In the last post, I made comment about the crazy gun, greed and celebrity culture that seems to be prevalent in the USA these days. But the Lone Grey Squirrel remembers the adage, “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” And so before you start throwing stones back, I readily admit that things are not so great over here either.
Recently in the news was a 21 year old Malaysian girl studying chemical engineering in Sydney, Australia. The bank made a mistake and gave her bank account an unlimited overdraft facility and she proceeded to spend AUD 4.6 million (USD 3.3 million) on handbags, luxury items and rental of a luxury apartment – all in less than a year. When authorities began to make inquiries, she tried to leave the country on an emergency travel document but was arrested at the airport. When asked why she had spent so much and not reported the mistake to the bank, she replied that she had just assumed that her parents had given her the money to spend.
So many questions? Whose fault is all this? The girl’s or the bank’s? Was she dishonest? Is she guilty of any crime? Or is she just naive? Did she really believe that her parents would give her millions to spend? And finally, how come the banks have never been kind enough to make such a mistake with my accounts?
Of course, she isn’t alone. The Malaysian Prime Minister has also been in the spotlight with regards to USD 681 million that was paid into his personal bank account. He too has an explanation……….it was a donation from an unnamed Saudi Prince.
The perception is that corruption and dishonesty has permeated the fabric of Malaysian society at every level from the man on the street to the engines of industry to the corridors of power.
Here are two funny tales that are circulating which help to explain how things are perceived to be done in Malaysia these days.
Story 1:- Shrewd Financial Management
A homeless man finds a 100 dollar bill He goes to a 5 star hotel, gets a room for the night and orders room service. The next day, the hotel demands payment of 800 dollars.
The man says all he has is the 100 dollar bill. The hotel manager calls the police.
The police come and arrest him. While in the police car, the man offers the cops the 100 dollar bill. The police immediately release him and ask where he would like to be dropped off.
Now, that is shrewd financial management
Story 2: National Service
Malaysia joins the space race and wants to send a man to Mars. After a grueling training and selection process, the hopeful astronauts have been whittled down to just three candidates.
A high ranking government Minister in charge of the space program decides to meet the candidates before making a final decision on who will be selected. Each candidate was asked in turn, what would they like as a token of thanks from a grateful nation for carrying out this dangerous mission.
Candidate 1 told the minister that he was happy to serve the country but it was a risky mission and he has 3 wives and their families to feed. He therefore asked that he be given 3 million dollars to make sure that his families were well taken care off in case he did not come back. The Minister said he would consider the request.
Candidate 2 similarly asked for 1 million dollars. He explained that he had one wife and that 1 million would make sure that his wife and family were well taken care off if he failed to come back. The minister said he would consider the request.
Candidate 3 told the minister that he would need 5 million dollars.
Taken aback, the minister asked if the candidate had 5 wives?
Candidate 3 replied that he was not married.
“Why then do you need 5 million?” asked the minister.
Candidate 3 leaned over and whispered into the minister’s ear, “Give me 5 million……2 million I give to you, another 2 million I will keep and I know a fool who will actually go on the mission for just 1 million.”
Or in other words…….how government tenders work.