Cartoonists and celebrity artistes ignore their Asian values

Opinion  |  Mariam Mokhtar
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Asian values. At the height of their power, both Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysia's Dr Mahathir Mohamad, were arguably the main architects and advocates of Asian values.

The two men may differ in their methods, but both claimed that Asians valued their community; whereas Westerners emphasised the self; Asians desired order and harmony, whilst Western communities treasured personal freedom.

If you're Malay you will be aware that when a corrupt relative, is finally exposed by a third party, the family goes into a frenzy to contain the fallout from the activities of the corrupt man.

Non-Malay friends tell me that the same thing happens in their households. They may not condone what the corrupt person has done, but neither will they "name and shame him".

Are these Asian values? You will be expected to toe the line, to keep quiet and not bring shame on the family.

The corrupt man enjoys a form of unofficial protection. He triumphs and is free to repeat his crime.

The situation gets worse the higher the public position of the individual. His powerful friends will rally round him, not because of concern, but because they want to protect their own positions.

It is like belonging to a triad. Each gang member swears allegiance to the triad. If one falls down, the others go to his defence, to stop him from exposing more secrets of the organisation, which may cause the premature downfall of the triad.

Corruption takes many forms, with money and morals being the most easily recognisable forms...

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