Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Nine Covers for Ten Shit Tanks

I have always made it a point to stay clear of race, religion and Malaysian politics in my blogs. A discussion about 1MDB would invariably breach this self-abstention of mine. But like all concerned citizens, I find the goings-on there too disturbing to keep my mouth shout.

Anyone who has more than a layman's knowledge in corporate finance can only conclude - despite the denials by those involved in the "scandal" - that things are indeed not right at all in 1MDB, even if much of what has been revealed by Sarawak Report is not factually correct.

Leaders can choose to be remembered as immortals like Tunku Abdul Rahman or Deng Xiaoping, or plunderers in the moulds of Marcos and Suharto, or as greats like Lee Kuan Yew. There was always a Rasputin or "eunuch" in the courts of the latter category - characters like Cojuangco and Bob Hassan, and in the Southeast Asian context, these are usually men of Chinese descent, even though ordinarily Chinese were by and large treated as second-class citizens in these countries during the eras in question. These leaders accumulated fortunes of outlandish proportions, when the bulk of their countrymen lived in abject poverty. (Many there still do today, even though these leaders are long gone.) Unfortunately or unfortunately, people in such countries appear to be very forgiving; the heirs of these plunderers and scions of their courtiers are still being treated like princes and princesses in their respective lands.

With Internet, there is no way any perpetrator can cover his or tracks fully. Sooner or later, the whole truth will come out. The culprits are likely to get away scot-free, leaving the country poorer by tens of billions. 
History is full of such examples, but greed is a universal motivator. None would admit to be doing anything wrong. Once you are in, you will internalise yourself to champion your cause, no matter how misplaced it is, or in the case of courtiers, to continue to mount the tigers.

Many - the so-called rubber stamps- might not have benefited much from his or her involvement in a scandal like this, but they would be eventually perceived as pariahs nonetheless.

I remember a Cantonese line for a situation like this: if you can only muster bine covers for ten shit tanks, no matter how hard your juggle, the place will definitely stink to high heaven!

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