Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Government Inspector

The mere mention of the name should send shivers down the spines of cheating, stealing and good for nothing government officials. Well don’t worry yourselves; nobody is coming on an inspection. I’m talking about the play recently put on by the Old Royalist Dramatist Club at the Lionel Wendt. It is their version of the play written by Russian playwright Nikolai Gogol, which makes fun of the bureaucracy and corruption within the Russian government during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I. You can learn more about it here.

This version is one of the many done throughout the years by various theatre companies, and it was pretty good. Unfortunately not many people came for the opening night. The result of course the people who bought balcony tickets got pushed down to the lower floor. Lucky me! Acting was pretty ok, although I thought there was bit of overacting sometimes. Further more some improvements can be made on sound. But overall it was good.

The story is a pretty funny story, but an appropriate one for the times. It may be set in the 1800s but it can be taken as a parody for the situation these days. I guess nothing much changes over time. Corruption and misuse of public property is nothing new. You can probably find examples even in the times of the Pharos. Greed is a part of man since time began and nothing can change that. Corruption will have a long and healthy life.

If you’re looking for example today, you don’t have to look any further than good old SL. Take for instance, admitting your child to a school. It doesn’t matter if it’s a popular one or not, you have to grease the Principle first before doing anything. Otherwise the poor kid won’t have a school to go to, or you’ll have to enroll him in an International school. Most of the government department’s have a knack of moving very slowly, and comes across many red tape. It’s like trying to row a boat through a pool of mud. I personally know several people who had problems getting their house plans passed from the relevant authorities. They drag the whole thing unnecessarily, either by creating new conditions and finding some fault with the plans, or some small problem somewhere which they turn into a big thing. They drag it on until they get their little bonuses. The people ultimately get frustrated and give payola to these officials to get the thing passed. Otherwise building their dream home may take for ever. So the secret to getting things moving and cutting out the red tape is to introduce some additives into the system, something to inspire the people in charge. Think of it like putting NOS in your car to make it fly off the road. This doesn’t always have to be cold hard cash; maybe a bottle of Scotch (or Gal depending on taste), a nice trip or two, some nice jewelry etc. These have been known to miraculously speed up lethargic government officials. Believe me, after a few bribes they’ll be your best mates ready to do anything for you. That is how the system works.

Recently however, I’m happy to say that there’s been a crack down in bribery and corruption. Citizens are not taking it lying down. They are making complaints, and the government is taking notice. A large number of arrests and prosecution have taken place over the past few years of bribe takers and corrupt officials. Let’s hope that this course of action is carried on to the future and people will think twice about accepting or giving bribes. Hopefully we can get rid of this virus and work towards developing the country.

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.

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