before one can care for others, his family
should come first.
However, partiality can only be tolerated to a certain extent. With culprits running
scot-free because of cover-ups, what implications would that have? Notwithstanding
the importance of familial ties, one cannot blindly cover up for the sake of family. This
would ultimately lead to chaos in our society, where crimes would run rampant. As in
Analects 13:18, Fathers cover up for their sons, and sons cover up for their fathers.
Public officers would justify releasing convicts who are members of their family,
defending it with the sugar-coated doctrine that familial obligations transcend state
As in the case of Euthyphro convicting his own father for murder, he reasoned it with
the fact that his father killed in an unjustified manner and for no rhyme or reason.
From the perspective of the killed and his family, would they as well not want to seek

redress and atonement for the perpetrators sin? The slave was also someones son,
brother or uncle. An immoral act, particularly one of gravity and blatant criminal
intent, should not be condoned considering the harm it inflicts on the victim and his
family. While one may not particularly care for the well-being of anothers family,
shouldnt the knowledge that someone, even a family member, has committed a
crime, compel one to report the latter for breaking the law? Hence, the upright thing
to do would be to report the family member, in the name of justice if not the
The argument implies that less harm is done to the victim and his family as long as
the perpetrator lacks criminal intent. However, the crimes intent or lack thereof does
not eclipse the loss done to the victim and even his family. Therefore it is unfair to
say that the crime is less severe due to intent if the victim is overlooked. The
counter-argument says it is only just and reasonable to report a family member for
the wrong done, but fails to account for the fairness of having a loved one report you,
which is tantamount to a betrayal after having shared a sentimental bond. Overall,
the argument is more convincing.
To conclude, family is definitely more important but is not the be all and end all of
society. We still need state laws to govern us. What we need is a compromise
between state and the family. Perhaps if the crime committed is a light one, the
family should cover up for the culprit. However, if the crime committed is a grave one
or a repeated offense, it cannot be looked past for the sake of family and should
instead be reported to do justice to the victim.