Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Bribery in Malaysia - A question of Values vs Emotions

A friend called me up this morning that made me check out the http://malaysiakini.com website which had the heading of 'news and views that matter'. He was referring to my April Fool's day posting that I had made in this blog and related it to the news he had heard that Malaysiakini was in trouble with the government for their April Fool's prank. (See comments by Ah Chong, no relation, which explains what it was all about)

The issue is about corruption and bribery in our country. While I browsed the website I came across a blog posting by a fellow Malaysian on the topic so I thought I would add my comments which was based on my previous post about Values. The point I made about bribery in my comments is that giving or receiving a bribe is a very natural emotional response that most people will tend to follow. If our mindset does not have a strong foundation of proper values, we tend to become a slave to the body's emotional pull to take the easy way out to stay in the comfort zone. Who wants to take the road that leads to paying more when he could pay less? How about the trouble of finding and going to the right office to pay the fine and find out that there is a very long queue awaiting there to make payment? (How do you think I know all that?)

Additional experiences I like to add here that I didn't do so in the blog I had made my commentary follows: The first happened in Singapore where I had double parked my vehicle and found a ticket on my car windshield when I returned. Since I was leaving the island that night itself, I kept the ticket to pay it on my next visit. A month later I was in Singapore with the same car crossing the causeway. Just as I had my passport cleared at the immigration booth on the Singapore side, a policeman on bicycle directed my car to the office there and mentioned that I had a fine to pay. I told him I remembered it and actually had the ticket with me in my dashboard to pay during this visit. He just smiled and said I could conveniently pay it right at the office there too after the immigration booth which I did. The point here is that the Singapore Government made it even more convenient for a foreigner like me to pay a fine and as I paid it, I even felt happy that I didn't have to waste time looking for the housing estate office where such fines are usually paid. Another experience was in the US where I could pay a speeding ticket in Utah through the internet and a credit card.

Ease of payment can reduce the tempatation to settle through a bribe when issued a summons by one in authority. Better still if we valued honesty more than the short cuts of life that many may offer which in the end weakens us.

This triggers the story of the hungry bird that saw a man with a bag of worms. One feather is all I want said the man to the bird for a worm. The bird thought, well I could afford that and endured the pain as he plucked one feather from his body in exchange for the worm. The next day it was less painful to pluck the second feather to get his worm. This pattern continued till one day the bird could not fly any more to get his own worms for he had plucked all the feathers he needed to fly! Has this got anything to do with values that we are talking about?

1 comment:

Dad the KL city kid said...

Oh I forgot to mention how the Singapore authorities knew I had a fine to pay. They are very hi-tech over there and there is a camera that read my number plate as soon as I drove up to the immigration booth and it checked with the computer database to highlight that my vehicle has an unpaid fine. Such a fine city isn't it???