Recently, I was talking to a group of form 5 students about career selection and I was not so shocked when just below half the class said they wanted to go into the blossoming and rewarding field of corruption. Only a few years ago students wanted to become doctors, lawyer, engineers, economist and fast food cooks then that all changed with the drug trade. Now, even the attraction of being a gang leader, a community gang leader, drug pusher, pimp, URP Forman, coastguard man or Syrian has given way to becoming corruptible at several levels including the highest ones. I laughed to myself and realized these students were still dreaming so I told these students it is not good enough to say they want to get into corruption and they must have a plan.
One student, a boy, stated he wanted to get into the political side of corruption while many more wanted to be on the contracting side of things. At this stage I couldn’t believe these students were so ill-informed and I had to point out that there was also a great degree of corruption in the private sector where there was not only a high degree of nepotism but contracts for building new offices are given to friends of directors rather than the most competitive contractor who did not factor in kickbacks in his bid. I also had to indicate that corruption was like a religion and I wasn’t talking about pedophilia but the fact they must also peddle garbage to the masses to get people to worship them so they can be forgiven for their obvious thievery if discovered.
Naturally, no talk to the young ones can take place about corruption without the mentioning of jail so I pointed out, quite sternly, that corruption was against the law and to be successful at corruption they must have the law, especially the police investigating team and forensic investigators, on their side. I stressed that corruption is a group activity and these people will become part of their corruption network and it’s not just the big cheese that gets the entire cake, condo or church. They laughed at me said “Duh!” Many said they were already members of the youth arm of suitable political parties to start their career path and network rolling. At the end of my talk I didn’t feel hollow or nauseated but instead, I felt a sense of calm knowing the youth of today will become, not garbage collectors, but wealthy garbage collection contractors bribing public officials for jobs. I felt reassured that the next incomplete highway to nowhere will be built by a corrupt local contractor and not an imported, unscrupulous Malaysian company. The future of our country is in good hands and the example set by the generations before will not have been in vain. Our future is bright but it’s just that we are too incorruptible to see.