The Nation


Letters to the Editor

The four seasons of corruption

Where corruption is endemic - Thailand, for example - the corrupt become the righteous. The police and legal professions are "bought in" to uphold the topsy-turvy status quo.

Those who speak out with an ethical voice are promptly belittled and quashed, often charged with the likes of defamation, while some even get locked up. The majority is frightened into silence. Corruption becomes viewed by the morally loose as a failsafe means to progress. Thereafter it blossoms like an orchard in spring, leading directly to a hot summer of vice.

However, the seasons do not last forever and widespread depravity is unsustainable in the long term. Corruption is the hallucination of spineless half-wits who convince other spineless half-wits of its justness, an indulgence of the inadequate centred on power, greed and selfishness. Hence, the foundations of a corrupt society do eventually and inevitably crumble, and at an ever accelerating pace as autumn (the fall) moves into a long and icy winter.

But beware, for as long as the "adult children" - former classroom bullies who are lured by the rewards of politics and business - are allowed to rule the roost, the high seasons of corruption will continue to re-germinate. To break the seasonal pattern, strong and principled citizens must stand up and be counted, even at the risk of their own personal freedom and safety.

Corruption has almost single-handedly engineered Thailand's societal and moral decline, and it continues to pollute the nation's murky atmosphere despite all the committees and all the chatter. The phrase "This is Thailand" is a stale apology and can no longer suffice. Winter is now upon us and a climate of change is prerequisite. "Corruption is nature's way of restoring our faith in democracy," as Peter Ustinov put it.

John Shepherd


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