Integrity. You know, that old chestnut…


The year is drawing to a close. Much has happened along the way. Much changed, and much that remains the same.

So here I was last week, mulling my thoughts about the events of the year and trying to write a post that means something, to end the year…and failing miserably.

Until something happened last night. Let me tell you a li’l anecdote from last night’s Christmas party at the office. Invited a friend to join us.

We had a little competitive cookout and at the end of the day, the entry with most votes win a cash prize. Yours truly lost, apparently quite narrowly.

But that’s ok cos we had a lotta fun anyway, and that was the whole idea; doing something fun together.

This friend of mine, who didn’t know there was a cash prize, exclaimed, “why didn’t you tell me? I would have voted for you.”

I told her then that she probably voted for the best dish in her opinion, and since the majority thought so, the other team deservedly won.

She said, “But its cash, we could go to B****** again. I said it isn’t fair to influence votes that way.

When I got home, I started thinking about it, and realised how easy it was to compromise integrity for instant gratification.

As in, “I don’t care whether you are good or not, but I will vote you because XXX amount of money is at stake here.”  That was small money, but if it was that easy to sway one, there must be something wrong with our moral fibre (pardon the cliche).

The seeds of evil collusion and corruption are sown with something as small as this, come to think of it. And that is profoundly depressing.

Daily these days, we Malaysians read of some form of graft taking place. We rail at the authorities for excessive spending, rampant abuse of power, misuse of taxpayers’ money…bla bla bla.

But who are these guys? Us. Period. These were Malaysians who were appointed to a position of trust in bureaucracy, elected to positions in the executive, put as an arbiter of justice in the legal system, trusted to protect and preserve order and peace in the police department.

Why did they screw up so royally? Because, while many of us learnt about religion, few of us were taught or was interested to learn something called INTEGRITY.

Let me regale you with another anecdote. A few months ago, I had a reunion with some schoolmates. During one of the many boisterous banters, a close friend quipped to another friend who had political ambitions …”Baguslah you jadi YB,  senang nanti nak mintak tolong dapat tanah…”

This friend was clearly oblivious to the reigning political climate when she said it, but it does illustrate the prevailing mindset of many out there.

If I were to say to my friend that it qualifies as corrupt thinking, she’ll be horrified. But the sad truth is, the “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” disease has become systemic to an extent that people can’t tell right from wrong anymore.

Until it comes back to bite you in the ass.

Until then, you will continue to make exceptions to rules. Continue to say, this is not wrong cos i’m doing it for charity, for greater good; this is a victimless crime, this is for loyalty, i’m helping my brother, my race comes first…yada yada yada.

There is plenty of religion everywhere I look these days, but very little personal  integrity.

Same dude who makes floral offerings at a temple every other morning, steals from a disaster relief fund.

Same guy who prays 5 times a day looks the other way when his subordinate kills a man in lock up.

The same guy who never misses Sunday mass, goes home and rapes his own domestic help.

These specimens live and thrive in our society, cos hey, they are just a bit further along in the scale of corruption than you and me.

On that beautiful note, I wish you a happy ending of 2010 and look forward to 2011.

Much to look forward to. In the coming election, the incumbent government will be spending billions to buy your vote…

…with your own money. Don’t believe me? Look, it has already started.

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2 thoughts on “Integrity. You know, that old chestnut…

  1. Where have you been all these while?

    Merry chirstmas and a happy new year .
    May you find all that you seek in 2011.
    Ps dont work so hard lah ! Spare some energy to help out in GE13.
    All the best.

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