Monday, January 13, 2014

Rags to Riches, Riches to Rotten

Many believe that you only get to be wealthy if you already come from a wealthy family. Many also believe that if you don’t come from a wealthy family, the only way to get rich is the wrong way.

The truth is, our people refuse to believe that hard-work and faith can really turn rags to riches.

In general, we take the word ‘rich’ as the same meaning with ‘successful’. And admit it or not, many of us believe that the only way to be ‘successful’ is to be involved in corruption.

And yet many had proven that they can beat the odds, like Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary who didn’t finish school because the family couldn’t afford it. He becomes a millionaire through years of hard-work.

There was also the late Tan Sri Lau Gek Poh who had to pawn his wife jewelry to start a business which later turned into a family business that includes dealership of Mercedez Benz and Porche. Of course we have the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong who escaped hardship and war in China and worked as carpenter and vegetable farmer before things got better for him and founded Genting.

In the west, they believe that hard-work and great mind or great talent can get you anywhere you want to go. Therefore, they don’t always relate ‘successful’ to ‘corruption’. Corruption might ‘help’, but then, corruption alone won’t get them anywhere.

Just to name a few of rags to riches from the west:- Howard Shultz - a son of a truck driver who managed to get a scholarship that finally led him to a decent job in Xerox. He later bought a coffee-shop called Starbuck and becomes one of the richest men in the world.

Francois Pinault - quit school for being so poor and worked in his family’s timber business before decided to take risk and started buying small businesses. He is now one of the richest men in the world.

Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg are among the ordinary or less than ordinary people who made it huge. Some may not come from the rags, but they all make their billions from their talents, hard-work and great minds - not from corruption.

These successful people, they explore, they discover, they invent, they conquer their fields and own the world. They stand proudly with their brands and marks. They live luxuriously and deserve every penny of it.

In Malaysia, however, people can become as rich by just being corrupt alone.

You don’t believe me? Haven’t you heard that luxurious ‘lifestyle’ is the trend or the ‘in-thing’ in Malaysia today?

Don’t you know that there are Malaysians, including the young ones, who can afford a vacation on luxurious yatch, relaxing on the beach of the Carribean, shopping in Harrods or eats at the finest restaurant in Paris and smoke the finest Cuban cigar? And they don’t even have to have talent or discover anything.

We know that there are Malaysians who had honestly made it to Hollywood. To name a couple who have made it to the top are Michelle Yeoh and Jimmy Choo. Both of them had a humble start from the bottom, had gone through hardships before finally broke the barriers with determination and great talent.

However, apart from these two names, we don’t really know how some other Malaysians get invited into parties with the Stars, mingling with people from the list of Fortune 500, flashing their million dollar mansions and cars – living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. England, Manhattan, Paris is second home to them, not just a vacation destination anymore.

But even with all their ‘success’, we cannot relate their names to any talent, product or business or ideas or invention or discovery or anything at all, that could have put them there.

I mean, how did they get so rich when they haven’t done anything as big that could have caught the attention of the world?

Now, let’s not pretend that we don’t know where they got the money from.

We all know, and the world knows, that these not-so-significant Malaysians got to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous by simply being corrupt. They don’t really do anything to get there, that they might as well print a name card that says ‘Corruptor’.

What is amazing about them is that they don’t have the slightest shame flashing their money and luxurious lifestyle when everybody knows that they don’t deserve a cent of it. They just feel fulfilled by the emptiness of their heads.

Speechless eh? Talk about being corrupt to the bone.

When a person is corrupt and proud of it, it is a sign of a rotten soul. While others turn their lives from rags to riches, these corruptors just turn from riches to rotten. And rotten souls stink. You think people can’t smell it beyond the Armani suit?

When other riches served as inspiration to the world, these rotten souls only serve as a shame to the nation.

And we still believe that we can become a First World Nation in few years to come?

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