berthahenson

A moral mess

In News Reports, Society on July 26, 2012 at 12:29 am

What in heaven’s name is happening to our doctors, teachers, lawyers and civil servants? Everyday, we’re reading about these professionals being accused of or pleading guilty to a whole barrage of crimes: having sex with patients, underaged girls, students in return for doing favours or just for kicks; prescribing illegal stuff; favouring supposed friends; sleeping on the job; being loco etc. And I am not even talking  about religious leaders aka known as the City Harvest people who can afford high-priced Senior Counsels.

Okay, I don’t care who defends who – and some have yet to be proven guilty. And yes, they make for great reading and you start thinking, hey, maybe this is a sign that, never mind the Woffles Wu puzzle, the rich and famous do NOT get away with doing illegal stuff.

Except that, there seems to be too many of them….Or maybe it’s just a coincidence that everything is happening in a clump.

What has happened to the ethical codes that underpin all these professions? What are their leaders doing about imbueing them in the members? I don’t think it’s enough to say, we caught the bad hats, we weeded them out and you shouldn’t tar all of us with the same brush. Some introspection is surely expected.

Of course, there would need to be system changes, especially in the civil service. You’ve got a foreign service officer accused of fraud and now the NParks guy who bought expensive bikes. And every year, we’ve got to read reports from the Public Accounts Committee, Accountant-General etc lambasting some agency or other over its sloppy procurement procedures. I believe some suggestions were made to improve this process earlier this year. Has it been done? Is it an improvement over the Finance ministry’s explanation about how those Bromption bikes were bought?

With so much de-moral-ising news, I always find the Bouquet column in ST’s Forum Page a joy to read. It’s short, snappy – and grateful. People remembering to thank others for doing nice things. I wish there were more of them to read to balance the daily diet.

PS. ST named the NUS law professor for his supposed sex-for-grades stunt although he hasn’t been charged. I suppose this puts it one up on TNP which first broke the story? Can’t  be. I guess the stable of newspapers have different standards on naming people….Hmmm

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  1. These are just the tips of the iceberg. We encountered moral hazards daily, not only from people who dominate the magazine covers and newspapers’ headline, but even from those ‘low’ profile folks. Socrates said “I only wish that ordinary people have an unlimited capacity for doing harm, then they might have an unlimited power of doing good.” Most of us lack the imagination and mental capacity of committing a crime, that is why we could hardly fight against it and often even surprise by its creativity. Who says Singaporeans are not innovative?

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