Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Speck in the Eye

I've surprised myself lately.

Throughout most of my teenage life, I'd always had the idea that large-scale, national-level corruption scandals were the sort of breach of integrity that pained me the most. And I suppose that this was nothing unusual. After all, reports of taxpayer dollars flowing into Birkin bags and cow-condominiums and submarines were spectacular allegations—enough to make any self-righteous citizen shake his or her head at the lack of integrity 'up there at the top'.

But recently, I've been discovering that something pains me even more than this: that is, the breach of integrity in ordinary, day-to-day life. It pains me when people complain about the siphoning off of public cash, and then slip into a cinema without paying for the ticket. It pains me when people post angry Facebook statuses about bribery, and then covertly hand crumpled fifty ringgit notes to their JPJ driving examiners. It pains me when people heckle leaders for corruption, and then go on to cheat in exams and assessments (because, you know, grades obviously trump character).

It pains me to realize that some of the same people who speak out for a cleaner government have been part of this same lack of integrity in ordinary, day-to-day life.

I sincerely hope that this post isn't coming off as judgmental or prissy and am truly sorry if this appears to be the case (I for one am acutely aware of my own past breaches of integrity—I'm certainly not excluding myself from what I write). But at the very heart of it, everything boils down to personal convictions and personal choice.

As for me, I know the choice that I've made—and I know that it's a pretty hard one (experience is a harsh teacher!). I just hope I'll be able to stick to it ugh.


Awfully Andrea said...

This is very honest and real, great post Hannah! And yes I feel strongly also that if we want to fight corruption it starts with each individual's day to day choices as governments, to much of an extent, reflect the people.

Hannah Khaw said...

Thanks Andrea! :) Yeah and to throw in another perspective, I think that fighting corruption also has to start by creating a culture of honesty/integrity at all levels.

I spent a couple of years studying in Australia as a kid. One day, a handful of classmates did something wrong (can't remember what now lol). When my teacher asked, "who did it?" - every single culprit raised his/her hand guiltily.

Needless to say, I was super surprised by this honesty. After all, in all my years in Malaysian schools, I was used to teachers yelling, "siapa buat ni?!", and no one ever owning up to the crime. Even for myself, if I was the guilty party, I'd typically just put on my innocent face and protest, "bukan saya la cikgu" hahah

So yeah. Idk, maybe we just don't have a culture of integrity yet :(