Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Even the perfect needs help

[Manifesto watch: Housing the elephant in the room or should it be "Housing: the elephant in the room"?]

When I was in secondary school my elder brother who is six years older bought me a Webster-Merriam dictionary for a birthday. I don't know how long he had to save to get me that. On the flyleaf he wrote, "Word is power. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Such powerful words that I can almost still see his uniquely-angled left-handed writing on that page.

Pondering ESM Goh's recent claim that PAP are able to provide their own checks and balances I wonder why he thinks that he and his fellow MPs and candidates are so super-human that they will not, ever, not a chance in hell for an eternity, succumb to the temptation of corruption.

Corruption is not confined to accepting bribes. Consider King David, a king so pure and so fervent in his love and dedication to Yahweh that David is often described as "a man after God's own heart".

When David acquired absolute regal power he committed adultery with Bathsheba who fell pregnant and he tried to cover it up by instructing Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, to sleep with her. Uriah was so dedicated to David and the battle he was fighting he refused to lie with his wife. Eventually David had Uriah killed. (David had the power, remember?)

I wonder what is it that made ESM Goh think that he and his colleagues are such perfect specimens of humanity. Super-human or robotic? If neither, then it is possibly more strategic to accept that politicians -- both in government and opposition -- are capable of corruption and that we can all do with humbling ourselves to be subject to the checking and correction by others.

Here is a link to a page which tells us about the origin of the phrase "power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely". (NB. The second part of this shrewd observation is "Great men are almost always bad men.")

I don't think anyone has been able to disprove this sagely statement by finding any human being who is totally incorruptible.

I cannot, for one moment, think that out of the blue, 89 totally incorruptible saintly politicians will simultaneously be found in Singapore come September the 12th.

Isn't it better to admit, "O Lord, it is hard to be humble"? (Enjoy this video, by the way!)

As a certain Mr Teo said, "What do you think?" Do add your comment.

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