Posted by: fathersez | January 15, 2008

How and what should we recognize as corruption

A good friend of mine once told me that we should never ever underestimate the wife’s power to influence the husband. 

His observation was that the wives use the “fine needle” approach. Say for example, the wife does not like you going out with your good old college buddy. The wise wife will not try to stop you head on. Rather it would be a continuous series of seemingly innocuous comments, small tasks given to you just as you are about to go……… fine needle pricking, fine needle by fine needle, something that you will not even notice, until one day you have a blinking bazooka wound on you. 

And you stop by yourself, never knowing what really hit you. 

It’s the same with corruption. It envelops us, starting as issues almost inconsequential and creeps slowly and surely on us. The trick is to recognize it as it starts and kill it off straight away.  

Cash Money Life had an article titled “A question of Ethics and Money…….. 

He sought the views of his readers whether they would return extra money given out by an ATM. Everyone who commented had no doubts they would return the extra money. Some pointed out that the transaction would have been logged and / or on CCTV and the Bank would eventually know anyway.  

What if we knew for sure that no one would know? How then would we react?  

Our reaction then would we akin to how we would react to an offer of corruption.  

I live in a country whose reputation for corruption can be vastly improved. My children may end up in jobs which may allow opportunities for them to be exposed to corruption.

We have set three rules in our family which should help take care of issues like this. 

a)  Our Family Mission Statement includes the paragraph that “our sources of wealth must be capable of being revealed with pride and dignity…..” 

This is pretty much self explanatory. If we have gaps in our explanation of how we obtained this or that item of value, then these gaps would be open to speculation.  

b)  Never accept any offer from anyone, which you cannot easily reciprocate. 

This may be a little tricky. The offers will start in small innocuous ones like meals and presents. Meals that you can easily reciprocate. These, then start getting a little more expensive, perhaps with some travel thrown in…etc. We just have to read the subtle signs and say no. 

c)   Would you get this “gift” if you were not at your current post or position? 

This is another good test. We have to carefully evaluate ourselves the people who claim to just give gifts because of the festive seasons. Would they be doing the same, were you not in the position? If in doubt, then just say no.   

The seductive nature of corruption is legendary. The nature of its irreversible trap is something not fully appreciated until we are trapped within.  

I hope that my children will know and understand how to recognize the dangerous creeping vine known as corruption. And never ever get entangled, whether other people ever know or not.  

And no wealth accumulated out of corrupt dealings can ever give us true financial independence.

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Responses

  1. fathersez,

    What you are describing sounds very much to me like the definition of “integrity” – doing the right thing even when no one is looking. I believe you are setting a wonderful example for your children and I am sure they will grow up to have similar values as you and your wife.

    The tips you lay out in this article are tips that are useful regardless of which country you work or reside in. Very nice article.

  2. #3 is a great evaluating point. I hadn’t thought of that before…but it’s a good way to weigh what part of this is coming from your friendship and what part is influence.

  3. @Patrick,

    Yes, I suppose you can say that. I want my children to have integrity as a core value.

    @Mrs. M,

    We get so many “friends” when we are in a position of influence. THis friendship just disapppears the minute we lose the power. I speak from experience, not painful, but most enlightening.

  4. This happenend to me once. I got extra 20% from the amount I withdrew. Being in the ‘dark ages’ then and as a poor student, I took it with glee… Luckily nothing happenened. But now, to returns these ‘extras’, either from ATM or wrong change given out, it has been almost an automatic for me to return it on the spot.

    On the other hand, a couple of times, the ATM dispensed 1 note short to my wife. (before we were married – so this is not Karma 😉 So now one can imagine what its like to be on the other side…

  5. JotF,

    Don’t worry. All of us have our “dark sides”…whether it is the controlling side now is the question.

    Whatever our past may have been, it is what we do now that matters. So you go on ahead, with a spring in your step knowing that you are a honest person!

  6. i agree, though not that easy to tackle that issue, take for instance when you have a dying loved ones or youre in a really big mess. it makes it way much harder to refuse.. but to me if youre strong enough it makes a difference in the end if you can be proud of wut you achieved… 🙂

  7. Qusyairi,

    It’s tough to say no, when you are in real need, such as when you have loved ones in medical need etc.

    This is why it is all the more important to build up your finances when you have no such pressing needs. Then you will always be better prepared.

    Insurance for example.

    Don’t ever forget that corruption is a trap and can be a really painful one.


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