Exposing the ugly side of greed

Posted on 2 January 2013 – 03:58pm

GREED can destroy a nation. That message is clear in the novel Tiger Isle: A Government of Thieves, where an auditor and mother-of-two exposes the corruption of her government, indirectly putting her life in danger.

One wonders if it is possible for one person to take down a powerful and corrupt government.

“Some of the biggest changes in the world are done through one person,” says the 59-year-old author, E.S. Shankar.

“Look at apartheid in South Africa. I never dreamt that I would live to see it end in Africa. But one man, Nelson Mandela, came along and changed that.”

Another example he cites is Mahatma Gandhi who was instrumental in getting independence for India.

“Hitler is an example of the other extreme where one man can do lot of damages,” he adds.

Shankar drew on his 20 years of working experience as a trained accountant to write this exciting story of betrayal and lust for power.

“Very often, we judge the politicians by what they have done,” he says. “Sometimes, we need to judge them on what they could have done.

“Although our current administration has done many good things, there were still many things that could have been done better.
“Like if our resources were better managed, our country would have been far ahead economically.

“We could have been more prosperous than Singapore and our ringgit would not have been valued less than half of theirs.

“We are a bigger country. We have more resources. But we did not maximise the use of our resources.”

Shankar strongly feels that for any country to prosper, there should be strong measures and political will to combat and control corruption.

“Corruption is creating a whole generation of people who do not want to work hard and a culture where people depend too much on the government for handouts,” he says.

“Corruption is rampant in this part of the world. But in the West, they do not call it corruption. They have sophisticated terms like lobbying.

“It is impossible to wipe out corruption completely. But we can certainly control it.”

Shankar feels that a better education system is one effective way to curb corruption. He finds schools today are placing too much emphasis on getting As in exam results so that students can get into better colleges and land better-paid jobs.

“We need to teach our youngsters good values, ethics and integrity instead,” he says.

He believes if the youngsters have these values, they will think twice before taking the wrong road, like being involved in corruption and cheating.

Tiger Isle: A Government of Thieves is the second book by Shankar. His first book is an autobiography entitled Let Us Now with Thankfulness, which focused on his childhood years.

He is currently working on his third book, another fiction that will incorporate some historical aspect of this country.

One of the biggest changes Shankar would like to see taking place here is more unity among the different races.

“We used to be more united in the past,” he says. “Different races got along better. We did not care so much about our ethnicity.

“I’ve been married to a Chinese woman for more than 20 years. But in the recent years, some politicians have used race and religion to divide us.”

Shankar stresses that the education system could play a vital role in creating a better relationship between different races. He doesn’t believe in having vernacular schools.

“School is the first place the children go to when they first step out from their homes,” he says. “I think everyone, regardless of his or her race, should be going to one government school. This is the place where we can break down the racial barriers.”

He believes people should not make too much fuss about the national language that is being taught in the government schools.

“After the independence, my father at the of age 40 took the initiative to master the national language,” he says.

“He was taking Malay classes at night at the same school where I was studying in the morning.

“My father often said that if you want to live in this country, then you have to learn the language of this country.”