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Corruption – a fruit now ripe to be picked

We hope that corruption will one day be a thing of the distant past

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To open the eyes of the ones involved in corruption is the only way to prevent a recurrence and turn the tide, by Ramesh Ganapathy.

Wealth is that which has been taken from the earth, and power is the faith and trust given by society to any one person. These two serve as the currencies of the corrupt and have a temporary shelf life.

These two factors of wealth and power have played havoc in societies around the world over the last few hundred years and turned the science of statecraft into the politics of denial of theft.

Fear, bigotry hate, racism, fanaticism and xenophobia are but weapons harnessed and used to perfection by those who hanker after power and wealth.

But why have we been seeing a rise of such individuals globally; why do they seem unstoppable?

I used to always carry a weapon on the tough streets I grew up in… but being a novice to the use of such weapons, that didn’t helped when my back was against the wall. We can convince ourselves at times that we can harness that which we fear in order to protect ourselves – to control that which has controlled us before – but we would be very wrong.

A weapon’s aim is destruction, and those who use it will eventually come to understand that it will eventually cause hurt to the one who wields it. The reason leaders of today use weapons of hate, fanaticism and xenophobia without thought is that the rebound effects of such weapons takes a good measure of time.

Unless you are are observant enough, you would not see how the same weapons you deploy to hurt others will one day be used on you or on those you hold dear.

Add to this situation the rewriting of history by the victor, the denial of truth through censorship, and the banishment of critical thinking from our education system – and we have the perfect social setting for a rewrite of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

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We need to move away from weapons and seek out tools – tools that build, that show the way. Tools that open our eyes, not blind them.

To stem corruption, we cannot deploy weapons such as property seizure, punishment, imprisonment, etc – not when the corruption has spread to encompass almost every person in society.

Corruption is the game that rules the nations and the big businesses of today; and the leaders throughout these nations and corporations are naturally the most adept at this game. This does not mean such people are naturally wicked or morally bankrupt. It just means that the world has taught them the rules of gaining success, and they have learnt this lesson thoroughly and well.

To move away from this paradigm, a relearning is necessary – which requires the establishment of a new paradigm.

This “new” paradigm is forgiveness to “reward” pain, compassion to “balm” hurt egos, humour to “instruct” tough and hardened pride, and truth to speak to each other from the heart.

That honesty needs to be sold as a new coin in an old market surprises even me as I write this. But though it is the oldest currency, we have become blind to it for far too long.  For too long, we’ve disrobed and shamed honesty whilst masquerading falsehoods in its name – and we’ve done this long enough to not even recognise honesty if it lit a fire under our comfy armchairs, where we sit stuffing our face with rhe latest gossip on news channels.

How then can some simple old tools achieve any change in this sophisticated world of illusory integrity and rampant corruption?

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Actually, how can it not, when every weapon of corruption has gradually become exposed and is now open to the masses for inspection? How can it not, when the germs that make up society are seeing the mushrooming effects of corrupt leaders on their own offspring?

It is the capability to access information rapidly in this information age that has given us an important tool in hand. But to succeed, we must both learn to enhance the tool and wield it at the same time to make a better future for ourselves.

For example, forgive those who have taken but make them sign off on allowing society to record correctly their corrupt mistakes and to instruct future generations. Essentially, get the scoop on what transpired and get them to sign off on the rights to broadcast it.

If the need for wealth and power led the countless corrupt of today into their false ways, then let them keep their wealth and power – for it is their weakness in this birth. But show the world that such people have erred and let them not fool others and themselves into thinking they are immortal gods.

Let our children not learn from the corrupt of today that people will soon forget wickedness and moral corruption. We should shun the morally corrupt… and as one society. It should be a societal norm to have a poor opinion of morally corrupt behavior. Only a change in our societal norms will change the kind of leaders we have.

It is true that leaders are but the great enablers of their followers. Leaders cannot exist without followers to support them. What the masses that follow are willing to accept as the minimum moral compass of a leader will eventually lead to such an individual being allowed to lead.

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In today’s Germany, most have recognised the genocide that was Hitler’s rule and there is constant talk about some of the atrocities that happened in a bid to showcase to their society how terrible society’s bid for wealth and power in Hitler’s Germany was.

The point of such action is of course not to have a repeat. It is bruising to national pride and ego for sure but, it shows a ‘strength of character’ to be able to recognise a society’s past transgressions – another old value that has vanished in modern societies’ march to sophistication –

But would we be letting corrupt leaders get away without punishment [if they are forgiven – though their deeds are not forgotten]? Will that not send the wrong message to our kids? Two points here: first, we are equally to blame for tolerating corrupt behaviour, and second, punishment doesn’t work for intelligent beings.

To open the eyes of the ones committing a crime is the only way to stop a recurrence. Maiming or cruelly punishing them just makes for a bloodthirsty society… and bloodthirsty, mindless societies will eventually choose ruthless and morally corrupt leaders to lead them.

It is an idealistic nightmare for most; especially when the pragmatic questions of food and shelter come into the picture. But is this not the synthesis of all religion: to work tirelessly and without fear towards self-purification? Has there been any spiritual or religious guide who has come and gone who has ever said such a path should also be convenient to follow?

Kedah-born Ramesh Ganapathy is a broadcast consultant by profession who has worked in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Middle East.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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