December 09, 2016

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We had best perform assigned duties peremptorily, not perfunctorily!

Khin Maung Oo

There used to be a well -known phrase on the lips of our people. It was “Live on 3 NOTs” — “မ သံုးလံုးကိုေဆာင္” in Myanmar. Here it needs explaining at length. Authorities in those days were mostly involved in bribery and corruption. Being self-centered, they did try to persuade others to join them by paying certain amount of shares. Thus some became involved in bribery and corruption before they recognized, on the wrong pretext they could not withstand the impact of inflation, skyrocketing commodity prices, poor living standards, and so on. They extended their power and empire by exercising nepotism and cronyism. There seems to be an element of hyperbole in such a claim that they destroyed rule of law. No, no! Really it was. Why? Not to have taken action against by the prescribed laws and rules, they were never reluctant to retain the services of persons in power and those manipulating administrative and legal matters in dubious ways, at their disposal. Sorrowfully enough, some dignified persons surrendered themselves to the lure of filthy lucre.
Some who disliked such practices showed their hatred against them and their habits. These people had been fired from job or made scapegoats by being accused of being involved in a scandal or a misappropriation case, by the above influential groups. On seeing these, fellow partners tried their best not to join in these malpractices, neglecting corrupt people’s behaviors. In other words, they were performing their duties perfunctorily —without interest and just as a duty so that they could manage to remain in their jobs. The phrase, “Live on 3 NOTs” was derived from this—“If you are not involved in our malpractices, do not disturb us. If so you will not be sacked.”
Generally speaking, the way of living on 3 NOTs is a seemingly correct attitude. In reality, it is totally wrong. We need to be well convinced that moral bankruptcy is worse than poverty. We can work hard to liberate ourselves from poverty. Once we develop the spirit of opportunism in us, our dignity will surely fall down sooner or later. Backbiting and humiliation will go toward him. However wealthy or influential, if a person is deprived of their reputation, they will find it difficult to win people’s trust again.
At such a time when we are moving towards a federal democratic Union, we need people of honesty and ebullience. Honesty is a thing of great virtue. Yet, people who dare speak out the truth are greatly in need as the public is the fifth pillar of a nation. If we keep silent with our mouths closed, in spite of seeing wrong deeds before our eyes, it will be tantamount to destroying the future of our younger generations. To put it simply, current situations of people’s mindsets and attitudes are in unwholesome state. Though asserting that they love truth and now is the time for everything to change, they still abuse power, authorities and their positions to make money. If our society abounds with such persons, how could we reach our goal?
Once, there were two villages on each side of a river. Villagers in one village lived in unity, but those in another did otherwise. The former managed to build a bridge to cross the river. The latter could not build, blaming each other. One day, the village head assembled his villagers and told them to fetch a bowl of milk from their houses and pour it into the tub in front of his house in the early hours of the next morning. Instead, each person brought stealthily water for milk, thinking in their mind that no one would know who adulterated the milk. In the morning, the village head made the villagers gather at his house to inspect the milk, discovering water only in the tub void of any milk in it. Then he reprimanded his followers that evil mindsets bore no fruit.
Our current situations resemble the story. If we move on, like this without changing our attitudes and minds, we will be obstacles on the way to a federal democratic nation under the leadership of our government.

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